What Does Galatians 5:16 Mean?

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

As believers, we are called to live in the Spirit, to pray in the Spirit, and to walk in spirit and truth. As Christians, we are called to live a spiritual life and not to be carnal; to bear the fruit of the Spirit and not to produce our own works of the flesh; to live under grace and not under law. As disciples, we are to walk by the Spirit for in so doing, we will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Scripture reminds us in many places that we can only walk by means of the Spirit when we place our lives under His full control. We can only walk in spirit and truth when we are led by the Holy Spirit of truth and guided by His Word of truth.

To live the spiritual life that God requires of all His children means that we should be willing to submit to His will and authority, in every situation we meet. In all our day-by-day dealings, we are to remain submissive to His leadings and obedient to His corrections, trusting His Word, listening to His voice, and depending on Him alone. We are not to rely on our own human abilities, actions, intuition, and strength, but only do those things that we hear from Him.

The spirit and the flesh work in opposition to each other. They lust against one another and are totally incompatible one with the other. Our regenerated human spirit and our old sinful fleshly nature will remain bitter enemies and in conflict with each other, throughout our earthly life. But through the resurrected life of Christ, we have been given the means to walk by the Spirit so that we will not carry out the desires of our old, sinful, fleshly nature.

Paul himself recognised this inner conflict that we all face, when he cried, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this dying body." He recognised the inner turmoil that he faced in the inner core of his being, but Paul knew that the answer to overcoming the lust of the flesh was found in Jesus Christ. He alone has given us the power to overcome the desires of the flesh and it is achieved as we walk in spirit and truth - in submission to the Holy Spirit of Christ.

The flesh refers to the old sin nature, 'the old man' that was crucified with Christ when we trusted Him as Saviour. We are to keep our fallen nature, that 'old man' nailed to the Cross and permanently disabled as we walk in spirit and truth. Only as we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit and depend on Him by grace through faith in Christ, are we able to walk by the Spirit and be enabled to live as God as intended us to live.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given me a regenerated human spirit, and the power to live my life in spirit and truth. I pray that, day by day, I may walk by means of the Spirit and submit to His leading and guiding. Help me to listen to His voice, submit to His will, and be obedient to His correction so that I will not succumb to the desires of the flesh but rather walk in newness of life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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