Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
—2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
Walking in the Spirit. It’s a term we hear often as Christians. But what does it really mean, practically, in our lives? We know from Romans 7:13-25 and Galatians 5:17 that the flesh and Spirit are in opposition to one another. There’s a battle going on! I know there are days I certainly feel that way! Let’s begin by looking at some examples of what our flesh can look like on a daily basis:
- My flesh lashes out in anger.
- My flesh has road rage.
- My flesh is impatient with others when I’m in a hurry.
- My flesh yells at my children.
- My flesh sees interruptions as obstacles.
- My flesh seeks its own way.
- My flesh wants praise.
- My flesh likes to overeat.
- My flesh complains about circumstances.
- My flesh is not grateful.
- My flesh likes to boast.
- My flesh criticizes others.
- My flesh judges others’ weaknesses.
- My flesh always wants to be right.
- My flesh does not accept constructive criticism.
- My flesh is selfish.
We deal with our flesh and its desires on a daily basis, in every aspect of our lives. The flesh is constantly ready to rear its ugly head and demand, “I deserve it my way” and “I have rights!”
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. —Galatians 2:20
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. —Philippians 1:21
According to Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 1:21, we are no longer to live for the flesh, but surrendered to Christ Jesus. Take a look at this list, composed by Elisabeth Elliot, of some of our rights that need to be surrendered. And she includes Scriptures to back it up!
- The right to take revenge — Romans 12:19-20
- The right to have a comfortable, secure home — Luke 9:57-58
- The right to spend money however we please — Matthew 6:19-21
- The right to hate an enemy —Matthew 5:43-48
- The right to be honored and served — Mark 10:42-47
- The right to understand God’s plan before we obey — Hebrews 11:8
- The right to hold a grudge —Colossians 3:13
- The right to “fit into” society — Romans 12:2, Galatians 1:10
- The right to do whatever feels good — Galatians 5:16-17, 1 Peter 4:2
- The right to complain — Philippians 2:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- The right to put self first — Philippians 2:3-4
OUCH! There is no getting around that daily battle of dealing with our flesh. But we are not left without help. Jesus promised when he left earth that He would not leave His followers without help. You can read more about the Holy Spirit’s coming to dwell in believers after Jesus’ resurrection in Acts 2:1-41.
According to John 14:26, the Holy Spirit is our Helper/Advocate/Comforter. Take a look at the biblical word definition for Holy Spirit as used in the New Testament:
“parakletos” – an intercessor, consoler, advocate; summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid; one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor; of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom. (Olive Tree Enhanced Strong’s Dictionary)
In the Greek writers, used of a legal advisor, pleader, proxy, or advocate, one who comes forward in behalf of and as the representative of another. Christ designates the Holy Spirit as Paraclete (John 14:16), and calls Him “állos”, another, which means another of equal quality. The Holy Spirit is called a Parakletos because He undertakes Christ’s office in the world while Christ is not in the world as the God-Man in bodily form. (Complete Word Studies Dictionary, AMG Publishers)
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
The above definitions give us some insight, but take a look at this link to a more extensive list from Scripture that describes The Holy Spirit in Us and be encouraged!
“The Spirit brings liberty. The Spirit transforms us into the image of our beloved Lord, as we behold His glory. The Spirit indwells these common earthen vessels. The Spirit brings us into situations of death where the life of Christ might be manifested so clearly that others might see and desire Jesus. The Spirit sustains us in these momentary light afflictions and, thus, produces an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. And the Spirit enables us to look beyond the temporal to the eternal.” —Kay Arthur
What is our part in the flesh/Spirit battle?
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit ?
Walking in the Spirit is our willingness to recognize the flesh in action and then to surrender our will to God’s will. It’s about remaining in constant communion with Jesus through the Word and prayer. It’s about realizing all the Spirit does for us and in us and living out that reality on a daily basis. It’s bowing the heart and bending the knee to the lordship of Jesus in our lives, asking for His help and guidance. It’s a daily choice we make.
Every time your flesh, or mine, crosses the will of God, and we choose to bow the head and surrender to the will of God, our will is crucified, and Christ is exalted as Lord. I go to the cross every time my will contradicts the will of God, and I say “no” to my will, and I say “yes” to the will of God. I bow my head. I choose to surrender. I have chosen the pathway of the cross. That’s where surrender takes us. —Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Be encouraged, we have the power and strength needed to battle our flesh!
Rejoicing in Him!
©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com