As a stay-at-home mom I often wonder how to live out my faith, especially within the walls of my apartment.
When away from the workplace and church, what makes me a Christian? How do I follow Jesus and glorify God?
In addition to discipling my daughter and son, I can walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8
Setting our focus on the Spirit allows us to please God, and shows we are of God. Yet there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the Holy Spirit, especially in church culture today.
Who is this mysterious third Person of the Trinity? We know He helps every believer in Christ, but how exactly?
The Holy Spirit’s Work
Some church circles emphasize spiritual gifts (a topic we won’t dig into in this post) with regard to the Holy Spirit, but in doing so miss out on His most critical role to sanctify, or set the Christian apart in newness of life.
Walking by the Spirit is more than gifts, it’s walking like Christ, who submitted to the Spirit every second of His life.
This Spirit was poured into us upon knowing Jesus as our Lord (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit halts the workings of the flesh – or our sinful tendencies – and produces righteousness instead. What a blessing!
We prove to be a disciple and to have the Holy Spirit by producing spiritual fruit. This is obedience to God’s Word and will.
As renown pastor Charles Spurgeon said, “Obedience is faith incarnate.”
In other words, our belief in the cross comes alive when we live by the Spirit of God instead of in sin. As the Spirit works in us we represent a changed life, one driven by Christ’s love.
1. Grow the Fruit of the Spirit
You may know this “spiritual fruit” as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, which are a collective set of virtues that reflect a soul born again in Christ. Jesus carried all these fruit like “a bouquet,” and we can too!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25
We’re going to study these fruit more, but spiritual fruit goes beyond these beautiful qualities. It’s a renewed way of living.
What are other “fruits” of our salvation?
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:15
3. Deference to Others
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 12:9-11
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:4-7
4. Repentance (Turning Away from Sin)
“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8
5. Leading Others to Christ
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15
All these workings of faith are made possible only by the power of God within us, the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit that led Christ our Savior.
Isn’t it amazing how truly interconnected and inseparable the Trinity is? As Colossians 2:6 says, we are to “walk in Him.”
What the Holy Spirit Uses
If we’re ever wondering how to walk by the Spirit, we simply look to Christ—who perfectly separated Himself from sin, perfectly followed the will of the Father, perfectly laid Himself down for others, perfectly walked in the truth, and perfectly obeyed God’s Law out of love for His Father.
But the catch is, we only know and walk like Christ as much as we know His Word. The Bible is how He shares Himself with us.
For example, here are Spirit-led statements from Christ which we ourselves can emulate. His ultimate goal was to serve God the Father:
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:34
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me.” John 5:30
“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of Him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” John 7:18
“And He who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:29
So in order to walk by the Spirit, we have to know the Scriptures and let them dominate our mind. We cannot manipulate our circumstances or our actions merely on our own willpower, but we can give the Spirit room to work when we meditate on His Word.
With all this said, let’s return to the classic fruit we see in Galatians 5. Below I’ve included questions to examine your life, and thus walk by the Spirit. Reflect on how each of these virtues can impact your relationships and view of your current situation.
Keep in mind that by no means have I arrived, or you – we won’t until heaven! These are concepts and Scriptures to challenge our hearts daily and to pray, that we may embody our faith and express it to those around us.
Even when we fail in these areas, we can rejoice that conviction is there and go to Christ for grace, desiring to move forward. Remember, Jesus is our primary model of all of these.
If we’re struggling with these, we can search and soak in His Word to rework our hearts. We can always look to His life, death, and resurrection – the Gospel story – to see all the fruit in action.
Love – Do you love others freely, extensively, and sacrificially, as Christ loved you? Tip: Memorize 1 Corinthians 13!
Joy – Do you find delight in Christ and His work even when your day doesn’t go as planned, or your circumstances are less than ideal? Do you celebrate God’s sovereignty and your salvation? Memorize Psalm 16.
Peace – Do you have confidence in the Lord? Are you secure that His will is best and at rest knowing He’s with you and yours for eternity? Memorize Isaiah 26:3.
Patience – Do you wait for God to work or insist your own way? Do you trust Him even in the middle of a rough season? Do you give grace toward others because you know your own sin grieves Him? Memorize Psalm 37:5-7:
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
Kindness – Do you seek ways to gladden other’s hearts, to point them to God’s beauty and glory? Do you choose to extend respect even when they don’t return the favor? Memorize Ephesians 4:32 and Proverbs 31:26.
Goodness – Do you work with integrity? Do God’s commandments direct your steps? Do you seek to please Him above anyone else? Does God’s goodness motivate you? Memorize Ephesians 2:10.
Faithfulness – Do you fulfill your responsibilities, and with excellence? Do you seek to honor God even when you fail? Do you remain loyal to your husband, parents, etc. and to your God in times of pressure or temptation? Memorize Matthew 25:21:
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Gentleness – Do you quiet pride and stubbornness, and instead seek to be meek? Does your presence exalt God instead of yourself? Memorize 1 Peter 3:4.
Self-Control – Do you say no to worldly passions or cravings? Do you tame your tongue? Memorize 1 Corinthians 9:25 and 2 Timothy 1:7:
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
This list may seem intimidating, but it’s wonderful to consider what a incredible life God has called us to. Through Christ, He’s awakened us to our sin, to the dark instincts we so often follow, and instead offered us a better way—the best way! It’s the way of holiness and love, and true life!
As we pursue and practice these fruit, we show what a miracle He’s done in our heart, and it’s sure to bless Him and others.
We have a new King, and we live for a new Kingdom. Let’s show it as women of His Word, as women who walk by the Spirit.
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Much of this post was inspired by sermons by Pastor John MacArthur at Grace Community Church.