What Does It Mean to Walk in the Spirit?

By Mark Altrogge

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

What does it mean to walk by the Spirit?

Does this mean our day is filled with supernatural feelings and impulses such as while we are driving we hear a voice say “Turn left and drive two blocks then stop your car get out and go into the building on your right. Walk up to the fourth floor and knock on door 412. There you will meet a man wearing a Beatles T-shirt. You are to tell him to stop listening to ‘Imagine.’”

This is not what it means to walk by the Spirit. It is possible that the Holy Spirit could guide us to do something like this, but that is not what the Bible means by “walk by the Spirit.”

To walk by the Spirit means to obey the Holy Spirit. To live life according to the leading of the Spirit. But first of all…

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity. There is one God, who exists in 3 persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are not 3 Gods, but one. This is a mystery. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not a force or power. As a person he knows us, speaks to us, leads us, helps us, strengthens us and changes us.

How does the Holy Spirit lead us?

First of all the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

When we believe in Jesus, we are born again by the Holy Spirit, who comes to live in us.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own 1 Corinthians 6:19

The Holy Spirit actually lives inside every believer. He doesn’t direct us from the outside, but from our inner being.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17

Isn’t this wonderful! God himself takes up residence within us. He never leaves us. Never takes a break. Even when we are not aware of his presence he dwells in us.

The Holy Spirit begins his work of sanctifying us, changing us, making us holy, making us like Christ

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

We “behold the glory of the Lord” through Scripture, through prayer, through meditating on Jesus, by fellowshipping with other believers. And this passage tells us that as we do that the Holy Spirit “transforms us into the same image” – makes us more and more like Christ, “from one degree of glory to another.”