If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Gal. 5:25)
Who is in charge of your life? Are you following the desires of your flesh and the pressures of this world? Or are you being led by the Spirit?
Living by faith through the Spirit and putting your sin to death are two sides of the same coin. But one drives the other. As you live according to the Spirit’s strength and direction, God gives you the power to put to death the sinful desires of your flesh.
When you were born again, the Holy Spirit took up residence in you. He gives you life. So we “live by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Since we live by the Spirit, we need to follow his lead. Walking by the Spirit, as the verse goes on to instruct us, pictures walking in a row or marching in a line. Think about a soldier marching in step as his sergeant barks out orders. The cadence of the sergeant’s orders bellow out (“Step . . . step . . . step . . . step . . . step . . . step”), and the soldier’s every step is in accordance with his directions. The soldier stays in the formation, and all he needs to do is obey the sergeant’s instructions. The NIV appropriately translates this as “Let us keep in step with the Spirit.”1 The Spirit leads, and all you need to do is follow his lead.
But you don’t do this by yourself. The apostle Paul is not barking out orders to you while watching from a safe, smug distance. He is marching in the same formation. Paul says, “Let us walk by the Spirit.” He includes himself. You’re not alone. In fact, in this line is a host of other believers fighting the same battle and marching in step with you.
We can walk in obedience if we let the Spirit lead. Do you believe that that’s true? Or have you given in to your sinful nature so often that you’ve given up hope? Consistent victory over the flesh is possible, but it comes only from the Spirit’s lead. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
Who is setting the agenda for your life—your sinful flesh, or the Spirit? Be honest. When you wake up in the morning, how self-reliant are you? Do you walk into the day with your game plan, your desires, your dreams, your goals, your expectations, and your schemes charting the course? Or do you turn to God and say, “Lord God, I need your help”; “Holy Spirit, come and lead the way”; “I can’t do this on my own—only you can”? When’s the last time these phrases came out of your mouth? Do you pray these kinds of prayers in humility, pleading for the Spirit to direct your life?
Don’t wait any longer. Give up your own schemes and follow the Spirit’s lead in your life. You can’t defeat this problem through your own power; it can only be done through the Holy Spirit’s strength.
—Deepak Reju, Pornography, Fighting for Purity