In this post, I am going to be completely transparent, because I think many of us are dealing with this and can relate. I hope to encourage and challenge each of us to put trust BEFORE fear.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to truly “walk in the Spirit.” If you are in Christ, you know exactly what I mean. You know what it’s like to “walk in the Sprit” daily, and grasp his presence in a tangible and active way. I’m so thankful that Jesus Christ lives and makes his dwelling within me. There is truly nothing that compares to knowing that the Savior of the world takes personal interest in us, and chooses to make himself known to us, in a real and powerful way. Every day I wake up, and I immediately know that He is with me, and I can take courage. I can sense a powerful and pressing presence leading and guiding me throughout the day and week. It is truly incredible, and it is His Spirit that prompts me speak, act, and live on His behalf. There is nothing good in me except the Holy Spirit.
Now, I’m 24 years old, as of a couple months ago, and life seems to be getting pretty real these days. If you are a friend of mine reading this, and you are in your mid 20’s or so, you can relate to me when I say that life is SO uncertain and confusing at times. Being single at this age even lays a heavier weight and confusion on you if your not careful. You find yourself questioning Gods direction, goodness and plan for you, and wondering, “How in the world is all of this going to fall into place?” Yes, I walk in the Spirit, and I know that Christ is with me, but there is also a sense of frustration and confusion at times, with certain specific desires that I have, that just don’t seem to be completely happening. That desire for you could be a various amount of things: job situations, financial uncertainties, relationship desires, family struggles, discontentment, loneliness, discouragement, etc… Each of these are components and areas of our life that the enemy absolutely loves to throw in our face, and escalate them to an amount of attention that they were never meant to have. This is my issue. Today, sitting in a coffee shop finding myself over thinking a lot of things, I find my weakness. My weakness is ME. I have noticed, time and time again, that when I take these different topics of confusion, and put them on a pedestal in my mind, I go absolutely crazy. My mind can only handle so much of this real-life stuff. Stuff that I never had to worry about when I was in high school, and barely in college. These issues used to be so minor to me, because all I had in front of me was the present day, and what came with it. Now, that doesn’t mean I never thought about the future, but I certainly never gave it the amount of attention that I find myself giving it today. It’s so easy to focus in on my own little world, and the issues that are right smack in my face, staring me down telling me I can’t overcome them. As difficult as these issues are, I have noticed one thing in particular that always uplifts and helps me: I’m not alone. Your not alone. No one is alone. Now I don’t only mean in terms of Jesus Christ being with us, but also in terms of everyone around us. There are people everywhere, facing issues just like we are, questioning things just like we are, and searching for answers, truth and direction. Just a few minutes ago, I had a conversation with a guy in a coffee shop in his mad 20’s who is looking for a job, living with his parents, and just wanting answers and direction in his life. We instantly connected with the uncertainties of life, and had the opportunity to have an encouraging conversation with each other. People are in need everywhere. The question is, are we looking? Are we taking our eyes off of ourselves, and looking through the lenses of Jesus, searching and being intentional with every need around us? I am amazed, day in and day out, with the number of people and friends that I have that are just as confused as I am. And sometimes I think I’m the only one. Sometimes I think that I’m the only one who’s struggling. The truth is, I’m not, and you aren’t either. It helps so much, to take your eyes off of yourself, and focus on the needs of other. That is when your purpose and identity in Christ always comes to life. It encourages me to encourage others. I thank my dad for always reminding me of that. It ALWAYS benefits to help others. And it really puts things in perspective.
But back to “walking in the Spirit”. What does this mean for us? How do we walk with God during the confusion and blur of life? That phrase has stuck closely with me recently, as I have been praying and seeking God with my life. I know that the only way I can survive and full-fill my purpose in this life, is to walk with Christ, and seek out His purpose daily. I always go to God’s word, because it is the only thing that gives me direction, promise, and certainty. Everything else in this world is temporary, and it’s critical to trust in the everlasting truth when facing uncertainty. Promised truth will triumph over uncertainty. So, “walking in the Spirit”, how do we do it, and use it as a defense against this uncertain world?
We see this laid out in Galatians 5:16-26, when Paul is writing to the Galatians and speaking truth to these believers on what it looks like to truly walk in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. Paul compares the two opposite sides, of the flesh and the Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (16)”. The flesh.. Man-sometimes I just get tired of my flesh. I get tired of fighting my human desires and seeking victory of them. Romans 7 is a passage that I always go back to, when Paul talks about the battle there between the two. Lord Jesus, please teach me to walk in YOUR Spirit, and not the flesh. When we walk in the flesh, is when failure and SIN begins to lead and guide us, and not the Lord. When sin begins to lead us, and our desires are earthly and satisfying our flesh, the uncertainties of life will begin to be even more uncertain, and cause even more fear and anxiety. But when we walk in the Spirit, and abide in the fruits of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control-THEN we will begin to live a victorious and uplifting life, where the uncertainties begin to become exciting and purposeful, trusting in the journey that Christ has before us. On the other hand, when we walk in the flesh and trust the fleshly powers, such as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, etc, then we are setting ourselves up for FAILURE, and even death. Each of these are laid out in Galatians 5.
What a difficult and hard truth to swallow. I sin daily, and I suffer the consequences. The Spirit hates it when we sin, and He will always remind us of that through conviction. Isn’t that an awful feeling? Sinning intentionally leaves me grieved as a Christian, because I know I disobeyed the Lord and gratified my fleshly desires rather than the desires of the Spirit. But as Paul says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He will always deliver us from our flesh. We just have to choose and act upon the Spirit. Conviction may hurt, but it’s a blessing, because it reminds us that Jesus Christ Himself lives in us, and reminds us of our purpose every time we disobey Him. Yes, it’s a battle, but it’s a battle worth fighting.
I don’t know about you, but I want to receive victory in my life, and overcome these uncertainties. I want to walk into them with excitement, knowing that God has incredible things in store. I want to learn trust and faith that has no limits. Circumstances don’t define my Lord. He defines Himself. So what’s the take away here? How do we conquer and walk into these uncertainties and questions with confidence and excitement? WALK IN THE SPIRIT! Gratify His desires. Put His desires first, and watch what He does. Just let Him lead you. But you have to seek Him, and act according to Him. Make war against your flesh and discipline yourself to do whatever it takes to destroy the desires of the flesh. Seek accountability. Love His word. Pray intentionally. Live in Community. Reach out to others. Take your eyes off of yourself. And Walk in the Spirit. Let Him lead you. Don’t put your own expectations on your circumstances, but let his expectations lead you. Don’t let your ideal dominate your life. Don’t plan out your life, let Him. Don’t tell God what He can and cant do, where you can and cannot go. This is not about us, but HIM.
All of these things are what I’m currently preaching and teaching myself. It’s a hard truth, but I know it’s well worth it. I hope this encouraged and challenged you. Share it with others!
Lord..teach us to gratify and reflect your Spirit, full-filling Your purpose for our life!