“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:26
Christian clichés often have a rich heritage. They only become underwhelming platitudes, when pretenders overuse them. Counterfeit Christianity tarnishes and robs the truth of its original value. Conventional wisdom says talk is cheap, but Spirit-filled believers have a walk that matches their talk.
“Don’t talk the talk, if you won’t walk the walk.” Anonymous
Paul doesn’t value talking about God over walking by The Spirit. The contemporary church has changed the price tags. It has no shortage of talkers. The next Great Awakening must produce legions of walkers before the church will catch the eye of seekers looking for a turnaround in their lives.
Note to self: The truth isn’t a clichés, but “Practice what you preach.”
Speaking in tongues is often held up as the purest sign of The Spirit-filled life. Those who talk in tongues should be humbled by the gift. Any superior perspective generated in the hearts of those who do, over those who don’t, are producing man-made, not God-given fruit.
On the other hand, those who don’t speak in tongues bring no honor to God by offering up a thin-skinned reaction to those who do. Both parties might want to review what Paul says about The Flesh and The Spirit. Talking and walking, though not mutually exclusive, are simply not the same thing.
Spirit-filled people are Christ-like followers. They are not fully devoted to a dogma about Jesus. They walk and talk with Jesus.
When I was a small boy, my mother often restricted my associations with people and places that she believed exerted a negative impact on my behavior. She warned, “When you spend time with people, you become like them.” She always encouraged me to spend time with people that would have a positive influence on my life. Down through the years, Mom’s Mississippi colloquialisms have been a source of amusement for all four of her children. One of her favorites was, “When you run with dogs, you always get fleas.” As I recall, Mom always had the last laugh.
“Walk by The Spirit” reveals the life of a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ as a relationship marked by consistent companionship. It is not a religion held at arms length, or a theological position grasped with a white-knuckled grip.
One of the most succinct statement ever made about The Walk is, “Your walk with God is the next 20 seconds.” The Walk is as fresh as the breath in a believer’s lungs. To keep walking, keep praying.
When believers stop talking with God, it is not long before The Walk becomes a drag. Dragging one’s feet doesn’t stop The Spirit’s sense of direction in a believer’s life. Prayerlessness will turn the joy of the journey into a forced march. This only happens…EVERY TIME.
Prayer reveals belief, refreshes the breath, and restores The Walk of a genuine Christ-follower. Believing prayer is more about walking than talking, but praying is the key to walking by The Spirit and talking with God, in the name of Jesus.
Prayer increases The Fruit of the Spirit and reveals the family resemblance in a child of The Father. The truth is, the greater the prayer, the longer The Walk. In time, The Fruit of The Spirit in the child of God bears a striking resemblance to the character of Christ. Prayer taps into the root in the family tree, and bears The Fruit of The Spirit.
Prayerlessness, like any sinfulness, separates and impairs the connection with the root of The Fruit. Interrupting the flow of prayer resurrects The Flesh, and overshadows The Fruit.
Claiming credit for a movement of God, engaging in a spirit of competition with other believers, envying what God is doing in another believer’s life are all warning signs of The Flesh. These are not vital signs of a healthy walk by The Spirit. They are sin indicators, and if left unconfessed, and uncorrected will lead to the chalk outlines of a crash site.
Immediate confession, and renewed obedience reset these flashing lights on the dashboard of a life that is off course. Prayer avoids the danger of accumulating error, and heading toward a point of no return. Asking The Father for forgiveness of sin, and yielding immediately to The Spirit’s control puts The Flesh to death. The Walk is never far from The Cross.
Prayerless, prideful people fail to keep The Flesh nailed to the cross. When The Spirit convicts of sin, the prayerful respond with humble confession, not prideful excuses.
Prayerful people are not perfect people. They are forgiven by The Father, filled with The Spirit, and resemble The Son. The Walk begins in prayer, and is sustained by prayer. Prayerful people, walk by The Spirit and stay the course. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!