Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
Walking in the Spirit means to turn thoroughly from self-interest, self-exaltation, self-sufficiency and all that is of self, fixing our eyes upon Christ, who is the Object with whom the Spirit of God would engage each of us. This does not involve fleshly determination, but it is a genuine turning from our self to place all value on what God is and what God has done. The Spirit of God dwells in every believer, and, as we submit to His leading and power, the flesh will have no occasion to work.
This is really a most simple truth, but one of great difficulty for Christians because our natural pride delights in taking credit for well-doing instead of giving all credit to God. The flesh and the Spirit are contrary one to the other; there is no point of agreement. God will not give His glory to another, and the flesh will not abandon its dishonest selfishness.
Some believers suppose that to walk in the Spirit is a requirement comparable to the rules of the law, and therefore they labor greatly to attain such an experience. Rather, what is needed is the patience of faith and a quiet rest in God’s presence. The Spirit of God never leads us to set up legal standards as guides, but as the heart and mind are engaged with Christ, we have a standard far more pure and far more full than law. How sweet and joyous is this place of rest, and how perfect it is as a foundation for a life devoted to Him! The character of the fruit of the Spirit, as we find in Galatians 5:22-23, is the result of being led by the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. No great outward work is mentioned here, but we find instead every quiet and beautiful virtue. The Spirit of God always sets Christ as the One Object before our hearts.
L. M. Grant