Belonging to Christ - Walk in the Spirit
BELONGING TO CHRIST WITHOUT CONCEIT
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one
another (Galatians 5:26)
Throughout this series we have been studying and exploring the
fruit of the Spirit and applying lessons from it. We have also
analyzed deeds and attitudes that are contrary to the Spirit. We
must be careful not to fall into traps similar to those some
religious people fell into during Jesus' and Paul's ministries.
Such things happen when we focus on our own works instead of
concentrating on what God has done, is doing, and will continue
to do for us.
The good works we do result from our standing with God; they do
not establish our good standing with Him (Ephesians 2:10;
The Pharisees, "the separated ones," criticized Jesus for
associating with sinners (Luke 15:1,2). These religious people
were bigots who took offense when they saw Jesus keeping company
with sinners. They also boasted of, and trusted in, their
religious accomplishments and looked down on others because they
had confidence in their own righteous works.
The classical case in point is the parable of the Pharisee and
tax collector who were praying at the temple (Luke 18:9-14).
Jesus spoke this parable "to some who trusted in themselves that
they were righteous, and despised others" (v.9).
Paul often cautioned those who trusted in their righteousness
instead of trusting in God's work in them. Ephesians 2:8,9 is
another classic text: "For by grace you have been saved through
faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of
works, lest anyone should boast." How much better to trust in the
work God has done for us, receive His gift of salvation, and
boast in His righteousness rather than in our own.
In the previous lesson, we learned how we are to crucify the
works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21. Trusting in our
"righteous" works and believing they will earn our salvation
makes them works of the flesh also. Our confidence needs to be
placed in God's work, not in ours. God's work is in the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ - the basis of our salvation. Paul
told the Philippians that he gave up everything to trust in
Christ (Philippians 3:7-11).
Paul often faced opposition from Judaizers (false teachers
advocating salvation by works of the law) and believers who were
jealous of his work. He recognized that he had done much for the
Lord, and he appreciated his relationship with Him. But Paul
credited his accomplishments to God's grace and not to his own
efforts (1 Corinthians 15:10). Trusting in our work estranges us
from Christ and causes our fall from grace (Galatians 5:4,5).
Paul's opponents wanted the Galatians to be circumcised so they
could boast of such works (Galatians 6:12,13). Paul responded by
saying, "God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of
our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to
me, and I to the world" (v.14).
1a.What fleshly weakness did Paul warn about that was not
discussed with the works of the flesh in the last lesson?
b. Why may it be difficult for a person with a superior attitude
to restore someone involved in sin? 6:1,2.
c. What can happen to a Christian who feels he is a notch better
than others and fails to be on guard? Verses 1,3.
d. How is the importance of humility reinforced in Romans 12:3?
2. What does Paul say about those who commend themselves and
compare themselves among themselves? 2 Corinthians 10:12. Whose
commendation should we seek? Verses 17,18.
3. What does the Bible say about worldly wisdom as a possible
benefit to gaining salvation? 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
4. The Scriptures emphasize that believers are saved by God's
a. How do good works relate to God's grace? Ephesians 2:4-10.
b. What did Paul mean by the statement, "work out your own
salvation" in Philippians 2:12,13? Did this leave room to boast
about one's efforts?
5. Read and evaluate Luke 18:9-14.
a. Why did Jesus say the man who acknowledged he was a sinner was
justified - and not the ultra religious person who was proud of
b. What is God's feeling toward pride? Proverbs 8:13; 16:5,18;
6. Why did Paul find it necessary to boast, though it was against
his humble judgment? 2 Corinthians 10:7,8; 11:1,2,5,6,16-21;
1a.How do you feel when people boast of their accomplishments?
b. How do you feel when people accuse you of conceit?
2. Which attitude, the Pharisee's or the tax-collector's, seems
to be most common today? Why?
3. How have you felt when compelled to describe your
We thank God that we belong to Him. However, we acknowledge that
we belong to Him, not because of what we have done, but because
of His grace. We join the apostle Paul in saying, "By God's
grace, we are what we are" (1 Corinthians 15:10a). May the Lord
free us of conceit, of judging ourselves better than others, so
we can boast only in the cross of Jesus.
WALK IN THE SPIRIT
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit
The form of the Greek verb translated walk indicates walking in
rank and conforming to virtue. The context of Galatians 5:25
means keeping step in conformity with the Holy Spirit, implying
continuous action in living a virtuous lifestyle. The Holy Spirit
supplies the virtues for a wholesome lifestyle, and He provides
power to live accordingly.
In this series of lessons we have: learned about the meaning and
importance of each virtue contained in the fruit of the Spirit.
All believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit in their lives to
provide strength for living to please God. With the power of the
Spirit within, we can't sit idly by, doing nothing. We are called
to participate: thus the command to walk in the Spirit.
Walking in the Spirit begins with faith and continues in faith
throughout our lifetime. Such a journey involves trusting in
God's work and not in our own. Paul cited Abraham, who was
justified by faith (Romans 4:1-12), as a model of such a
sojourner. Abraham's legacy becomes ours when we walk in the
steps of faith as he did (vv. 11,12). In his walk, Abraham was
completely obedient to God, even to the point of agreeing to
sacrifice his promised son when God tested his degree of
In our spiritual walk, we are often enticed by Satan to return to
our former walk with the world. In view of this constant
spiritual warfare, we are commanded to stay on God's spiritual
course. Paul recognized this conflict when he wrote to the
Galatians (5:16,17). Thus, to walk in the Spirit is to pursue the
constant influence and control of the Spirit and not to be
overcome by fleshly desires.
To walk in the Spirit means to be obedient to God's rules. It
means to crucify the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:24,25). We
walk in the Spirit by seeking instruction from God's Word,
pursuing pure lives, dying to self, surrendering to God's will,
and following the Spirit's leading. We will obey God's command to
be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15,16).
1. Walking in the Spirit means conforming to the Holy Spirit.
a. Why is walking in the Spirit essential if we want to live for
God? Galatians 5:16,17.
b. Discuss Paul's description of the struggle between the Spirit
and the flesh in Romans 7:14-24.
c. How does a Christian find victory over the struggle between
the Spirit and flesh, according to Romans 7:25-8:9?
d. Do non-Christians experience the Spirit-flesh conflict? Verses
2. Walking in the Spirit suggests progression. What should be our
goals? Philippians 3:12-14.
3. Read and discuss various aspects of our walk with God that
relate to walking in the Spirit.
a. Walk in truth (3 John 3,4).
b. Walk in the light (1 John 1:7).
c. Walk in love and obedience (2 John 6).
d. Walk just as He [Jesus] walked (1 John 2:6).
e. Walk in the name of the Lord our God (Micah 4:5).
4. Briefly talk about a few men the Bible says walked with God.
a. Noah (Genesis 6:9)
b. Abraham (24:40)
c. Isaac (48:15)
d. Levi (Malachi 2:4-6)
e. Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:3)
1a.Whose spiritual walk in the Bible stands out to you? Why?
b. How do you plan to chart your spiritual walk?
2a.Who do you think experiences more conflict between the Spirit
and the flesh: young or older Christians? Why?
b. How does your answer apply to your personal stage in life?
3a.What hymns and/or choruses concerning the Christian walk come
to your mind? What significance do they have for you?
b. Do you walk your talk? Why? What are your plans?
We have learned that walking in harmony with the Holy Spirit is
the only way to honor God and ensure our salvation. The Spirit
endows us with spiritual virtues and strength to be Christlike in
our lifestyle. We are opposed by satanic forces without and human
nature within, but we're empowered to overcome by the Helper that
Jesus Christ promised to all believers. Let us thus walk in the
Spirit until the end of our earthly journey.
Studies of "The Fruits of the Spirit" were taken from Vol.87,
Number 3, 2002, of the Bible Studies for Adults, by the Church of
God (Seventh Day), P.O.Box 33677. Denver, CO 80233-0677,
U.S.A.Denver, CO, USA.
Entered on this Website July 2004