Walking True

Galatians 5:16–17 (ESV)
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." 

Walking in the ways of the Lord is not just a NT phenomenon. God reminded Moses to walk in His statutes (Leviticus 26:3-4), as He did with Solomon (1 Kings 3:14), as well as expressed this desire for all of His people through the psalmist Asaph (Psalm 81:12-13). What Paul writes above in Galatians reflects the very words of Christ from John 8:12, where Jesus compares a walk in His light (Spirit) as opposed to darkness (desires of the flesh).

Our “walk” is biblical vernacular for our lifestyle. It’s not just about a walk we do on Sunday mornings or even on a Wednesday evening; it’s not a temporary euphoric feeling of being in a Spirit-filled worship service and then transforming back into worldly flesh once you leave the church. Rather, when Paul says to “walk in the Spirit,” he is describing an ongoing condition of a person’s life, in and out of church.

We can conclude the antithesis of Paul’s statement in the Galatian letter is that if you walk in the flesh, you will fulfill the lusts of the flesh. A further reading of the fifth chapter of Galatians will list examples of what a fleshly walk consists of (Galatians 5:19-21).

If we focus on the last sentence in verse 21, it becomes clear that those who practice such behaviors will not inherit the kingdom of God. But wait, I thought all we had to do was believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and we’re saved?!!

Yes, Acts 16:31 does say that, and so does Acts 10:43, John 3:16, Romans 1:16, and elsewhere. So, is there a contradiction here? Absolutely not.

To believe something means you know it to be true. You have reconciled this item in your mind as well as in your heart. Intellectually and emotionally, you know it is the truth. Therefore, if we know Jesus as truth in both our minds and our hearts, His teachings would also follow similar suit: we cannot detach the individual from his thoughts and deeds. To believe in one presupposes belief in the other.

To believe in the teachings of Jesus and believe Him to be the Son of the Living God, and yet live a life that demonstrates no transformation, would make a person to be untruthful about their claim to be a follower of Christ. This is exactly what James was referring to in his letter (James 2:17-22).

Does it mean if we stumble, we’re condemned for all eternity? No. What it means is that as we mature in our faith, we live out the words of Jesus in our daily life.

And such a person who lives his daily life in an atmosphere of God is not going to give in to or pursue lusts that still lie in his fleshly nature. In other words, sin will no longer have dominion in our walk.

So, in order to walk true to Jesus, we must spend time growing in our relationship with Him. And this requires more than an hour on Sundays.