Gal 5:25-26 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
“If we live in the Spirit” seems like a strange phrase. Paul is literally writing to the churches of Galatia and by extension to we who are the church today. How could we not be living in the Spirit? We confuse being born of the Spirit with living in the Spirit.
I believe that Nicodemus was born of the Spirit; else he would not have come seeking Jesus (Joh 3:1). He came to Jesus by night signifying that he was still walking in darkness, but he was also seeking understanding. He confessed that Jesus was a Master sent from God, but he had not yet stepped into the light of the truth that this Master was verily the Son of God. Nicodemus was born of the Spirit, but he was not yet living in the Spirit.
Like Nicodemus, we can be born of the Spirit and still be living as a Pharisee. We can deem ourselves better than other men because of who we are, how we live, and what we are called. Undoubtedly, many of those from Jerusalem who troubled the Galatian brothers were Pharisees based on their demands that these brethren had to conform to their standards in order to be accepted. As long as we see anyone other than Jesus as being the standard, then we are not living in the Spirit.
When our living becomes Spirit-centered, then we realize that our only hope is Jesus. We cease to expect others to live like us, and instead fall on our face before God and ask Him to forgive us for the way we have lived. Living in the Spirit is not just about recognizing that the Spirit is real. It is about our lives being conformed to that reality.
The Greek word translated as “walk” carries the meaning “to march in (military) rank (keep step), that is, (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety [see Strong’s].” The proof that we live in the Spirit is seen in the fact that we walk in step with the Spirit. The cadence of our lives is dictated by the Spirit teaching us and causing us to remember all the things that Christ has said unto us (Joh 14:26).
When we begin to live in the Spirit, then we cease to want to take any credit for the things that God has done for us. We no longer seek for men to look to us as though we could help save them; instead we point steadfastly to Christ. Instead of irritating (provoking) each other and being jealous (envying) of each other, we encourage each other. Rejoicing in the blessings and liberty of our brothers and sisters through Jesus Christ becomes a balm to us.
May we, with great joy, carry out our daily activities in step with the Spirit of the God of heaven and earth!