Now learn to walk in the Spirit.
WALKING involves movement, action and purposeful direction. All doctrinal teaching in the Word of God is intensely practical, and like normal walking, at all times you have at least one foot firmly on the ground – you don’t float!
Many and varied are the weird concepts and crazy notions of “walking in the Spirit” but the Word of God is very clear about this point (Gal. 5:16). When you are motivated by the Holy Spirit your life is intensely practical. You live responsibly and keep well in touch with reality.
Some believers remind you of gas-filled balloons. They float in and out of churches, doing the rounds, doing their own thing. Their activity is so unreal and unrelated to everyone else that they spend all their time doing precisely nothing! If discipline is enforced, or dedication required, there is a tremendous escape of gas, some rather rude noises, and once again they have disappeared into isolation, but, sadly, only to re-inflate themselves and return with more gas!
If your “theology” does not produce “do-ology” it’s just a lot of kidology! Some seem to imagine that doing God’s will is dodging responsibility. The blunt fact is, that if your walk with God does not make you a better workman, a more diligent church member, a loving and considerate husband, a faithful and supportive wife, its time you asked yourself the question – who’s kidding who?
Walking in the Spirit is not shambling in a stupor, living in a dream world or retreating into the deceptive cosiness of a passive mind. It is living and aligning your actions with clear spiritual principles. It is cold-blooded discipleship that denies itself, takes up its cross and follows the teachings of Jesus even in the minute details of everyday living (Matt. 16:24).
…Christians who live by impulse, carelessly following “hunches” or “leadings” without checking them with God’s Word are easily duped by Satan. People who live like that lack stability, and have no sound guidelines. They wander from one unreal experience to another. God wants sane, sensible sons, not mindless zombies! Sudden lunatic decisions are Satan’s specialty, such as resigning or giving up a responsible job, running away with someone else’s partner, emigrating without contemplating all the circumstances, changing your church.
Major decisions like these are seldom right, often rushed, and very often contrary to sound common sense. These moods of madness must be blocked and checked by submitting them to the counter-signature of the Holy Spirit. If any major plan in your life seems to be the slightest bit suspect, submit it to the authority of the cross, God will then cause it to die, or quietly to grow into a deep, settled conviction.
Walking is a steady, purposeful and progressive striding out. It should be a beautifully, balanced action, with lightness of step and consistency of pace. In the early days of our Christian life, we seem to go in fits and starts, pursuing a very erratic and unsteady course. How well the hymn-writer describes this stop-start spirituality:
Once I thought I walked with Jesus
But such changeful moods I had.
Sometimes trusting, sometimes doubting.
Sometimes joyful, sometimes sad.
But oh, the peace my Saviour gives.
Peace I never knew before,
For my way has brighter grown
Since I learned to trust Him more.
Walking in the Spirit is freedom from all those sudden jolts and sickening jars that spoil our first efforts to follow Jesus. Walking is two feet in rhythmic motion. The life in the Spirit is similar. It requires an initial effort to defy gravity and get to our feet, followed by faith and ACTION! It is trusting and OBEYING! Knowing and DOING! Hearing and GOING!
Where do we get our energy to walk? How is it possible to swing along effortlessly and easily? In our own strength? – Never: If Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), He meant NOTHING!
The classic mistake of so many Christians is of trying to copy Jesus with their own limited resources. Far better to know the secret of how to be a continual channel of his life, then you release REALITY (Gal. 2:20)!
In sincere faith, count on the glorious fact that every weakness in your personality that causes you to limp. Every disability that you have sustained through childhood and the harsh circumstances of your life can be replaced by the living energy of CHRIST IN YOU! (Rom. 6, Col. 1:27-29).
Don’t sing “He walks beside me.” That is true in one sense, but it can be misleading. Better to sing the hymn “Christ liveth in me, Oh what a salvation this, that CHRIST LIVETH IN ME” (2 Cor. 6:16). “God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be My people.”
Unaffected by hatred and hostility, you will walk in love! Depressing conditions and discouraging circumstances will not disturb your joy! In spite of chaos and confusion all about you, Christ in you will give you incredible calm and perfect peace! Men might oppose you, and Satan seek to oppress you, but you will remain unruffled, well able to manifest longsuffering!
In spite of the violent reactions of problem people and people with problems, you will still manifest gentleness! Although everyone around you is filled with gloom and despair, nothing will quench the firmness of His faith! The one who walks in the Spirit has character, which manifests itself in controlled strength. There is no weakness, just meekness! The final crowning virtue of a balanced and beautiful life is its moderation, consideration and care of others, evidenced by temperance!
So beware of floating, wandering aimlessly and lurching all over the place – just keep walking! Walk the streets of your town and release the Spirit of Christ wherever you go. Be a living revelation of the Son of God, But never forget, although it’s you, it’s not you, – BUT HIM! (Gal. 2:20).
From British pastor, Eric Maddison’s, You Can Choose God’s Best. ch. 6. (part 3 of 3) The book is online courtesy of the author at http://www.dci.org.uk/main/findthebest.htm