"Walk by the Spirit," Christianese say what?

Maybe you have heard the term “walk by the spirit” but aren’t quite sure what that means.  Perhaps it’s even considered “Christian slang” or christianese, which is a pun referring to casual language that Christians use when they are talking with one another about their faith.  If you are a new Christian or just checking things out, you probably aren’t to familiar with the phrase and perhaps struggle with the Bible relating to your life.  No worries my friend, being a Christian is a process of continually being transformed into the likeness of God.  Let’s break this phrase down.


The Holy Spirit is God’s spirit.  When we make the decision that Jesus died for our sins and believe He is our Savior, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell/live on the inside of us.  When Jesus was here on earth, he told His disciples in John 16:7-8, “I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].”  God uses His Holy Spirit to guide us in our daily living, making us more like Him.


We all know what it means to walk: put one foot in front of the other repeatedly and boom we are walking.  Regardless of where we physically walk, on the inside, we carry a private thought life that no one is privy to except us and God. When the Holy Spirit “dwells”  inside of us, we carry Him along inside our minds and hearts and this is how He guides us.  If we let Him, the spirit of God will guide each and every thought you and I have.

Even after the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us,  our carnal flesh and sinful nature remains right there next to the Spirit and wants to resist anything spiritual.  The Spirit (the renewed part of our minds and hearts) battles against the desires of our flesh. Even in a renewed mind, there is still a struggle between our old nature and our new nature, the remnants of sin and the beginnings of grace will be a constant struggle.  For this reason, it is important to know how to “walk by the spirit.”


Galatians 5:16-24 shows us what it looks like to walk by the flesh vs. walking by the Spirit:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

“Walking by the spirit” means in our daily lives, the places, the people, our particular life situations, we CHOOSE to listen and act out the character of the Holy Spirit and resist our flesh.

  • LOVE when it is easier to be angry and hold a grudge
  • Choose to feel JOY when circumstances look grim
  • Be at PEACE even in the face of calamity
  • Show PATIENCE in a world that cultivates instant gratification
  • Be KIND and prayerful towards your enemies
  • Choose to be GOOD even if you are standing alone
  • Be FAITHFUL becoming a person of trust and integrity
  • Choose to be GENTLE throwing away judgement and over bearing weight
  • Have SELF-CONTROL crucifying any passion that does not glorify God

I wish I could say in every situation, I choose to listen to God’s spirit.  Sometimes my selfish flesh wins and I become disappointed in something I have said, done, or thought.  God’s Word encourages us to pray about every situation and present our requests to Him (Philippians 4:6). He wants us to be more like Him and I believe He has no problem answering prayers that request more of His Spirit in our lives.  


Father in heaven, I ask that you help every reader walk by your Spirit.  I pray that you are renewing their minds and hearts.  Healing any hurts that would hold them back from acting in the character of your spirit.  I pray that you would show them your peace  and joy, filling their hearts with your ever constant love. I pray Lord that you would show them how to act wisely toward those who do not know you.  Show them how to make the most of every opportunity, letting their conversations always be full of grace.