“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” ~ Galatians 5:16
Paul was writing to the church at Galatia when he gave this seemingly simple command. Basically he was saying if you are keeping your eyes on Jesus (and Holy Spirit) you will walk with Him and therefore you cannot fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Just before verse 16 and even the previous chapters of Galatians, Paul had been explaining the purpose of the law. Here in chapter 5 he was chastising them that were preaching the need for circumcision (part of the law). There were arguments among them regarding the need to continue to follow the law … even though they were under grace. This chapter opens with Paul saying:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? (Galatians 5:1-7)
You see, they were walking … but not in the Spirit. They were using their liberty to partake in fleshly things (Gal 5:13-15) and Paul had seen enough of this. So he reminds them that they should be walking in the Spirit rather than the flesh. And as is customary in Paul’s writings, he goes on to explain just exactly what he means.
In verse 17 he clearly tells them that the things of the Spirit and the things of the flesh are contrary to one another and so when you are walking one way it is impossible to walk the other way. And he even gives a great list of what kinds of things would be considered fleshly, he mentions (Gal 5 19-21):
- revellings, and such like
That’s quite a list! Good thing he followed it up with that very popular passage of scripture that lists the fruit that is produced when we are walking in the Spirit … those things include: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. He closes by reminding the reader that they whom are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and therefore since we live in the Spirit (and He lives in us) we should also walk in the Spirit.
Walking in the Spirit takes practice … it does not just happen overnight. It is a constant effort to choose the things that please God and do them … leaving behind the things and behaviors that are not pleasing to God. When you know Jesus as your Savior you have the Holy Spirit living in you so you have all the power you need to make good choices. You can make the good choices that keep you walking in the right direction.
I pray that you will continually make the right choices and that you keep walking — with Him.