I have been thinking today about what it means to walk in the spirit and walk in the flesh. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
I have come to understand to a certain extent what "walking in the spirit" means. When I walk in the flesh my spirit within me reaps the pains of sin and death. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live another day trapped by the pain of the flesh, and so I desire to break free into the things of the spirit.
This is what I have learned about living according to the Spirit. When I wrestle with the flesh I am wrestling within the same realm as the flesh. What does that mean? If I try to overcome the flesh by exerting more flesh I will not overcome the flesh, because flesh cannot overcome flesh. I will only substitute one form of sin for another.
But when I walk by the Spirit listening to the voice of my father, I can overcome the flesh not by the flesh, but by the spirit. The Lord speaks spiritual keys and these become my deliverance.
Many of the liberations that you will experience in the flesh are overcome by simple actions from the Lord. Indeed everything we inherit in the spirit is done from a place of rest. You don’t have to strive to inherit freedom in Christ. You only have to listen and obey.
Your next freedom might be as easy as saying you are sorry to your neighbor. Your next promotion might be as simple as saying to your former boss that you were wrong to have treated them badly. Your freedom from a sex addiction might be as simple as putting on a wedding gown because the Lord told you to do it.
The things that I have inherited in Christ I have not earned. You cannot earn salvation you simply walk into it by faith.
Since I have come to Christ I have had more than enough finances to take care of my family. My wife works at home and she works hard but she does not earn an income. In today’s world that seems foolish. It would seem that we would not be doing well economically because the stats show that in order to survive families in our world need to earn two incomes.
God spoke to me early in our marriage and told me that my wife was to stay home. This was her desire, but it brought fear to my heart. I couldn’t imagine living without the income that she brought into our home. Even though it was a small amount I felt we needed it. But God said let her stay home and so she stayed home.
This simple act of letting my wife stay home was an act of obedience on my part. I have never missed that income. In fact my own income has increased considerably and provision comes in from many other places. We always have more than enough.
If God says, “I want you to go on a long trip and pray on a certain spot when you get there,” obeying this action is how you walk in the spirit. When God commands and we obey we have walked in the spirit and our deliverance is assured. I did this once when God asked me to go to two different places, driving there. Both places were two days drive. When I did what God said he anointed me anew and ministry became easier and more fruitful.
Let me give you a biblical example of this principle. There is the story of Elisha and Naaman in 2 Kings 5. What is interesting to me is what it says about Naaman in verse one, “He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded.” Anotherwords he was a man of great dignity.
Now I want you to think about the healing of Naaman for a moment. It says in verse 10 that Elisha sent a messenger to him and said, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
When Naaman heard this he actually got angry (vs. 11), but it was actually the word for his deliverance and healing.
I can only imagine why Naaman got angry. Perhaps his flesh rose up in him and his mind began to take over. Why should I humble myself in this way? What will the people think if I do such a thing? This idea presented to him by the prophet went against his normal way of thinking. He wanted to make haste back to his own land without doing as commanded by the prophet.
I can understand what Naaman might have felt. It is not easy humbling yourself when the Lord speaks. The proposition that I am going to be healed by such a silly action is too much for me to handle. I don't want to obey because what is being proposed does not have a foundation in logic. Why would a river heal me if I dip seven times. This does not make sense and beside I am a man of dignity. What will people think?
I remember one time the Lord gave me a word. He said I want you to call the church and ask them for money. At the time I had been struggling for many months. I was jobless and I didn’t have any money left. My creditors were calling and I was behind two months on my bills. I was leaving my apartment because I could not afford to pay rent anymore. I didn’t know where I was going to live the next month.
My flesh rose up against this word from the Lord. For three months I wrestled with it. I reasoned to myself that God knew my need so why should I ask man for help. If God was all powerful and all knowing, then why would I need to tell people my need at all. Couldn't he just supply supernaturally.
In fact I live this way most of the time. Very rarely do I tell people my needs, but in this moment this was a God word and I was disobeying it. As a result my provision wasn't coming in.
At the end of three months God spoke to me again and said, “I told you to ask the church.”
In a very broken state, I humbled myself and did as he requested. The church helped me and shortly after I got a great job and have never had such a need to ask for help again.
In that moment God wanted me to humble myself before man so that I could receive what he had for me. That was his word for the moment and because I could not act on that word I went without for a time, but when I came into agreement my deliverance was assured.
I have many stories like this. I will share this story quickly. For many years I suffered with a skin condition that was very painful. I had prayer for this pain a dozen times over a five year period, but did not get healed.
Then one night the Lord gave me a dream. He said “Put oil and peroxide on the rash and it will go away.” I did as the Lord said and indeed it did go away. It has never been the same since.
You see walking in the spirit is just doing what the Lord tells us to do. When I walk in the spirit I am given strategies that I can use to get my deliverance to get set free. Many will try to duplicate the strategy the Lord gives you but it will not work because it wasn’t the strategy for their lives.
God wants us to trust him and not a strategy at all. Many try to duplicate what another person has done, or what a church has done, but God has a strategy unique for each person and each place.
We must seek him first, and from this the strategies for our deliverances and growth will be revealed.
People often put God on a timetable. They try all sorts of things to coerce him to respond to their need. God is not as concerned about your need as he is with your willingness to be led. When you can humble yourself to do as he says your deliverance is assured.
I got set free from cigarettes when God told me to put a pack of them in my sock drawer and only smoke when I had to. Within two weeks I was delivered. God can do something similar for you.
I pray today that God will birth the strategy for your deliverance and that you will have the courage to do as he says.
Bless you all,