I. WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
16 I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust (sinful desires) of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts (wars) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh… (Gal. 5:16–17)
A. The “flesh” in Paul’s theology includes sinful physical pleasures (sensuality, gluttony, alcoholism, etc.) as well as sinful emotions (pride, bitterness, anger, defensiveness, etc).
B. In Gal. 5:17, Paul described the violent war inside every believer. The flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit wars against the flesh (to the degree that we are actively engaged with Him).
C. In Gal. 5:16, Paul exhorts us to “walk in the Spirit,” and then follows it with one of the great promises in Scripture, “You shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Walking in the Spirit is within the reach of every weak believer. We are not promised that all fleshly desire would be gone, nor that the war would be over, but that we would have power to not fulfill or walk out sinful desires.
D. We will walk in the Spirit to the degree that we “fellowship with Him.” One of the great benefits of the New Covenant is that at our new birth, the Holy Spirit begins to live inside us to empower our hearts (Jn. 3:3-5). We experience His power most in our heart as we fellowship with Him.
14 …The love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor. 13:14, NAS)
II. THE NEW BIRTH: THE UNCREATED GOD LIVING IN THE HUMAN SPIRIT
A. God created us in three parts, spirit, soul and body. Our inner man or the hidden person of the heart is comprised of spirit and soul (mind, emotions, will). The outer man is our physical body.
23 May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless… (1 Thes. 5:23)
16 Our outward man is perishing…the inward man is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor. 4:16)
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward…4 let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… (1 Pet. 3:3-4)
38 Out of his heart (belly, KJV, inner most being, NAS) will flow rivers of living water. (Jn. 7:38)
B. At the new birth, the Spirit came to live in our spirit. The uncreated life of God dwells in us.
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1 Cor 6:17)
C. God deposited into our spirit the seed of His very being. The eternal uncreated life of God came to live in us. One purpose for this was to destroy to works of darkness in us.
8 For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him. (1 Jn. 3:8-9)
D. Jesus is a high priest according to the power of the Spirit who is described as an “indestructible life.” In other words, the Spirit has power to destroy all the lust and darkness that opposes Him. At the new birth, we received the Holy Spirit or the power of God’s indestructible life.
15 if another priest (Jesus) arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become
such…according to the power of an indestructible life. (Heb 7:15-16, NAS)
E. We focus our mind on God in two ways: on the Father who sits on His Throne (Rev. 4) and God who lives in our spirit. He dwells within as the One who is a consuming fire and the living water.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven… (Mt. 6:9)
38 Out of his heart (belly, KJV, inner most being, NAS) will flow rivers of living water. (Jn. 7:38)
F. The Scripture describes God as light, fire and living water.
5 The message which we have heard from Him and declare…that God is light. (1 Jn. 1:5)
29 For our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:29)
5 Seven lamps of fire were burning before the Throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (Holy Spirit). (Rev. 4:5; 1:4)
G. Principle: we walk in the Spirit by talking with the Spirit. The fundamental and introductory way to walk in the Spirit is by maintaining an active dialogue with the indwelling Spirit. This is key to our transformation and renewal. It is so simple that is causes many to miss it.
H. If we just talk to Him, He will talk back. He will speak to us once He gets us in the conversation. He speaks to us by giving us impressions that release power on our mind and heart if we respond to them. He will talk us out of sinning and quitting.
I. We will not walk in the Spirit more than we talk to the Spirit. He will help us to the degree that we talk to Him. We will not obey Him more than we talk to Him. The moments that we dialogue with Him are the moments in which we are most aware of His power in our inner man.
J. We talk to the Holy Spirit as the way to experience the release of His power in our inner man. He releases small measures of power on our mind and heart, but the power is real. We experience the Spirit’s power in small incremental ways like we do with food and water.
K. The emotional resource of the Spirit or the power of God on our emotions has 9 different facets of the one “diamond” of our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit…22 the fruit (result) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. (Gal. 5:18, 22-23)
L. We need to focus on the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our war against sin. Many put their primary focus on the necessity of denying sinful desires. Walking in the Spirit is an essential condition in overcoming lust. We remove darkness by turning on the light.
5 Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overpower) it. (Jn. 1:5)
M. We recognize His presence in us by thanking Him for it. We thank the indwelling Spirit for His presence, power and leadership inside us. We pray, “Thank you Holy Spirit, for Your presence in me that is mighty in love, peace, patience, self-control, etc. I love and honor Your leadership over me in this moment.”
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (experience) of God…3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to…godliness, through the knowledge (experience) of Him 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great…promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature (character)… (2 Pet. 1:2-4)
N. We are to behold and know the Spirit. We do this as we focus on His presence inside our spirit. When beholding (gazing) on the Spirit in your inner man, say, “Thank you Holy Spirit for Your indwelling power and leadership. Oh! Living Flame of Love, I honor Your leadership in me.”
17 The Spirit…whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him (it does not behold Him, NAS) nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He…will be in you. (Jn. 14:17)
O. Walking in the Spirit is within the reach of all believers by beholding the Spirit in our inner man.
18 We all beholding…the glory of the Lord, are being transformed…by the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)
III. PAUL DESCRIBED A FIERCE WAR IN HIS MEMBERS
21 I find then a law (principle), that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God…23 But I see another law (principle) in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God–through (ongoing encounter with) Jesus Christ our Lord! 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin… (Rom. 7:21-8:2)
A. Paul described a fierce war in his members (mind, emotions and body). He spoke having a body of death that was expressed in his members. The law of sin wars against our mind and members.
B. Paul spoke of a law of sin operating in Him. For example, one day maybe our mind is confused, the next day it is our emotions that maybe enraged, the next day, our body is either tired, sick or stirred up with sinful desire (immorality, alcohol, drugs, food) and so on. The Holy Spirit release energy, healing and righteousness in our mortal bodies.
10 If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He…will give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Rom. 8:10-11)
C. A law is an activity that happens in a consistent way with the same results. It is a principle that has been proven to hold true. It functions in the same way each time. For example, the law of gravity works 100% of the time unless a greater law is introduced. When the engine of an airplane has fuel and is turned on then it overpowers the law of gravity by activating the law of aerodynamics. It is a law because it functions consistently.
D. The law of the Spirit of life speaks of the consistent principle of the Spirit’s power in us that is stronger than the law of sin (Rom. 8:2). The law of sin has dominion in us unless we engage in a more powerful law (law of the Spirit of life). God provided this more powerful law, but we must talk with the Spirit to experience its power.
E. Our deliverance only comes as we encounter Jesus in an on-going way by the Spirit (Rom. 7:25). We must have a present tense vibrant relationship with the Holy Spirit not our past experiences.
F. Christ lives in us by the indwelling Spirit. This is the hope (reason we have confidence) that we will experience God’s glory. There is nothing comparable to the life the Spirit gives our heart.
27 The riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)
G. For example, a pilot must keep the engines running at all times to overpower the law of gravity. The plane’s track record of successful flights will not keep the plane in the air if the engines are not running in the present tense. Our authority is found in our current inner life with the Spirit.
H. We live according to the Spirit by setting our mind on the Spirit. This is what it means to be spiritually minded (Rom. 8:6) or to be “mindful of the Spirit” or “mind-filled with the Spirit.”
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, (set their minds on) the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded (but the mind set on the Spirit NAS) is life and peace (Rom. 8:5-6).
I. The mind set on the flesh has two expressions. First, it is overtly sinful. Second, it is the mind on that is preoccupied with the natural processes of our struggle and conflict, rather than the Spirit.
J. The moments that we dialogue with Him are the moments in which we are most aware of His power and presence in our inner man. Talking to the Spirit re-directs our focus from fantasy (of anger, pride, pleasure, etc.) to Him. This fantasy is called the mind of the flesh.
K. Before Adam sinned he was more conscious of His fellowship with God than of his outer man. When we sin, we quench the Spirit, resulting in a diminished awareness of His presence in us.
L. The Spirit in us is greater than the devil and the flesh, but His power works in us only as we actively engage with Him by speaking to Him. When in temptation, speak to Him.
4 He (Holy Spirit) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 Jn. 4:4)
M. The main theme of Rom. 8, is the outworking of fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. This chapter focuses on our relational experience in the Holy Spirit that is the result our legal position in Christ. (Some limit their interpretation of Rom. 8 to facts about our legal position).
IV. RECEIVING A FRESH SUPPLY OF THE SPIRIT
16 That He would grant you…to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell (manifest His presence) in your hearts (emotions)…that you…18 may be able to comprehend…19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge… (Eph. 3:16-19)
A. Paul prayed for the Holy Spirit to revive a believer’s heart with divine strength so that they would progressively discern and feel God’s presence. It takes supernatural power for the human heart to feel the presence of God. Every time we receive insight into God’s heart or feel His presence, it is by the miracle working power of the Spirit. It takes God’s strength to remove the darkness, dullness, oppression and lethargy of our spirit.
B. We receive a “fresh supply” of Holy Spirit as we dialogue with the Spirit. He responds by releasing “impulses of life that surge” through our inner man. Receiving the supply of the Spirit refers to discernibly experiencing what is always present from God’s point of view.
19 Will turn out for my deliverance through…prayer and the supply of the Spirit… (Phil. 1:19)
C. We only have the first fruits of the release of the Spirit in this age (Rom. 8:23). We need an ongoing release of God’s life in our inner man (mind/emotions).
V. CALLED TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT
16 I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts (wars) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh… 18 if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law…25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:16–18, 25)
A. In Gal. 5:16-25, Paul used three verbs to describe our relationship with the Spirit. He called us to walk in the Spirit (v. 16), which requires us to be led by the Spirit (v. 18) and to live in or by the Spirit (v. 25). Paul emphasized two issues in walking in the Spirit. First, being led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:14) and second, living in the Spirit or being alive by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
B. In Gal. 5:16, Paul gives us a foundational command, “Walk in the Spirit,” with one of the great promises in Scripture, “You shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” To “walk” in the Spirit means to engage with the Spirit or to maintain an active dialogue with Him throughout our daily life or to maintain a vibrant relationship with Him. This is the only way to overcome the power of lust.
C. To be “led” by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18; Rom. 8:14) is to follow His leadership by being watchful of the Spirit’s promptings, especially in our spiritual life (thoughts, words and deeds). We honor (instead of ignore) the Spirit’s leadership in the small decisions of our spiritual life. We walk out the Spirit’s values in our daily life choices (v. 19-22). We cultivate an awareness of the Spirit’s leadership in what we say (speech), what we look at (eyes), how much time we give to feed our spirit (schedule) and how we spend our finances (money). We must refuse the lie that the Holy Spirit is not Lord, and thus, viewing His promptings as optional.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor. 3:17)
D. To “live” in or by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) is to be empowered with the Spirit’s life as we are fed by the Spirit’s food which is the Word of God. One with an under-nourished spirit will walk in lust.
E. Our dialogue with the Spirit is greatly enriched by pray-reading the Word. We will fill our heart with God’s Word because the “voice of the Spirit and the Word” is much stronger than the “voice of sinful lust.” Bible study must create an active dialogue in our heart with God.
F. The Lord is our portion. If we lack natural blessings, we still have Him in our spirit to behold.