In my previous two posts I talked about the place of scripture in our lives. I want to take that a bit further and talk about what it means to walk by His word. Many years ago, actually over two decades ago, I decided I would write about what it meant to walk in the Spirit. Once I began I realized I didn’t really have much to say! I needed far more experience in walking with Him to be able to say something of value on the subject. Now that I have had a bit more experience I have a little more to say. However, I also notice that my frame of reference has shifted. Part of that shift is that I see a very strong connection between walking in the Spirit and walking by the word.
Below are two passages that reference walking in the Spirit (see also Rom. 8:9-14).
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. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 (NKJV)
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)
What we find in these passages is that when we walk in the Spirit we fulfill the righteous requirements of the law through Jesus sacrifice. We also find that our life is in the Spirit so we should walk in the Spirit. So how do we do that? There is an expression that most in evangelical circles will be familiar with. ‘The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.’ Let me suggest another version, ‘The Spirit of God will never lead you where the Word of God cannot keep you.’ Walking in the Spirit requires learning to hear His voice and discern His leading in our lives. Because He calls each of us into a unique relationship with Him our experience of His leading may vary but it will never contradict His word.
He may lead us through things like inner promptings, through highlighting a scripture verse or passage, or through someone constantly coming to mind (this is not an exhaustive list). Inner promptings may be a sense of something to do, or a sense to call someone. We may come across a scripture that speaks to our experience. We may keep thinking about someone and often that means He is calling us to pray for someone. We may meet someone who reminds us of someone we have not seen for a long time, it may be a call to intercede for the one we are reminded of. As we open ourselves to these experiences we learn to discern and how to hear His voice.
Let me share an example from a number of years ago that played out over a number of years but included some of the elements I mentioned above. We lived on an acreage and I had a sense we were to move so I began praying about it and bringing it before the Father over time. This process lasted about 3 years. This isn’t something I prayed about every week or even every month. It was an internal awareness I had and included regular prayer about it. Then at one point we decided to have a garage sale. At this point, 3 years into praying about this my wife and I had decided we should sell our home and had decided on a price. So back to the garage sale – I don’t enjoy them but on this occasion things were slow Friday and on Saturday morning it was overcast and at noon we discussed shutting down the garage sale. I, the guy who doesn’t like them, said I would keep it going for a while (I had an internal sense to continue). It then began drizzling, another indicator to stop. Yet I decided to continue for a bit. Shortly after that a couple came by and bought some plants. The wife then looked at our house and said something like, ‘I don’t suppose you would consider selling your house as well?’ In the end we sold our house, which we had not listed or advertised, to this couple. They paid right to the penny the amount that my wife and I had previously agreed upon.
In looking back at this there was no scripture verse that said anything like ‘hold a garage sale’ or ‘stay out in the rain.’ Yet there is a scripture that says we are to ‘walk in the Spirit’ and a scripture that says, 14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 (NKJV) I sought over time to be led by His Spirit and the fruit in this instance was the sale of our home.