Walking By the Spirit: Our Defense Against the Desires of the Flesh

Walking by The Spirit – Producing Good Fruit

When I was young our family occasionally went out to pick fruit in an orchard. It was fun as long as the fruit was where we could reach it. There were long sticks to knock it off the higher branches but that was hard work. Us kids would wander around looking for any fruit within our reach.

Orchard - walking by the Spirit

Fruit is an important metaphor for the Christian life. As we walk through our lives as Christians we continually make choices that result in fruit, some good some bad. Learning how to make the choices that result in good fruit is called walking by the Spirit.

The phrase “walk by the Spirit” is from Galatians 5:16. The word “walk” means to live or behave in a certain way. It’s how we order our life. What’s interesting is Galatians 5:16 gives us the reason for walking by the Spirit. When you order your life by the Spirit, “you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Walking by the Spirit is our defense against the attacks of our enemy the flesh.

This is a big deal. This is the key to victory over the flesh. The problem is many don’t understand what walking by the Spirit means.

How to Walk By the Spirit

As obvious as it seems, many people don’t connect it with the idea of walking. It is active not passive. For years in my Christian life when I struggled with the flesh I would pray, “Father help me! Please take this desire away and give me a good desire!” It didn’t happen. We have to do the walking. The Father won’t do it for you.

Walking by the Spirit is like walking down a pathway. Suddenly an evil desire jumps out and tries to get you to change directions. We looked at those desires in a previous post. At that moment if we look to the the Spirit we can see an alternative good desire. You have a choice. You are going to take a step! If it is toward the good desire, produced by the Spirit, He comes alongside you and empowers you to keep going. If you step towards the evil desire you know what happens.

As an example let’s think about the evil desire strife. Strife is conflict based upon a disagreement. Imagine you have a disagreement with someone. The evil desire strife jumps into your pathway. It suggests, “You need to fight for yourself here! Don’t let them walk all over you. Get in their face.” You’re tempted. It would feel good, at least for a minute. But you stop and think about what the Father wants. The idea of gentleness comes to mind, to have a mild emotional response to the other person. The flesh is screaming “Let them have it.” The Spirit tugs at your heart, “Be gentle.” Which do YOU choose? You WILL choose one.

When we walk by the Spirit we choose the good desires the Spirit.  That results in good fruit Galatians 5:22-23 and defeats the flesh.

How have you learned to choose the good desires of the Spirit to defeat the flesh? Please leave a comment or question below.