But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
This is the secret of the Christian life, right here. Walk by the Spirit. Let me tell you a bit of my testimony about God showing me that “secret.” I became a Christian through a Vacation Bible School ministry when I was young. I grew up in a non Christian setting and didn’t attend a Bible teaching church. I didn’t have Christian friends and really didn’t know any other Christians in my high school my last two years.
But Jesus had a hold of me and He grew my faith in that wilderness. When I got to college I was then able to attend a Bible teaching church and have Christian friends. But I had a lot of rough edges from growing up in the spiritual “wild.” I had a heart for God, for His Word, and God was faithful in sanding off those rough edges.
After my third year of college I went to be a counselor at a camp north of Toronto. It was a great place, but I was totally out of my comfort zone. I was used to relying on what I could do for my self confidence. But there in a different country with people I didn’t know was a stretch. I then separated my shoulder the first day the kids were there. And one of the kids that I was counselor of had extreme behavior issues. And it was there that I met Jesus in a whole different way, one that changed me deeply.
The director of the camp was a gifted Bible teacher and leader and God used her tremendously to speak into my life. Combined with that, each morning I woke up long before anyone in the camp of over 300 people. I desperately needed Jesus and He met me each morning as I watched the fish jump in the still morning lake, sitting with my Bible and communing with God. The whole summer was like a honeymoon with Jesus. It was there that the Holy Spirit got a hold of my life. I came back to college a different person. I had a boldness in sharing my faith and a new self discipline in reading and meditating on the Bible. Before that my time with God was sporadic and I couldn’t get to being the kind of Christian I knew God wanted me to be.
I had a couple more experiences like that in my early twenties, and what it taught me was that if I relied on God, He would do His work in me and through me. I didn’t realize it was the Holy Spirit leading me, giving me a bold faith and taking me to all kinds of exciting places to serve Him. But looking back, I see that I learned from God what many Christians haven’t learned and need to learn. For me, being touched by the Spirit didn’t involve tongues or visions of some sort. It was getting radically changed on the inside and walking with a whole different confidence that I knew was God working in and through me.
God showed me if I kept that intimate relationship with Him that He would keep doing things in and through me. Walking in the Spirit means all kinds of things, but one of the things it means is just letting God lead and obeying what He tells you to do. The Spirit will fight the flesh battle, giving you the victory you wouldn’t have on your own. It doesn’t mean that you will automatically win every battle, but you can quickly return to the victory that is in Jesus. You won’t find it striving on your own to follow God’s commands or striving to be a “good Christian.”
What God did for me was purely His grace visiting me. What He keeps doing for me knocks my socks off. May God visit you with His grace, touching you with the Holy Spirit in a way that changes you forever. Luke 11:13 says, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”