Building up believers and the New Testament church

Temptation - In the Life of a Christian

Walking in the Spirit

"lf we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25). Birth takes place in a moment. There may be preparation to bring us to that point, but we do not grow into life. We are born into a relationship with God, but it is only a beginning relationship. The rest of our lives will be spent walking in that relationship, and this is where so many fail. Our tendency is to look for a way out of responsibility, and to expect God to do something in us so that we never need to think about anything again. This mentality has come to us in many ways, and one way is through the teaching we may have had. The question that may have been held before us all of our lives is, "Are you saved?" The idea behind this is that even if we aren't experiencing a life of victory and close communion with the Lord, at least we can take comfort in the fact that we are "saved." Saved from what? Sin? "No," we say, "I sin every day but I ask God to forgive me." Saved from my desires? "No, because what I want to do, I don't do, and what I don't want to do, I do." Then what are we saved from? We have in our minds that we are saved from eternal judgment, and we are encouraged to keep believing that is true. But is this the salvation that Christ provided for us? Are not the promises in Revelation 2 and 3 to the "overcomers?" Did not Paul say that he was "more than a conqueror"? We must allow God to raise our vision of His great salvation. For the most part, we have accepted a gospel that is not a gospel. The salvation that Christ gave His life for is complete deliverance from the power of sin in our lives--now. It is also power to see our whole lives brought under God's control, so that we can say at the end of every day that we have done the will of God.

This may seem impossible, but let me encourage you today. This is possible for every person. Not only is it possible, it is the place that God has provided. How can it be ours? There is only one way, and it is by a walk in the Spirit. A walk is not a one-time experience, but a day-by-day lifetime experience. God wants us to experience Him in every aspect of our lives. The scripture that we began with says, "Blessed is the man who endures." Endurance carries the idea of continuing, even though the way may seem long and difficult. The prize goes to the one who finishes the race according the rules.

We will never come to a place where we can just drift along and rest on our past victories. Every victory in the past is a good foundation for victory today. But yesterday's victories are not today's victories. Today, too, we must walk in the power of an endless life. Today we must know Christ and the power of His resurrection in these vessels of clay. "Today is the day of salvation." All of God's promises are to be known afresh today.

We may feel that this is too demanding. But consider the natural example of love in marriage. How much comfort and joy can be found in a marriage where either member is looking back with a longing heart to the love once known on the wedding day but not being experienced today? That only brings bitterness and resentment. Joy is known when love is experienced today. The wedding day is almost forgotten in the new joys of today's love, because this love is maturing and bringing far more satisfaction than it was possible to imagine before. When love is alive, nothing is too hard. If someone suggested to such a couple that maintaining their love relationship was too demanding, they would not be able to comprehend the statement.

Is there any difference in our relationship with God? The burden seems heavy and the demands seem difficult when love is absent. But God has planned that our whole relationship with Him be a relationship of love. To walk in the Spirit is to walk in His love. "Keep yourselves in the love of God" is the admonition (Jude 21). This is a place of responsibility, but it is not impossible, for God has made the way. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Our desires will be under God's control, and we will know the victory we seek. How do we walk in the Spirit? Let us continue to ask God for light in this area, and He will not fail us.