“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9 NKJV).
At the New Birth, you were supernaturally transformed and translated by the Holy Spirit to live in the Spirit. Therefore, it is a sheer ignorance for you as a believer to be struggling, striving or seeking to get into the Spirit by any means – fasting and prayer. Why?
Because if you are in Christ, you are in the Spirit!
As a result of the New Birth, your spiritual condition, position, location, habitation and eternal destination have changed completely and permanently. Praise God!
Paul clearly states this truth in epistle to the Romans.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (NKJV).
Having been born of the Spirit, you are no longer confined to living in the flesh. You are now living in the Spirit and thus free to operate and walk in the Spirit (John 3:6).
We all were born through the flesh, in the flesh, and as the flesh through the natural birth. The Scripture testifies, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh…” (John 3:6 NKJV).
From birth we were confined to live, walk, and operate in the flesh. We could not live or walk otherwise no matter our efforts. Therefore, we could not please God, for “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8 NKJV).
But, thank God for the New Birth. It changes everything – our nature, our spiritual condition, position, location, habitation and eternal destination.
The word that was translated “in” in Rom. 8:9 is the Greek word “en” and “it denotes a (fixed) position (in place, time or state)” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
So, to be “in the flesh” or to be “in the Spirit” is a fixed state, position, or condition.
While the unbelievers are in the flesh (in an unregenerate state or condition), the born-again believers are in the Spirit (in a regenerate state or condition).
The unregenerate person can never live in the Spirit unless he becomes born again through faith in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. Similarly, the born-again Christian can never live in the flesh unless he renounces his faith in Christ.
The born-again believers have been plucked out of Adam, a man of flesh and dust, and are now grafted into Christ, a life-giving spirit (1 Cor. 15:45-49). The Lord Jesus Christ is the True Vine and we are the branches in Him (John 15:5). “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). Hallelujah!
While it is true that all the born-again believers are now in the Spirit, yet not all believers are walking in the Spirit. There is a great difference between living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit.
It is possible to be living in the Spirit and yet not walking in the Spirit!
That is the reason for Paul’s admonition in his epistle to the Galatians.
16 Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (NKJV).
Sadly, many believers today are merely living in the Spirit, but not walking in the Spirit or walking according to the Spirit.
Living in the Spirit alone does not guarantee a victorious Christian living. It takes walking in the Spirit or walking by the Spirit to appropriate, experience and enjoy all the benefits of the finished work of Jesus.
Being in Christ or having the Holy Spirit does not automatically give you victory over the flesh, the world, sin, Satan, and challenges of life. If this is the case, no believer today will be experiencing or struggling with sickness, poverty, lack, failure, oppression, defeat, anger, or any sinful habits.
Although it is an undisputable truth that everyone in Christ is a potential overcomer, victor or winner in life; nevertheless, a believer in Christ may live a life of perpetual defeat and even die without realizing his potentials and experiencing the benefits of his new status or position in Christ if he chooses not to walk in the Spirit or walk by the Spirit.
Beloved, even though as a born-again believer you are now naturally or effortlessly living in the Spirit and not in the flesh anymore, yet you must see to it that you are no longer walking according to the dictates of the flesh, but according to the dictates of the Spirit.
If you choose to walk after or according to the flesh, though a new creation, yet your experiences in life will be the same as those of the unbelievers or unregenerate people who are living and walking in the flesh.
Paul sternly warns us against living after or according to the flesh.
6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (RSV).
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (KJV).
But, what does it really mean to walk in the Spirit, or to walk according to the Spirit, or to walk by the Spirit?
How is walking after the Spirit different from walking after the flesh?
Find out in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for transforming and relocating me from living in the flesh to living in the Spirit. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to walk in the Spirit even as I live in the Spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.