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Moment in the Word

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"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law."
Galatians 5: 16-18 (NKJV)

What principle should one follow to live the Christian life? If a group of average church members were asked that question what answers would they give? Some would likely emphasis Bible reading and prayer. Some would stress faithful church attendance. Others might mention living by the Golden Rule or using your life to serve others. Still others might say, "Imitate Christ." Please note that all of these are "Good answers", but is there a principle that overarches these? Here we have Paul's answer to the question, "How to live the Christian life?" His over-arching guiding principle is Live by the Spirit. Many professing Christians are quite ignorant of the Holy Spirit's ministry and they fail to recognize and experience His work.

They tend to emphasize rules rather than the life of divine grace, the life of the Spirit. We preachers often hammer on morality, but teach little about the workings of the Spirit and His power to help. To substitute moralizing for the biblical teaching of the Holy Spirit led life is tragic.

The real secret of success or victory in living the Christian life is to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance and receive His empowering. This leads to an inner and outer transformation of life that a code of ethics cannot even touch. This life of victory comes not from following an external code but from obeying an internal Presence. The Holy Spirit takes the place of the law as the controlling power in the Christian's life. This was Paul's understanding and deep conviction; to live in victory is to walk by the Spirit. It is each believer's responsibility to live a Spirit controlled life.

The word "walk", used 32 times in Galatians, is used figuratively of one's way of life. The promise here given is to the believer who continuously lives in dependence on the indwelling Holy Spirit for guidance and power. The Spirit does not operate automatically in the believer's heart but waits to be yielded to, depended on, and followed. The secret to victory in living the Christian life is walking continuously by the Spirit.

To walk by the Spirit of God is to be sensitive to the Spirit's leading and follow it. The Spirit of God will always lead us in accord with the Word of God, never contrary to it. When a Christian does yield to the Spirit's control, the promise, or the result, is that he will not in any way gratify the fallen nature.

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