Ask any baby how difficult it is to learn how to walk (yes, I am aware that babies can’t carry on that conversation). The average baby falls 17 times an hour when learning to walk – that’s a lot of falls. In addition to the falling there is the involuntary change of direction. No baby learns to walk in a straight line – they may start in one direction but rarely does their journey end where they intended to go. That’s because learning to walk – ain’t easy!
The same is true when it comes to our Christian journey – learning to walk in the Spirit is hard stuff. Often we find ourselves frustrated with our life as a believer because of the falls we take and the detours we often find ourselves taking as we walk with Jesus. Paul the Apostle struggled with the same frustration of detours and falls, “ For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. (Romans 7:19) However, just because falling and detours, while common, are no less frustrating. The answer to the frustration is to learn to “walk in the Spirit”. As mystical as that sounds – it isn’t! God never gives us abstract mystical instructions. Everything that God asks of us is doable. So the question is – how do we “walk in the Spirit”? Allow me to share with you some practical “next steps” for learning to “walk in the Spirit”.
- Set your mind on things above. Colossians 3:2
To “walk in the Spirit” requires a complete new mind set. Our natural tendency is to view every area of our lives through the lens of the “flesh”. That means we look at each area of our lives selfishly, absent of any thought of God or his desires, focusing on pleasing ourselves. But if we hope to experience real transformation in our lives we have to start viewing every area of our lives through the lens of God’s word.
How does God want me to conduct myself at work? What kind of conversation would God want me to have with my friends? How does God want me to handle my finances? etc. So make a prayer list that includes: Lord help me to be mindful today to seek to please you with my family, work, friends, finances, conversation, and free time. Help me to resist the temptation to satisfy my flesh in these areas.
- Find time to read God’s Word
How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. Psalm 119:9
God’s word is key to our success when it comes to “walking in the Spirit”. It’s this simple, “No word – no progress”. I could give you countless scripture that proves this point – but proving the point is not the issue. Getting ourselves into God’s word is the issue. Most of us don’t take time to read God’s word because it’s a big book and we’re not sure where to start. If we got started we’re afraid we won’t understand it and it will be pointless.(that’s the voice of the flesh talking) Taking “next steps” is not about running a marathon – it’s about starting where you are and making slow and steady progress. Do not(I repeat – do not) try to read the Bible through in a year. You can go to Youversion.com and find many topical reading plans that call on you to read small passages of scripture at a time. Look for topics that deal with the different areas of your life that God wants to make changes in. Allow God’s word to take root in your life. One small tip when it comes to making God’s word a part of your life. Refresh your mind with God’s word throughout the day. All of us have access to electronic bibles either on our phones, pads, or computers. Pick a verse each day from your reading plan and reread it during your breaks and lunch while at work. I promise you – it will make a huge difference.
- Ask for help
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
None of us are equipped to fight the battle against our flesh in our own strength. Expect all out war when you decide to “walk in the Spirit”. Nothing will come easy and temptations will assault you at every point. How do we avoid those unwanted detours in our walk with God? Ask for help!
When you find yourself stressed over a decision. When you find yourself tempted to go in a different direction than God wants you to go in. Don’t just stand there – pray! Prayer is not fancy or theological it’s a simple conversation with God. When Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus and began to sink – he didn’t offer up a fancy theological prayer – He prayed, “Save me”. Just tell Jesus about whatever frustration or temptation you are facing and ask him to steady you through the moment. Remember this – there is no shame in the struggle to do right. The struggle to do right is not sinful. So when you find yourself struggling – just simply pray for God to help you do the right thing!
Walking ain’t easy – but it is so worth it! So let’s start taking those next steps today!