Lately I have been thinking about what it means to walk by the Spirit or be led by the Spirit. Since all who believe in Christ are truly IN the Spirit, not in the flesh, it seems that walking by the Spirit would just mean being oneself. It's our reality to be in the Spirit, so living out of that seems like it would be very natural, as easy as breathing.
Here is an article from the archives of an old grace website (Eternity Now) that expresses this idea:
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
Never? Did Jesus really say, "never"? How often do believers walk in darkness? It may be difficult to believe, but when Jesus says never, He means never. You probably thought that you were walking in darkness at least some of the time, so what did Jesus mean when He said that as a believer, you will always walk in the light?
The purpose of the gospel is to open our eyes and turn us from darkness to light (Acts 26:18). God has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of His Son (Col. 1:13). This was not by your own doing, or by your own obedience, but by His doing. You no longer stumble around in the dark trying to find God -- you are in Christ, who is the light of the world! You are a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Co. 5:17).
We walk in the light, not by doing the things we do, but because we have a new identity in Him. Following Jesus is just like breathing. It is something we do because of who we are.
Breathing is one of the few functions we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. We often think about breathing. Take a deep breath. Now exhale. You can control it, right? Take another deep breath, but this time, don't exhale. Don't breathe... Keep holding you breath...You'll hunger for air, crave it. But be stubborn. Resist! Don't breathe...
What happens if you refuse to breathe? You'll pass out -- then you'll breathe. You were really never in control. You just thought you were. You can't help yourself -- you breathe without thinking about it. It's the way you are made. Sheesh! That was a foolish exercise, wasn't it? Let's not repeat that one.
Do you want to walk in the light? Great! It's as easy as breathing. Read the verse again, carefully. Jesus says those who follow Him are walking "in" the light. He isn't describing "how" they walk, but "where" they walk. They have the light of life, Jesus Himself. In Him, they aren't struggling with how to live the Christian life. Christ is alive in them!
Now, try walking in the light by doing the right things. You can control it, right? Try harder... Keep trying... You'll hunger for it, crave it, but you will fail. In the end, you will have no choice but to fall upon God's grace. You were really never in control. You just thought you were.
Jesus is always with us, everywhere we go. Everything we do is done in Christ! Because we are always in Him, we are always in the light. We don't hide in the darkness. We don't have to be ashamed. We are not condemned. You who have followed Christ are walking in the light. Sin can't control us; God does. We don't live the Christian life, He does. We can trust Him; take a deep breath. Rest in Him. Enjoy!
Paul and Becki Armstrong