discerning the spirits, encouragement, experience, faith, following Jesus, gospel, grace, knowing God, sanctification, T.A. Sparks, the heavenlies, thought life, walking after the flesh, walking by the spirit
It was only yesterday in the evening as I was occupied with tidying up the living room when I asked myself this question, “When should I walk in the Spirit?” to which God’s immediate response was, “Now!” Honestly, that gave me a pause. 🙄 Although I recalled having prayed quick prayers when I was busy with similar mundane activities before, I rather thought about walking by the spirit whenever I was confronted with decisions of any kind as to what and how to do something. That means in particular, when I left the house I asked God about leading me. When I had to write emails or to do some phone calls, I asked Him to show me what to say and to give me His wisdom in all things. And I really thought that was enough. But no, it was not!
What I have been learning since yesterday is the simple fact that walking by the spirit is not about doing this or that according to His will only. Instead, it is about changing our whole perspective, or even more, about leaving this earthly realm with its worries, sorrows, fears, and reasonings by focusing on Him who already lives in the heavenlies. Hmm… Makes sense, I thought, but how can I do this when I am already distracted and burdened, too weak or too tired to pray to Him until I finally get there? 🙄
Two thoughts just came to my mind. The first one was a line from a pop song by Yazz. I cannot say I liked that song, nor could I remember the lyrics except for the refrain that says, “The only way is up”, a line I keep hearing continuously in my mind like an ear-worm. Have you noticed that we never get that far when we try to solve our problems on a mere horizontal level by thinking what we always thought and doing what our old habits tell us to? That does not mean we cannot solve problems at all, however, if we want to have some divine input we need to get off the beaten track.
The second thought was a Scripture I was reminded of that reads,
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Gal 5:25 ESV)
It seems to me this verse has a much deeper meaning than it might be evident at first sight. Question: “How can we keep in step with the Spirit if we do not live by Him?” 🤔 “Wait a moment, wait a moment, Susanne. We have been born again, we believe in Jesus who is our Lord, therefore we live and can follow the Holy Spirit anytime.” – Susanne: “Okay, okay. If we live together with someone whom we love and know, will they give us an answer when we raise a question?” – “For sure!” you might say.
But is it the same with God for us? If we ask Him something NOW, do we always expect AND get an answer from Him – or rather not? Or not that clearly, at least… 🙄 What might be the reason for our insecurity here? Do we really KNOW God? Can we believe that He truly wants to share His life with us 24/7?
Yes, I wanted to challenge us all here! In addition I offer you now a thought-provoking excerpt from T. Austin Sparks below.
A Positive Walk
Now, this law of the Spirit is the principle of the walk of the Christian. The walk of the Christian is supposed to be a walk in sanctification; there must be a sanctified walk. That is what it means to walk in the Spirit. The definite statement is: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Are you struggling, striving, fighting, not to fulfil the flesh? That is negative; you will get nowhere along that line. The way not to is to do something positive. The positive is the answer to the negative. “Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not…”. It is a great principle of deliverance. God’s way is always a positive way. We are occupied so much with the negative, striving and wrestling not to do this, to stop this and that. And we do not find that we get very far in that, do we? The provision of the Lord is: “Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not…”.
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Well, it means to consort with the Spirit. You say, what does that mean? It is best understood by recognizing what we do. We, by nature, consort with the flesh: we are all the time consorting with ourselves – our poor miserable selves; occupied with ourselves, talking about ourselves, praying about ourselves; keeping ourselves, our miserable selves always in front of us. When we are so continually occupied with what we are in ourselves, that is consorting with ourselves, is it not? How far do we get that way? Nowhere at all! We make no progress at all by consorting with ourselves.
And I am afraid there are some Christians who consort with the devil. It is not always easy to distinguish between ourselves and the devil, but you know he is always talking to us through ourselves. If there is something that is wrong with us, he lets us know it. If there is something that troubles us, he adds to the trouble, he accentuates. Give him a little bit of his own ground, that he himself created for himself – for he created that ground of the old fallen Adam for himself and for his own purposes, to work out his own designs – give him a little bit of that which he has made for himself, and see what he will do with it. He will make everything of it, and it will not be long before people who do that will find that they are in terrible bondage to the devil through their own selves – their own make-up and faults and weaknesses and sinfulness. And that is consorting with the devil. He comes and accuses, and you listen; he makes a suggestion, and you take it on – you almost enter into a discussion with him. You consort with him, or you consort with yourself: and that is walking after the flesh.
Don’t consort with the flesh, don’t consort with the devil, have no truck with them at all! Consort with the Spirit! The Spirit is the One who has come alongside: the very meaning of His Name, ‘Advocate’ or ‘Comforter’ (Gk. parakletes) is One who is called alongside. Consort with the One alongside. Have your communion with the Spirit. Challenge yourself, and challenge the enemy, on this: Is this really of the Spirit, does this correspond to the Word of God, is this true according to the gospel of grace? If the answer is: No, of course it is not! then repudiate it! That is consorting with the Spirit, always moving on the ground of grace, the Spirit of grace.
That is a very simple beginning, but it indicates that the Holy Spirit is positive. All that other is negative: it is pulling back, it is draining, dragging; it is all a big ‘No’. The Spirit never comes on that ground; He is against anything like that. As in the first creation He moved against the void, so in the new creation He has nothing to do with, and no interest in, vacuums, voids, or anything that is negative. Take positive ground, and you will find the Holy Spirit is with you. Forsake your negative ground in your spiritual life.
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2021 – Except for the picture of the three sheep all photos were edited with the Huawei App for Leica