4.7  Walk by the Spirit

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Galatians 5:25

"If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit" 

What is Walking by the Spirit?

What does the Bible mean by the phrase "walk by the Spirit"?  Does it mean keeping the Ten Commandments? Are we supposed to do what Jesus did? Or, is it  a mystic walk in the clouds? 

Does it have anything to do with prayer? Does it really have anything to do with any kind of "Spirit" or is it just an adherence to a moral code?

If I were to ask you to walk by the Spirit right now, what would you do?

Seriously, what would you do?

Please take a few moments to ponder on that...

What would you do right now?


Scriptures About Walking by the Spirit:

  • The apostle Paul wrote, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). 

  • Paul also wrote, "If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).

These are the only two places in the Bible where the phrase "walk by the Spirit" occurs. The first passage shows that if we "walk by the Spirit" we will not sin. So, walking by the Spirit results in obedience.

Now read the second passage. To "live by the Spirit" is a given for the believer. To "walk by the Spirit" is not. In other words, we have life by the Holy Spirit. But we don't always obey the Spirit. In subchapter 3.5, we learned that the Holy Spirit regenerates, and gives life (John 3:5-6, Romans 8:11). In that way, we "live by the Spirit". Lets look at another passage that talks about obeying the Spirit.

  • "Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice, don't harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:7-8).

This passage tells us to obey when we hear the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:14 says:

  • "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God" (Romans 8:14).

Every child of God is led by the Spirit of God. You may not be an apostle. You may not be a preacher or teacher. But if you are a child of God, you are led by the Spirit of God. Will you obey when the Spirit leads you? When you obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, you are walking by the Spirit. When you don't obey the Holy Spirit, you aren't walking by the Spirit. 

So, how do we walk by the Spirit?

To walk by the Spirit, we obey the Spirit when we hear the Spirit.

And, how do we do that? By prayer.  

We Walk by the Spirit Through Prayer: 

We walk by the Spirit through prayer. But not just any prayer. God does not honor requests that are contrary to His will. We walk by the Spirit by praying the Endorsed Prayers. The Endorsed Prayers are prayers that Christ, the apostles and prophets prayed or instructed us to pray. So, the Endorsed Prayers are scriptural prayers. It is by SCRIPTURAL PRAYER, that we walk by the Spirit.

To understand what I am saying, we will build on the previous subchapters about the Holy Spirit and Endorsed Prayer. We will see how both hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit are the result of prayer... the Endorsed Prayers... scriptural prayers.

  • We hear the Holy Spirit by prayer. 
  • We obey the Holy Spirit by prayer.

 The remainder of this subchapter will focus on those two truths.

This is so important that I will repeat it:

  • We hear the Holy Spirit by prayer.
  • We obey the Holy Spirit by prayer.

For example, in Colossians 1:9 Paul prays that the Colossians will be filled with the knowledge of God's will. So, we receive knowledge of God's will by prayer. In other words, we hear the Holy Spirit by prayer. In 2 Corinthians 13:7 Paul wrote "I pray to God that you do no evil." So, obedience comes by prayer as well. 

The section below will focus on hearing the Holy Spirit by prayer. The next section below that will focus on obeying the Holy Spirit by prayer. You will see that both hearing and obeying the Spirit through prayer has been proved from the express statements of the scriptures, in great detail. 

  • We hear the Holy Spirit by prayer.
  • We obey the Holy Spirit by prayer.

Are you ready to learn how to hear the Holy Spirit by prayer? Then please read the next section below. I have prayed that you will keep reading.

Hearing the Spirit through the Endorsed Prayers

We receive understanding by His power when we ask for it in prayer. Subchapter 4.2 presented Endorsed Prayers regarding spiritual communication. These Endorsed Prayers included prayers asking for knowledge of God's will, enlightened eyesight, revelation and wisdom. We even ask God to give us the words for presenting the Gospel (Endorsed Prayer 4.2b). When you read subchapter 4.2, you read each of these prayers from the scriptures. 

Subchapter 3.3 was about Spiritual Communication from the Holy Spirit. In that subchapter we saw that the Holy Spirit preaches, teaches, reminds us of scripture, leads and warns.

In subchapter 3.4 we saw that the Holy Spirit gives us the power to comprehend.

Here is what is happening: We ask God for guidance through prayer. Then the Holy Spirit provides guidance through Spiritual Communication. The Holy Spirit also gives us the power to comprehend. So, we hear the Spirit by His power and through prayer.

Remember the Endorsed Prayer for wisdom from James 1:5-7:

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. 7 For that man shouldn't think that he will receive anything from the Lord."

If we doubt, we shouldn't expect to "receive anything from the Lord." So, if we believe that God will grant guidance through our prayer, He will. If we don't, He won't. Hearing the guidance of the Spirit is a result of faith. Remember, hearing the Spirit is half of walking by the Spirit. And since hearing the Spirit is a result of faith, walking by the Spirit is also a result of faith. If we doubt, we can't walk by the Spirit. If we trust, we will walk by the Spirit. If we lack faith, we should ask God to multiply our faith. I asked God to multiply my faith every day for three years. My faith grew, and grew and grew.

Lets review:

Both hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit are the result of prayer.

  • We hear the Holy Spirit by prayer.  
  • We obey the Holy Spirit by prayer.

We have just seen how hearing the Holy Spirit is a result of praying the Endorsed Prayers. Now we will explore the second half of walking by the Spirit. In the second half of walking by the Spirit, we obey the Holy Spirit by prayer. This will be proven by the scriptures below.

Obeying the Spirit through the Endorsed Prayers

We receive obedience by His power when we ask for it in prayer. Here is one example, the Endorsed Prayer for Obedience: 

  • "Now I pray to God that you do no evil" (1 Corinthians 13:7).

So, obedience comes from God as He works obedience in us as we ask for obedience in prayer (micro-subchapter 4.3f). 

Our ability to love is granted by God as we ask for it in prayer:

  • "This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more" (Philippians 4:9, subchapter 4.3e).

Faith that does not fail comes by prayer:

  • "I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn't fail" (Luke 22:32, subchapter 4.3a).

So, the power to love and trust comes from God, through prayer.

Other Endorsed Prayers from subchapter 4.3 included prayers for power and strength in addition to the prayers for obedience, love and faith. The Holy Spirit provides power to hope and persevere (subchapter 3.4). To persevere is to flourish in power, strength, faith, love and obedience.

In other words, we receive the power to love and trust through prayer. The power to love and trust comes through the Holy Spirit. There is only one commandment in the New Covenant. Faith and love is Jesus' commandment (1 John 3:23).

  • "This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded."

The commandment appears to be two-fold: Belief and love. But notice that the word commandment is singular. All obedience and every New Testament instruction hangs on that one commandment. The commandment is singular because it is loving faith. Loving faith is one thing, not two. Since we receive the power to love and trust through prayer and by the power of the Holy Spirit, it is by prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit that we obey Jesus' only commandment.

In other words, we "walk by the Spirit" by prayer. It is something that we ask for. Walking by the Spirit is something that we receive by praying the Endorsed Prayers.

Click here to learn the Endorsed Prayers.

Obeying the Great Commission through Prayer

One of the most spiritually interactive periods of walking by the Spirit is when we are used by God to make disciples. We can also walk by the Spirit as we hammer nails, but hammering nails doesn't involve as much spiritual interaction as making disciples. We make disciples by His power when we pray the Endorsed Disciple Making Prayers and repeat the words of our Father. The Endorsed Prayers for Making Disciples include prayers for unity, sending workers into the harvest, opening doors for the word, spreading God's word and words for witnessing (chapter 4.4).

Yes, scripture says that God will give you words for witnessing when you ask for them in prayer (Ephesians 6:18-19). 

The Holy Spirit provides power to witness (chapter 3.4).

The Holy Spirit prophesies, preaches, speaks through us, provides words for witnessing, testifies, convicts unbelievers of sin and reminds us of scripture (subchapter 3.3). The Holy Spirit also regenerates, renews, sanctifies, gives life and seals (subchapter 3.5).

So, we ask God to do the work of disciple making by praying the Endorsed Prayers. Then the Holy Spirit does the work. That is why Christ said that His yoke was easy (Matthew 11:30). His yoke is to make disciples. This is explained in subchapter 2.3 titled, "The Easy Yoke of Christ".

Concluding Remarks

One of the major turning points in my life was when I realized that I couldn't live a life of faith and love in my own power. Scriptural prayer is key to the abundant life. The apostles would not have asked God to increase their faith and love if it wasn't necessary to ask.

So, it is by the transformative work of His power within us that we hear and obey. He deserves all the glory and praise when we "walk by the Spirit".

Walking by the Spirit is an intimate focus on the person of God. It is not living by a moral code. It is very different from living by the Ten Commandments. For those of you who would like a deeper study on the New Covenant of the Spirit verses the Old Covenant of Law, go to the appendix and read "After Pentecost: From the Law to the Spirit." This is an analytical examination of critical texts that form the scriptural transition from serving through rules in the Old Covenant to serving by the Spirit in the New covenant. 

Fellowship with God is a two way conversation in the spiritual realm, as we Follow Christ, bearing His yoke in the world. Man's side of this conversation is prayer. God's side of this conversation is communication through scripture and the Holy Spirit.

Walking by the Spirit was made possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant. A number of different phrases are used in the Bible to describe this state of "walking by the Spirit". Walking by the Spirit is the same experience as "Fellowship with God", abiding in Christ or remaining in Christ (John 15:7). It is the same thing as following Christ (Revelation 14:4) or walking in the light (1 John 1:7). We "walk in the Spirit" when we PRAY scripture, follow the Sixth Path or PASS the faith. PASS the faith is described in a later subchapter. All of this book is essentially about walking in the Spirit.

In the Old Covenant, "walking with God" was the experience most similar to "walking by the Spirit" (Micah 6:8). But the active spiritual interaction of the indwelling Holy Spirit was not present in the Old Covenant "walk with God".

All Christians can "walk by the Spirit". But Christians don't always "walk by the Spirit".

The Endorsed Prayers are a critical part of walking by the Spirit. The next subchapter will provide an easy way to experience and remember the Endorsed Prayers.

2007: A Turning Point

My wife, son and daughter were sitting in church one Sunday. It was a large church with an unusually gifted preacher and excellent worship team. It was not the same church that we serve in now. My spirit was refreshed and empowered as we sang together. In each song I was not singing about God. I was singing directly to Him.

But my daughter was looking bored during the service and asked me if she could go to a different church for Sunday worship. While she loved the youth group and mission trips at our church, many of her friends were going to a small church that had a professional touring band as the worship team. She said, "they have concerts on Friday nights and lots of kids go there". The church met in a retail center just about one mile from our home. 

I thought a moment and said, "Ok, you can go next Sunday but you still have to join us for lunch after church." It was important for our family to have direct interaction with each other. Everyone was busy. If we didn't see each other at meal time, we wouldn't see each other. I didn't want my adult family to be anything like my childhood family. So, we generally required our kids to eat dinner at home with us. 

So, on the next Sunday, Audrey went to that church and joined us for lunch afterwards. All through lunch, she kept telling us all about what the preacher said. She had never done that before. As I heard her repeat the sermon I realized "This preacher is helping me. He is helping me because he is helping my daughter." His name was Andy. Andy's church was of a denomination that I had never heard of and knew nothing about.

The next Sunday Audrey made the same request. She wanted to go to Andy's church. I said "yes". Audrey went to that church again and the rest of us went to our church. After church we met for lunch and the same thing happened. Audrey told us everything that Andy said. I was amazed. 

This went on for a month. Audrey went to her church and we went to our church with us getting together after church for lunch. Every Sunday Audrey told us everything that the pastor had said. Then I said to her, "I guess we will all go to your church next Sunday. My daughter is going to a church that I have never been to or heard of. As your father I need to be better informed. I need to go myself." I was tenacious about protecting my daughter. I didn't want her to experience what my sister had suffered. 

So, the next Sunday all four of us went to Audrey's church. It was small, lively and emotional. There was something in the preacher's messages that I couldn't really grasp... something not expressly stated. I always looked beneath the surface... for the message that was in between the lines. We went to that little church for two years. Every Sunday I had the same experience. There was something that I heard through Andy that was calling me. But I couldn't identify it. 

Then, after about two years I understood. Andy was living by the Spirit. I was living by rules. I realized that, somehow, after college I had drifted from living by the Spirit. My spiritual life had drifted towards living by rules. Why I did that I still don't know. I don't remember deciding that it was better to live by rules instead of living by the Spirit. Living by a moral code had not worked for my parents. Living by rules didn't give them the power they needed to bear the heavy burdens of their lives. But somehow I was following in my parents footsteps. Maybe we absorb more from our parents than we think.  

That was one of the major turning points in my life. I began to ask God to draw me back into the life of walking by the Spirit. Why God chose to draw my daughter and I into walking by the Spirit through Andy, I don't know. There were plenty of people who practiced that life in the large church we were attending previously. As with Job, God chooses experiences for us and doesn't necessarily explain why. He doesn't owe us an explanation. He is God. Micro-subchapter 4.5a on the Endorsed Prayer of Sovereignty explains that idea in a little more detail.

Are You Ready to Walk by the Spirit?

If you have not yet read the introduction to this book, then that is the place to start. A whole new world will open up to you. You will learn intricate details of walking by the Spirit, directly from the scriptures. If you have learned the futility of trying to follow God by living by rules, as taught by legalists, it is time to learn to interact with the Holy Spirit, according to scripture. Now is your chance to stop living by the Old Covenant of Law and begin living by the New Covenant of the Spirit, which began at Pentecost in 33 AD.  Click here now to open the introduction to this book and begin living life in the Spirit!

Group Discussion Questions

Please prayerfully answer the following questions. 

1) Does walking by the Spirit have anything to do with a Spirit?

2) How do we walk by the Spirit? See the section titled "Scriptures about Walking by the Spirit."

3) What does prayer have to do with walking by the Spirit?  See the section titled "We Walk by the Spirit by Prayer."

4) How do we hear the Holy Spirit?   See the section titled "Hearing the Spirit through the Endorsed Prayers."

5) How do we obey the Holy Spirit? See the section titled  " Obeying the Spirit through the Endorsed Prayers." 

6) What does the Great Commission have to do with walking by the spirit?


The apostle Paul also wrote, "If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit." 
Galatians 5:25

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