Walking in the Spirit Part 5

When I started this series on Walking in the Spirit I referenced Colossians 1:27 so I want to close with it as well.

27  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

While it may not seem apparent at first, understanding this passage, Christ in us as the hope of glory, is the doorway into communion with Him. To understand that we need to understand communion the way it is presented by the scriptures.

When we hear the word ‘communion,’ what ideas and images does the word evoke? Do we think of the ritual we tend to go through on a monthly basis in evangelical churches? Do we consider the role of rituals and symbols in our faith? They are all meant to point us to something, or more specifically, in the case of communion, to someone. The ritual is meant to remind us of Jesus sacrifice and to lead us into a deeper experience of Him as we reflect on His sacrifice and the reason for it. Something very real and meaningful should take place when we partake of the elements. Think about what Paul meant when he wrote the following?

14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NKJV)

What is the ‘communion of the Holy Spirit?’ The word is Greek is koinonia and in addition to many other places the word is found in the following scriptures.

9  God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NKJV)

16  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16 (NKJV)

Given the significance of koinonia /communion for our lives as believers I am including a long section from a Greek dictionary.

  1. κοινωνα koinōnia noun

Communion, association, partnership, fellowship, sharing, contribution.

We are primarily indebted to Paul for providing more information about the nature of koinōnia in the Early Church, especially in his presenting of koinōnia as a relationship between believers and God. Paul regarded the entire Christian call to be a summons to “fellowship” with Jesus Christ. “Sharing” most notably takes place at the Table of the Lord. For Paul, then, eating and drinking are more than mere symbols, though symbols are involved; eating and drinking at the Lord’s table denote an inner “participation” with Christ. It is the ultimate expression of unity – the common bond – between Christ and His body the Church (1 Corinthians 10:16f.). Furthermore, it is the ultimate expression of unity among the people themselves (Paul’s concern in his first letter to Corinth; cf. Philippians 3:10; Philemon 6). Such unity is experienced through the Spirit (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:1). Even Barnabas’ offering of the “right hand of fellowship” (koinōnia, Galatians 2:9) signaled their common bond of faith (see also Hauck, “koinōnos,” Kittel, 3:805ff., who investigates how Paul’s sun [4713], “with,” compounds contribute to the concept of koinōnia).

Four instances of koinōnia occur in the First Epistle of John (cf. the use of the verb in 2 John 11). Each of these is central to the letter (cf. 1:3, John stated his purpose in writing: “that ye also may have fellowship [koinōnia] with us”). John regarded koinōnia as an impossible relationship apart from its being experienced both vertically with God and horizontally with humanity. If one has koinōnia with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (1:3), then one will have koinōnia with other believers who have this same relationship to God (1:6,7). If fellowship does not exist between believers, then any claim to have fellowship with God is invalid. The converse, though not stated, would also be true: True human koinōnia is impossible apart from koinōnia with God.

Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, The – The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Zeta-Kappa.

Given that communion also includes participation and fellowship what does communion mean in our lives? It is meant to be an ongoing encounter with Jesus through the Holy Spirit that overflows into our other relationships. How do we experience the communion of the Holy Spirit in practice? He reveals to us the one living in us.

16  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – 17  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19  “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:16-21 (NKJV)

Jesus is manifest to us through the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says we can ‘know’ the reality of Him living in us and us living in Him! When revealed in our lives the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, love, joy, peace, patience/longsuffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control is a manifestation of His presence in our spirit. This is ‘Christ in us the hope of glory.’ His glory is His nature or character.

When we learn to develop intimate communion with Him more of His character is evident in our lives, He is formed and revealed in our mind, will and emotions. Our thinking aligns with His word, our feeling aligns with His heart and our choices reflect His desires. This all flows from fellowship with Him, sitting and letting Him touch our hearts through His word and presence. The only way to experience the fruit of His presence is to spend time pursuing His heart. This requires aligning our lives with His.

Can any of us fully align our lives with His and continually deeply experience Him? I don’t know, but as we enter a new year is it not worth trying? There is a phrase that some of you may be familiar with – Constant Conscious Communion. This is the thing Brother Lawrence and others wrote of, living in and out of Him. It doesn’t come out of removing ourselves from the world; it comes out of learning to lean into His heart each day and seeking to be sensitive to His presence throughout the day.

I have experienced this in varying degrees over the years and have learned there is no magic formula. It isn’t about a special spiritual experience; it is about investing in and developing a relationship. He is always nearest when I am intentionally removing barriers and seeking to just be with Him and focus on Him. This may mean consciously trying to open my spirit or it may mean picturing gazing upon His throne as it is presented in scripture. I tend to do the former and just become conscious of Jesus in me and before me. I have learned that I can know His presence in very busy and stressful circumstances if I have been spending time in the secret place with Him. My ongoing goal is to more intentionally pursue His presence and seek to live out of Constant Conscious Communion, that my life may reflect His glory. As Paul put it,

28  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV)

If we embrace His purpose we will be conformed to His image. So may we embrace this journey and learn afresh what it means to sit at His feet as Mary did.

Walking in the Spirit Part 4

While conscience may seem to be the most obvious of the three aspects of our spirit, it can at the same time appear to be the least ‘spiritual’ while also being the aspect we experience the most. Of the other two, spiritual intuition seems to be the aspect we need to understand the most and communion the aspect we desire. So, I will continue this trifecta looking at intuition then closing it off dealing with communion.

First, insight and intuition are processes that at times are confused. I won’t do a complete teaching on the two; the general distinction is that intuition is the initiator of a process and insight the completion. Intuition is an often undefined sense of something that we need to learn to pay attention to whereas insight is the ‘aha’ or realization that comes when we see the fruit of following our intuition. We use language like a ‘gut feeling’ to refer to intuition, which is appropriate since scripture locates the experience of our spirit in our belly.

27  The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the inner depths of his heart. Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV) 38  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NKJV)

(here is a link to the song There is a River, which refers to what Jesus described. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaI8GKMuSWg )

The literal Hebrew in Proverbs 20:27 is ‘innermost parts of the belly’ rather than heart and the Greek in the John 7:38 is literally ‘belly’ or ‘innermost being’ rather than heart as can be seen in the versions below.

27  The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. Proverbs 20:27 (NASB) 38  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 (NASB)

27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:27 (KJV) 38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 (KJV)

While there are many New Testament passages that illustrate the use of intuition the main foundation for understanding it is in 1 Corinthians 2.

9  But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10  But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 (NKJV)

In the two occurrences in verse 11 and the one in verse 12 the word know/knows is the same Greek word each time, and while it carries the meaning of knowing or understanding something it also carries the meaning of being aware of something. This is how we need to apply it. Through the Holy Spirit we can become aware of things within our own spirit and as we train ourselves to pay attention to His speaking within we learn to recognize His voice in our spirit.

Later on in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul enumerates spiritual gifts. One of which is the ‘word of knowledge.’ In application I have found in my own experience that the word of knowledge functions through awareness in my spirit. I have a sense of something about someone either when praying for them or when looking around at a group of people while seeking to pay attention to my spirit. I take this intuitive sense (the initiation of the process) and share it with the person I am praying for or with a group of people. When they respond and affirm what is happening two things happen. One is the insight, the completion of the process is achieved, and two, faith is increased because they know I had no way of naturally knowing what I just shared. Please note, this learning to pay attention to Him works at work or in the community as well as in church settings.

I have had people weep because I spoke something to them that I had no natural way of knowing, it came from the Holy Spirit. I once shared something from the Holy Spirit and the individual suddenly doubled over like they had been punched in the stomach due to the impact in their spirit. I have had people shared detailed things about my life that they could not naturally know. These examples illustrate the fruit of learning to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in our spirits.

Let me further illustrate with some examples of where we see this in the life of Paul and Jesus. Please note, these examples are illustrative not exhaustive. You will find many more if you search the New Testament.

25  But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25 (NKJV)

61  When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?” John 6:61 (NKJV)

19  Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? John 16:19 (NKJV)

13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 2:13 (NKJV)

In each of the examples above Jesus was paying attention to and listening to what was happening internally and since He had laid aside His divine attributes, He had to hear in His spirit from the Holy Spirit. In a similar vein, Paul described experiencing a restless in his spirit, an intuitive sense that something was wrong. In each case Jesus and Paul both did something in response to what they sensed internally. This is about learning to lean into and learn from our spirits, as described by both Isaiah and Mary

9  With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:9 (NKJV)

46  And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47  And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47 (NKJV)

Isaiah and Mary both described the need to pay attention to their spirits. At the end of the day this is all about embracing what Paul wrote;

14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (NKJV)

14  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (NASB)

I included the NASB translation because it more accurately reflects the tense in Greek. It is not about a past experience, it is about a present reality. We are called to be in the state of constantly being led by Him, which will take us to communion…

Walking in the Spirit Part 3

I want to further develop how the different aspects of our spirits grow, starting with our conscience. I believe we generally view conscience as a psychological component of our being yet it is rooted in our spirit and is our internal arbiter of right and wrong. Let’s look at what the New Testament teaches us about how our conscience functions.

First, our conscience is our source of conviction as the following scriptures show.

Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. John 8:9 (NKJV)

who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) Romans 2:15 (NKJV)

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, Romans 9:1 (NKJV)

Note that the Romans 2:15 reference refers to both believers and unbelievers. In fact the context is showing how all people have the law of God written in their hearts, a spiritual reality. Paul’s point below is that all of us have our conscience built in.

12  For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13  (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14  for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15  who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16  in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. Romans 2:12-16 (NKJV)

So back to the idea that our conscience can grow and develop; this helps us understand what Paul taught about weaker consciences and leads to the need to differentiate between fellow believers with a weak conscience and legalists who generally seek to control others liberty. Romans 14 is about is about how our conscience functions. The focus in chapter 14 is on those with a weak conscience, implicit is the idea that our conscience can be in different stages at different times. After laying out the issue in chapter 14 Paul provides a conclusion in chapter 15.

1  We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1 (NKJV)

His point is that we need to be sensitive to the state of the conscience of other believers. With more revelation from, and understanding of scripture, what we experience in our conscience will mature. That is, our minds are renewed by embracing the truth of scripture (Rom. 12:1-2). For example, a regular part of my prayer life is to discern between conviction, the Holy Spirit speaking through my conscience, and condemnation, psychological feelings of guilt that leave me no way out. A truth to apply in this area is in Romans 8.

1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

Condemnation is different than guilt, when we have done something wrong if we are walking with Him the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, however His purpose is to bring us to the place of repentance so that we can have restored fellowship and freedom.

9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

The fruit of repentance is intimacy with Jesus. With condemnation we feel bad but don’t see a way out.

I referenced earlier the importance of distinguishing between a ‘weaker’ fellow believer and a legalist. Someone weak in their faith may not feel free to do things a mature believer can do, Paul’s used the example from his day of meat sacrificed to idols. As they mature things like this should cease to be an issue for believers. A current example in our day is the use of alcohol among Christians. While it is not something I promote, nor think it particularly good for anyone, it is also not something I oppose because the scriptures do not oppose it. At the wedding in Cana Jesus turned water into wine, His first miracle (Jn. 2:1-11). Likely not what we would have planned if we wanted to reveal the Messiah! Yet, as an aside, everything Christianity is about all culminates in a great wedding feast! There was a prophetic message in Jesus first miracle.

The however here is that while scripture allows the use of alcohol it forbids drunkenness, as a quick search or Proverbs would reveal. In this scenario we may choose not to use alcohol around a weak believer so that they are not offended, or we may simply choose to never partake, as I think over time the harms seem to greatly outweigh the benefits. We circumscribe our liberty for their good. If we are unable or unwilling to do that then we need to spiritually mature.

What is the difference between a legalist and a weak believer? In the scenario above a weak believer would be open to teaching and over time would be able to embrace the truth of scripture. A legalist would refuse to consider other points of view and condemn those who do not accept their position. An example for me today is those who deny the current validity of spiritual gifts. Despite the fact that millions of their fellow believers around the world operate in them, some very prominent evangelicals deny the reality of spiritual gifts for today. While they may be free in other areas, in this area they are not. They are not listening to the Holy Spirit speaking via their conscience if they are not allowing their position to be informed by the truth of scripture. In truth they hold to a scripturally and experientially untenable position. In this case it would be wrong to circumscribe our liberty and cease to function in ways the scripture clearly instruct us to function.

So, back to our conscience growing – Paul laid out how it can be hardened.

21  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21 (NKJV)

17  This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18  having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; Ephesians 4:17-18 (NKJV) 18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Romans 1:18 (NKJV)

When we reject light and truth it is as if a veil is placed over our spirits. We become less sensitive to the truth of scripture. This is why Hebrews warns of the danger of drifting from the faith and tells us to daily exhort and encourage one another. Again Paul lays this out well in the passage below.

1  Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2  But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3  But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4  whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 (NKJV)

What Paul is teaching in 2 Corinthians 4 is that to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit we need to reject darkness. This includes what we read, watch and discuss. Nothing is without effect and we deceive ourselves if we think we can imbibe darkness and walk in the light. We need to pursue the truth of scripture to have our conscience develop sensitivity to His presence. Let me give John the last word on this matter.

5  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NKJV)

Walking in the Spirit Part 2

Picking up on how spiritual growth is analogous to natural growth, how do our physical bodies grow? Is food and water sufficient? How many of us have heard of feral children, or more commonly, the problems children have if they do not form a proper attachment bond with their mother? Clearly more than just food and water are required. Yahweh designed us so that there are other aspects required for proper growth, things like love, affection, and physical and emotional interaction. We are complex beings designed by a loving God to need both Him and one another to fulfill our calling and purpose.

A simple example of this complexity is the impact of gratitude at meal time. I read some research recently that our bodies better digest our food if we pause and are grateful or thankful prior to eating it. Another example of how Yahweh designed us to function in harmony with His design and purpose. There are practical physical and spiritual reasons for saying grace before meals. He has built better health into taking time to focus on Him before we eat. The catch is that the physical effects require actually slowing down and being intentional, not muttering a hurried prayer so we can eat.

So back to growth – if we need to grow spiritually we need food, fellowship and time. The aspects of our spirit – conscience, communion, and intuition all need to develop if we are to grow spiritually. This can happen in a haphazard way or a very focused and intentional way. If we want to be intentional we need to know what to feed our spirits and how. We need to know how to have ongoing communion with Jesus and we need to know how our conscience develops.

In regard to spiritual food Paul, Peter and the writer of Hebrews gave us some instruction on the place of scripture.

1  And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 (NKJV)

12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14 (NKJV)

1  Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2  as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4  Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5  you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:1-5 (NKJV)

We grow spiritually by intentionally ingesting His word and reflecting on it to learn how to apply it to our day to day circumstances. The scriptures inform conscience and intuition as our spirit becomes stronger. For communion, we need to learn to sit with and experience Jesus or meditate and interact with Him through His word, there are no substitutes. In the spirit we can finely hone our conscience via the word and communion with Him.

It is important to know that while conscience, communion and intuition may be different aspects of our spirits they are intertwined. The symbol below, the triquetra, has had many uses and applications down through the centuries. One is that it has long been used to reflect the Trinity and is in fact the symbol on every New King James bible for precisely that reason. You can see in the symbol below that while each of the three parts can be distinctly seen the parts are also intertwined and cannot be separated. It you remove one part you lose the symbol. We can use this symbol to reflect our triune composition as spirit, soul and body, as reflecting the three parts of our soul – mind, will, and emotions, or as reflecting the three aspects of our spirits – conscience, communion, and intuition. We can’t develop one in isolation from the others and we need all three to be whole.

Triquetra 2

Walking in the Spirit Part 1

What does it mean that Christ is in us, more particularly in our spirits? How do we learn to pay attention to and live out of our spirits? Paul said that the he had been given a stewardship from God to reveal His long hidden mystery, now unveiled. He described the unveiling of this mystery as the revealing of God’s glory and summed it all up in the phrase, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

24  I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26  the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:24-27 (NKJV)

Paul went on to say that the whole focus of his life was to present everyone perfect/mature in Christ (Col. 1:28-29). The idea being that Christ in us needs to mature in our spirits. While this may sound strange, think about natural birth. A child is born very dependent and over time grows. During this growth process the parents provide external controls while the child is developing internal control as they mature. This is the process of normal growth. However not all growth follows this process. If all goes well age and maturity are parallel processes. The same should happen spiritually, we should mature as we spiritually age, however we are called to discipleship, which carries the concept of discipline with it, both self discipline and discipline from the Lord. (see Heb. 12:5-7, Prov. 3:11-12, Gal. 5:23).

To capture the idea of spiritual growth look at the verses below.

80  So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel. Luke 1:80 (NKJV) 40

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)

The first reference above is to John the Baptist, the second to Jesus. If they both needed to become strong in spirit then we are joining good company in acknowledging our need. This is why Paul wrote what he did in Galatians, which appears to be the first teaching letter he ever wrote.

19  My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19 (NKJV)

The Greek word translated as formed and the meaning from the Greek are below.

  1. μορφω morphoō verb, Take on form, be formed, shape, fashion.

New Testament Usage

The only New Testament occurrence is at Galatians 4:19. Here Paul used the analogy of a woman’s travailing birth pangs to describe his intense desire and prayer that the nature and character of Christ “be formed” in the lives of the Galatian believers. In order that the morphē (3307), or essential nature of the Christ-life, may come into being in them, Christ must not only be in each of them, but must also grow or “be formed” in them. This process of maturity into Christlikeness is not a mere outward conformity to Christ but a progressive inward transformation of one’s character. Christian growth through the Spirit’s work is a major theme in Paul’s writings.

Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary, – Lambda-Omicron.

To successfully ‘walk in the Spirit’ we need to spiritually grow and mature, to develop strong spirits that enable us to walk out our calling. Given this is not automatic in future posts I will further break down and illustrate the ‘how.’