Walking in the Spirit
It our choice, whether we walk by the Spirit or walk by the flesh, and Paul exhorts us to walk by the Spirit. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:15-17).
As I was reflecting on why walking by the flesh is not what God wants for me, I realized that my flesh is never satisfied, it always craves more—more food, more possessions, more attention. Yet even when I succeed in getting more, I am still not satisfied. This is the nature of all addictions, and also the source of much of our dissatisfaction.
Walking in the Spirit frees us from the perpetual cycle of constantly striving for more and instead we learn contentment for what we already have. It means we learn how to say “no”, not out of duty, compulsion, or our strong self-will, but from the grace of God. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives …” (Titus 2:11-12).
In the work place it is commonly thought, that if you “give people an inch they will take a mile” meaning if you show grace, they will expect to be shown more leniency in the future. From a worldly perspective, grace teaches people to continue in their wrong behaviour. But God’s grace operates in the exact opposite way. The more we understand and receive his grace, the more we want to behave differently.
It took most of us well over a year before we could physically walk any distance. It may take much longer to learn to walk in the spirit. However, despite the cost and discomfort, it brings a freedom that is worth the effort.