“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-17).
Walking in the Spirit is the key to overcoming the flesh, but it doesn’t come easily. Often, it is a real battle. When the flesh is winning the inside battle, you don’t do the things that you wish you would, and you don’t live the way you know is right. In Romans 7:19, Paul explained the ongoing battle he was fighting this way. “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
We can relate – we’ve all been there. But it is possible to win the battle when we are walking in the Spirit. But what does it mean “to walk in the Spirit”?
After you are saved, the Holy Spirit is living within you.
You become more and more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Decisions and choices you make are always impacted by influence of the Holy Spirit.
Later, in the same chapter, Paul said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). In this verse, the word Greek word stoicheo was used, which means “to walk in line with." Here Paul is saying, “Keep in step with the Spirit.”
Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1), and we can tell when people are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit because their walk will look a lot like Jesus’ walk.
Looks Like ...
When Paul, formerly called Saul, tried to reconcile with the Jerusalem church after having persecuted many of its members before he became a Christian, Barnabas was at his side (Acts 9:26-30). Many in Jerusalem were concerned about Paul getting involved with the church, remembering his former deeds. But Barnabas reached out on his behalf, and said, "You need to listen to this guy. He's a changed man." And with time, the early church began to accept Paul.
Barnabas became Paul’s mentor, but later a serious disagreement came between them over whether young John Mark would accompany them on a journey. Paul was upset with John Mark because he had previously gone home right in the middle of a mission trip. But Barnabas kept insisting that they should give Mark another chance. With this matter standing between them, they went their separate ways (Acts 15:39-41).
Their disagreement was not permanent, however, as we know Paul and Barnabas later worked together serving the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:6). At the same time, Barnabas continued to mentor young John Mark in his ministry. Later, Paul admitted that Barnabas had been right not to give up on John Mark. What a loss that would have been if he had been completely rejected, as John Mark became the author of the Gospel of Mark.
Only a person walking in the Spirit, and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, could have looked beyond Paul’s and Mark’s past mistakes, and seen the real change and ministry potential in them.
Ask Yourself ...
Barnabas' given name was Joseph but, because he was so supportive, the disciples called him Barnabas (translated "Son of Encouragement"). Who is your Barnabas? Are you anyone's encourager and mentor?