“But I say, WALK and LIVE [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the spirit]” (Galatians 5:16)
“If we LIVE by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also WALK by the Spirit [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward WALKING in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit]” (Galatians 5:25–Amplified Bible; bracketed words by Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible: A Commentary).
The word “walk” [capitalized for emphasis] in Galatians 5:16, in the Greek language is “peripateo” meaning, “to walk with a purpose in view”.
The word “walk” in Galatians 5:25, in the Greek, is a different word; “stoicheo” meaning, “step by step, one step at a time”. It becomes a learning process under construction of another person; that person is the Holy Spirit.
IN THE CITIES
Have you ever visited a large thriving city for the first time and noticed all the new construction going on? You will see the construction in different phases of construction most likely; a ‘parking garage’ an office building, a hotel. Maybe just the foundation is in view, or the steel framing going up, or maybe a crane on the top of the framed building placing steel girders in place by heavy cables and ‘ant-like’ steeple jacks busy working at dizzying heights above the streets.
When re-birth of your spirit-man happened; your “born-again” experience, the Holy Spirit dwelt in you as a new believer and the construction process began. When the foundation of Jesus Christ was laid, the Holy Spirit became the ‘construction foreman’ so-to-speak, while you begin walking under His control, His guidance, His leading.
LEARNING HOW TO WALK IN CONTROL
#1. Study God’s WORD!
Paul is speaking to Timothy, trying to encourage and strengthen him for the great task ahead:
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Paul continues the thought:
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and throughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).
That’s good practical instruction given, on how to become “spiritually mature” believer. Maturity is NOT done by osmosis; it’s applying God’s Word to everyday circumstances. It’s “walking” with a purpose, “step by step in WORD application, to grow spirituality.
SHOULD “SPIRITUAL MATURITY” BE A PRIORITY TO A CHRISTIAN?
“For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! But solid food is for full-grown men [and women], for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law” (Hebrews 5:13, 14–Amplified Bible translation).
The writer of Hebrews is saying, as a believer in Jesus, your are not to be “milk-fed”, but to chew on the “meat” of God’s Word. Then, to apply the sustenance to your life by walking in the Holy Spirit. That’s GOOD STUFF to chew on!
UNDERSTANDING THE WALK-LIVING IN CHRIST
Growth comes by God’s Grace alone; He is your resource. The apostle Peter gives you a reminder:
“For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers of the divine nature. For this very reason, adding your diligence, imply every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising-in ‘walking’]virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising-in ‘walking’] knowledge [develop] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising-in ‘walking’] steadfastness [develop godliness, And in [exercising-in ‘walking’] godliness (piety) [develop] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For whoever lacks these qualities [immaturity–my add; not the Amplified Bible] is blind, [spiritually] short-sighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:3-9–Amplified Bible translation).
When you are “walking with a purpose”, you are “exercising”! And with your “exercising”, you develop!
When you became a ‘new-born’ believer, a child, you were given ALL you need “in Christ” to make you a ‘spiritually believing’ Christian. But with that, there comes with it a “responsibility” to make a choice. Will you choose to use and apply God’s principles to your life?
Something wonderful happens in the process; you will be changed! He will conform you to the image of His Son, humbly surrendering to His Holy Spirit and learning His Word!
“Now may the God of peace [Who is the Author and the Giver of peace], Who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepard of the sheep, by the blood [that sealed, ratified] the everlasting agreement (covenant, testament), Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of ages). AMEN” (Hebrews 13:20, 21).
Many Christians today are believing that they are already ‘spiritually mature’ and they may be in some trouble. None of us is mature in the faith as we ought to be; at least not measured by the standard of Jesus.
I like the Amplified Bible’s translation of a verse in the Letter to the Philippians; an open letter to the church:
“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death” (Philippians 3:10).
Paul is calling his ‘maturity’; “progressive“–that ‘step by step’ process in building relationship. Relationship was Paul’s number one priority as a believer. but for many Christians, ‘spiritual maturity’ is elusive. Something they know they should aim for but have no idea how to get there–to achieve it.
PART TWO, I will continue with the “Signs of Maturity” in “Walking with a Purpose”.