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Epistle of James

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Keep on Walking by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit suppresses the evil impulses of nature as the believer trusts Him to do so. As we cooperate with Him in the work of sanctification He enables us to be victorious in the Christian life.

It is the responsibility of every true believer to submit his life to the control of the Holy Spirit.

In the context of a church biting, devouring, and destroying Christian fellowship, the apostle Paul admonished Christians to “walk by the spirit.”  Conduct yourself under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.  Let the inward impulses of the Holy Spirit continue to control your behavior.

The Spirit is the source of all good and gracious impulses in your life.  He works within the believer enabling with sanctifying power. The Spirit gives us wisdom and direction and by His help and power we live and overcome the inevitable temptations, sorrows and joys in life. 

The present tense of the verb “to walk” (peripateite) indicates a continuing condition or need.  Paul is encouraging the believers to keep on doing what they have been doing, i.e., “Keep on walking by the Spirit.”  Keep in step; don’t fall out now.

It is the responsibility of the Christian to make the Holy Spirit the rule of his life.  Live continually in and by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let the Spirit always continue to direct your life, and when He is guiding your life “you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

How does the Christian fulfill the “righteousness of the law” without becoming a legalists?  Romans 8:4 tells us “walk after the Spirit.” "So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:4).

Instead of biting, devouring, and consuming one another, which is the result of fulfilling the desire of the flesh, let the Holy Spirit produce His kind of righteousness in your life.

As a believer “keep on walking” through life depending on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God for His guidance and power.

The emphasis the apostle Paul is making is this submission to the Holy Spirit is the responsibility of the individual. The Holy Spirit does not operate automatically in the Christian.  We do not become robots when we believe on Christ.  However, as the Christian does yield to the Spirit’s control, the promise is that he emphatically will not (ou me) carry out the desires of the flesh.  Paul uses a strong double negative to reinforce this great truth.  The Holy Spirit wants us to be obedient and when we do obey Him we overcome these evil desires (vv. 19-21).

This great Biblical truth frees us from going to the extremes of liberty as license and lordship as legalism.  True Christianity is neither license nor legalism.  We have been set free to live Christ. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.  Therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery” (5:1).  The Holy Spirit frees us to live in that spiritual freedom.  He frees us from the penalty and power of sin and will one day free us from the presence of sin.

The Bible teaches us that the human body is not sinful; it is neutral.  However, when the Holy Spirit is in control of the body, we live in a manner that pleases God.  It is when the Holy Spirit is not in control that we live in a way that fulfills the desires of the flesh--the old nature with its sinful behavior.

We cannot win the spiritual victory by our own personal strength or will power.  Once you let the Holy Spirit guide you, “then you will never satisfy the passions of the flesh.”  The promise is realized in those who continually walk or live by the Spirit.  Those who walk by the Spirit will definitely not (emphatic) fulfill the desires of the flesh.  This is the only assurance that we will not yield to the power within us that leads to sinful behavior.  You will always know who or what is in control by the works (vv. 19-21), or the fruit (v. 22-25).


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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