It is more difficult than ever to display Christlike behavior to an ever increasingly violent and volatile world. Yet, this is an opportunity for Christians to shine, because when we act the opposite of how the world acts, the more God gets the glory. But how do we do that? The best way is to walk in the Spirit.
When we ask Jesus to enter our lives, we are allowing the Holy Spirit access to our hearts and souls. Therefore, we are never alone. We can be assured that if we yield our lives to Him and lay down our plans in exchange for God’s, the Spirit is faithful in guiding us toward righteousness. As in any relationship, God’s Spirit in us needs attention and engagement in order to grow. We are called into “fellowship” with His Spirit.
But what does that even look like? Here are 10 ways to walk in the Spirit in today’s world:
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1. Walk in the Light
1 John 3:5-7 says, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
In order to have true fellowship with God and others, we need to walk in the light when it comes to our sin. We need to confess our sins to those whom we can trust will not gloss over sin’s severity, but also won’t condemn us as unbelievers if we choose to confide in them. Secrets merely keep us in bondage to Satan. Confessing our sins brings them out into the light, exposing them and allowing God to forgive us if we repent.
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2. Be in Community
Surrounding ourselves with seasoned Christians is one of the best ways to walk in the spirit. How can we access the Spirit if we don’t have people to remind us of His power? We learn by example. Even Jesus on earth could only do what He saw his Father doing (John 5:19). In the same way, as we go out into the world, walking among the lost as Christ modeled for us, go out in community with the believers around you. Whenever it is possible, seek out other believers who walk in the Spirit in order to learn and be encouraged to walk in step with Him too.
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3. Be Accountable
Not only do we need to confess our sins to each other, we have the power of others to help us prevent sin from even beginning. Become accountable with someone whom you trust who has walked the Christian walk and persevered. Immature Christians are not ideal accountability partners because they often use your sin as an excuse for condemnation and making assumptions, as well as an increase in a tendency to gossip. Find someone who you know can handle hearing about your temptations and give you sound advice as to how to avoid it altogether.
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4. Connect to the Savior
How can we walk each day with the Spirit if we are not connected to him daily? This Holy Spirit was given to us through Christ after He went to be with His Father. We can fail to recognize God’s work in our lives if we don’t connect with Him on a regular basis. In addition to the normal reading of the Word and time in prayer, try connecting through something new, like sitting in silence for five minutes a day or journaling the ways you have seen God work during the day. Thinking outside the box in your spiritual life can mean connecting with the Spirit in ways you have not yet imagined.
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5. Ask Him for Guidance
Did you know that Scripture exhorts us to continually ask for a filling of the Holy Spirit? At conversion, we received the Holy Spirit that dwells in our hearts. Yet, due to life’s day-to-day circumstances, we can be drained of our ability to walk in the Spirit when we rely on our own strength. Jesus often took time to go to solitary places to pray so He could constantly connect with his Father. We need to do the same. Therefore, we need to ask for a daily filling of the Spirit so we can abide in Him. If you’ve never done this, pray the following prayer: “Father, fill me with your Spirit. Help me to cling to the Spirit so that the words from my mouth and my actions will be in alignment with my will for your life. Amen.”
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6. Be the Light to the World
Light does not come from darkness, but it does illuminate the darkness. If I want to walk in the Spirit, I need to reflect the light that His presence in my life has given me. If I find myself giving way to dark thoughts, words, or actions, this means I am not walking in the Spirit. The light that does or does not come from me reveals whether Christ’s light is growing or dwindling in me.
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7. Love Your Neighbors
Mark 12:32 says, “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Although all Christians understand this is a command dictated in Scripture, nothing tests your ability to walk in the Spirit more than loving those who are tough to love. Anyone can love those who think, walk and talk like them. It is quite another matter to love those who get under our skin. Yet, it is an indication of walking in step with the Spirit when we can display love and grace to those we don’t think deserve it.
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8. Walk in His Revealed Will
Christians spend a great deal of time trying to work out God’s will, what he would have us do next, how the next big decision should be made, etc. To seek God’s will is a good thing. But oftentimes, what we are really asking for is a revelation that would make the next step in our lives easier, perhaps coming from a desire to save time and energy rather than knowing God in our obedience. Yes, there are times to fast and pray, and seek God’s answer to what only His Spirit can answer. But for a large portion of our daily walk, God has revealed in His word how we are to live.
As Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.” If you are struggling to move forward, unsure of what is right and wrong, trust that what His Spirit has revealed in Scripture is sufficient. So first, be obedient do what He has revealed to us in Scripture. What you are faithful to obey from His word, He will empower you to do through His Spirit.
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9. Say No to the Flesh
The antithesis of spirit living is to live by the desires of our flesh. The best way to walk in the Spirit is to put to death sinful desires. Satan has a way of twisting our thoughts and implanting doubts and fears that don’t belong there because they contradict the word of God. Anchor yourself in the word and rebuke the devil when those thoughts and doubts creep their way into our minds. If there is a visual temptation like lust, go one step further and remove the TV or other technological devices that will allow you to slip into temptation. Do whatever you need to do to safeguard yourself against sin so that walking with the Spirit becomes second nature to you.
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10. Strive to Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit
The best evidence of walking in the Spirit is the fruit you are cultivating. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If you noticed your works are laced with love, your attitude is more toward joy than anger, and you are kinder and gentler with others, you are walking in the Spirit. While we are all sinners and no one is perfect, Christians intentionally allow the Spirit to grow their lives into reflections of His presence.
Walking in the Spirit is not easy. Some days it can fell impossible. Yet that is just why God promised to send His Helper. We need His power desperately. Ask for His mercy and grace as you do your part to put away the desires of the flesh, renew your mind with the word of God and surround yourself with those who can walk with you in this journey. Ask for His Spirit, and He will draw near, pulling you in step with Him as His grace invites you deeper into living for His Kingdom.
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Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.
Originally published Thursday, 16 June 2022.