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Chapter 11 - Learning how to Walk
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. - Galatians 5:25
Most parents observe their children learning how to walk around the age of one. Driven by the motive to reach a destination, the physical skills are exercised and the experience accumulated for the child to learn how to get where he wants.
Most of us become so accustom to going where we want that it is reflexive. A person that wants an education goes to school. The person that wants money gets a job. The person that wants companionship gets married. The things we have to do to get us from point A to point B define our 'walk'. Without the Lord our motives for going through life follow the desires of the flesh.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, - Ephesians 4:17
The motives and purposes of the unregenerate mind influenced by the flesh is called 'vanity' or emptiness. A different 'walk' requires something else in mind than vanity. This is where the 'renewal' of the mind comes into play.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. - Romans 6:4
The newness of life and the renewal of our mind create new destinations for our walk. For example, walking in the flesh often places an emphasis on ends or objectives. The renewed mind begins to see how something is done (means) also as important as where one is going (ends). The fleshly mind might not see any reason to restrain acting on lusts and desires. The renewed mind may take in a broader understanding of consequence and a greater sensitivity to harm caused to others.
SO, SINCE Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills. - 1 Peter 4:1-2 AMP
Like a child whose initial stumbling gains him the experience upon which bolder steps are taken, the Christian who attempts to walk by the Spirit may find he also stumbles. However, each attempt builds a foundation from which more steady progress can be made.
There was a dating reality TV show where a young man said that he wanted to refrain from fornication and keep himself pure for marriage. The other contestants could not contain their contempt and mockery of him because in their mind the act of denying whatever pleasure one could experience was the height of foolishness. This is an example of how completely alien the mind of a Christian is from those in the flesh.
We should consider the example of casual fornication that the world seems to consider as having value. The mind of the flesh is not able to see value beyond immediate sensations. Having a renewed mind can perceive the value of chastity because it is the foundation from which real true intimacy grows between a husband and wife giving a marriage the strength to survive a lifetime. Being able to see the value of this helps the Christian walking by the Spirit to consider casual fornication not only as valueless, but as destructive to the life he would have for himself.
God has provided all sorts of assistance to one who would walk by the Spirit.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. - James 1:5
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. - Psalm 119:9
We see that God is the source of wisdom. We can also see that immersion in Godís word cleanses and guides us. It is recommended that oneís first attempts to walk by the Spirit begin with continuing prayer for wisdom and a hunger to know God through his word.
An additional prerequisite to walking by the Spirit is clarifying oneís faith. Many of us think that believing in Jesus is a simple matter of acknowledging he once existed.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. - James 2:19
Faith might better be considered as trusting more that believing.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. - Proverbs 3:5-6
The Lord provides guidance in the path we walk. Like an infant that holds on to his parentís finger as he takes his first steps, our Christian walk needs to be taken with just such trusting dependence on our heavenly father.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. - Psalm 143:8
Unlike a child, we never reach a point where we are independent from the reliance on our father for our walk. A 'step' in our spiritual walk is pretty much anything we think to do or say. Our words and actions should be selected for how well they serve the purposes of God as opposed to how well they serve selfish interests.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. - Romans 6:13
God shows us what steps to take through a process of resonance. The closer we come to him, the more certain we are of what he desires for us. We can come closer through knowledge we gain through his word, fervent prayer, humility, and crying out for wisdom.
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? - Luke 24:32
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