But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Our obedience to God’s commands is Spirit-empowered. The Holy Spirit leads us to do what God wants, not what our sinful natures want. The imperative “walk” is a Hebrew expression for “live,” with the idea of conduct or lifestyle. Its tense conveys continuous action. The phrase “by the Spirit” can be rendered “in the Spirit”—in the sphere that the Spirit governs. To keep on living in the Spirit is to continually live by His power—to go where He is going.
At the moment when we place our trust in Christ, our sinful nature no longer has control over us. Control now belongs to God and His Spirit. However, we live in a fallen world and remain in a battle against sin even after we become Christians. As long as we live, we will continue in this battle. Yet because we are in Christ, sin no longer dominates us. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul presented a catalog of “the works of the flesh” (v. 19) so believers could be forewarned. The sins listed in these verses are the result of twisting God’s gifts into ungodly behaviors and not following the Spirit.
Following our fleshly desires leads to evil and death. The Spirit’s activity in Christians produces a cluster of virtues, including peace, that give evidence believers belong to Christ (see vv. 22-26). The peace of God is readily available for those who trust in Christ.
- Is there an area in your life where you feel you lack peace? What step can you take today to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit?
- In what ways have you recently been reminded of the peace of God in your life? How can you be more aware of and sensitive to God’s peace on a daily basis?
- Thank God for His Spirit at work in your life.