The Holy Spirit plays an active role in the lives of believers from salvation to glorification. Sometimes, it’s not always evident or clear what that role is. We are taking a closer look at what He does, how He helps us and why Jesus said it was to our advantage that He go away and the Holy Spirit comes (John 15:7). This week we’ll look at how the Holy Spirit helps in our walk.
Our walk is kind of shorthand for saying the way we conduct ourselves on a regular basis. For instance, I study pretty much every day as part of my regular routine. I run as a regular part of my routine. Those kinds of things make up part of your walk. The other part is your character. So your walk is who you are and what you do on the regular. How does the Spirit help in our walk?
Here’s the summary: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
So if we want to walk in a way that pleases God, that imitates Christ, that fulfills our purpose, we must follow the Spirit’s guidance and direction and not our own. Paul makes it very plain for the Galatians. We walk either following the Spirit or following ourselves. There is no overlap. But walking by the Spirit gives some distinct advantages.
The Spirit strengthens us.
Paul prays for his friends in Ephesus “that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit,” (Ephesians 3:16).
That strengthened inner being stands in contrast to the discouragement Paul mentions in v.13. So if we are walking more in discouragement and frustration rather than peace and power we may be following the flesh and not the Spirit.
The Spirit gifts us.
Take a look at 1 Corinthians 12. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; … To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. … All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 7, 11). While an in-depth study of spiritual gifts is way more than we can take on in one blog post, notice a few highlights.
To each. Everyone. Every single believer is given an obvious evidence of the Holy Spirit working in them.
For the common good. Not to make ourselves look good or to amass power and influence but to build up the body of Christ
Empowered and apportioned as HE wills. The Spirit determines what is best.
So if we want to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh, we need to use the gifts the Spirit has given us to accomplish what we can for the kingdom. If we fail to use them or if we use them for the wrong reasons, we are walking by the flesh.
The Spirit fills us.
Here’s more from Paul. “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). If you have too much to drink and the police pull you over, they will likely charge you with DUI, driving under the influence. All your decisions, judgments and reactions are influenced by the alcohol in your bloodstream. Rather instructs us to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Live so that our decisions, our judgment and our reactions are all driven by the Spirit who lives in us. When we do the results are visible.
The Spirit bears fruit in us.
Galatians 5:22-23 gives us a familiar list of traits that are obvious in the life of someone living under the Spirit’s control. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). As our regular routine centers more and more on doing the things the Spirit wants us to do, acting more and more like the Spirit directs us to, we will see more and more love, joy, peace and the others in our lives. We’ll be known for our kindness and patience. We’ll respond more often with gentleness and self-control. Our faith and commitment will deepen.
“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25). Every day, as believers we have to decide whether we are going to live the way the Spirit directs us to or do what we want. We have crucified the flesh. It has no power beyond what we give it. So the Spirit helps in our walk by giving us direction, strength, and gifts to live a life that bears fruit for the kingdom.
Keep in step with the Spirit. March to the beat of His drum. Dance to His rhythm. Rely on His strength. Utilize the gifts He gave you.
Next week we’ll see how He helps our witness.