Yesterday I received a response from someone who asked a very basic yet important question. My subject of the email was “The Most Important Spiritual Life Essential.” I compared being filled with and walking in the Spirit to our most essential action of staying alive…and that is breathing. Minutes without breathing and we die. We can live days without water and weeks without food, but breathing is the most essential thing we must do to stay alive physically.
So, I made the case that being filled with and walking in the Spirit is as essential to our spiritual life as breathing is to our physical. Someone responded with this excellent question;
“So how do I walk in the Spirit daily, are there guidelines??”
Let’s look at what the Bible teaches us relative to this most essential action of our spiritual life and health.
First – We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18 we read;
“And do not get drunk with wine,
for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit…”
This is not a suggestion but a command…actually two commands. We are commanded to not be drunk or controlled by alcohol. When someone is drunk, we say they are “under the influence” of the alcohol and tend to say and do stupid things. For example, not realizing that the garage door was down.
What Paul is commanding us to do is to be “under the control or influence” of the Spirit. Do not think of being filled with the Spirit like we need to fill our gas tank when it is empty. The Spirit does not leak out of us during the night and so we need to get more of Him in the morning. It is not a matter of volume but of influence. Allow the Spirit to be influencing you throughout your day. Have Him guiding you and especially when you are being tempted.
The way we do this, I believe, is to start every day offering our body to God as a “living sacrifice” which is our spiritual act of worship. In this action, we are showing God and telling ourselves that we want Jesus to be the Lord of our life each day and we surrender control of our bodies to Him.
This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit being granted our permission to lead and guide us instead of allowing our world and our sinful flesh to be influencing us. It is like tossing Him the keys and asking Him to be the driver of your life each day.
So, being filled with or influenced by the Spirit is done by simply asking Him to lead you and guide you through each day. You step down off of your throne, it’s too big for you anyway, and allow the Lord to be Lord and the Spirit to guide and influence you.
This is an easy thing to do each morning. However, the challenge is experiencing His guidance throughout the day. And as James wrote;
You have not because you ask not.
Second, we are commanded to walk by the Spirit. Asking the Spirit to influence us is easy but “walking in the Spirit” is where He can make a real difference. Notice Galatians 5:16’s promise;
“But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
The idea of this verse is for us to be walking by means of the Spirit. Allowing Him to guide and direct us in the choices we make and the things we do. And it is easy to tell if you are doing this or not. If you are walking towards sin or contemplating a sinful act like looking at porn…you are NOT WALKING IN THE SPIRIT…but you are being guided by your flesh.
Literally, it means walking under His influence and allowing Him to lead us. He will never lead us into looking at porn or doing any kind of sin whether it is sexual or not. And we are enabled to do this by HIM! It is by His power and His strength that we can have the power to flee our lusts.
We are told that if we are walking in the Spirit, we will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Now let’s apply this to what we know about temptation. James writes;
“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”
Now, this takes work or better yet practice. You have asked the Spirit to influence you during your day. However, something or someone catches your eye and the woman at the counter is revealing some cleavage. You are immediately being tempted and you can feel yourself being “carried away” or drawn to look and then as you look you are “enticed” to think beyond just looking.
It is at that very moment you need to be walking in the Spirit. You need Him to be influencing you before you make the mental decision to focus downward instead of upward. Instead of having a second or third look, you focus on anything else. You look away or as I have trained myself to do…and you are going to think this is ridiculous…I focus on her eyebrows.
When we feel ourselves being carried away by something sexual and focusing on it by our own lusts, we have but a few seconds before we allow this tempting lust to become conceived in our minds and most likely will lead us into sin.
Being influenced by the Spirit and walking alongside the Spirit calling for His help in the early stages of the temptation process is how we can begin to walk in sexual purity. This is a battlefield where you must fight and stay walking by means of the Spirit. This will not come easily but with practice, you can have the Spirit train you in continuing to walk with Him and receive His power to defeat temptation before it becomes sin.