When Adam believed the deception “You can be as god” he became outwardly focused. He used to walk with God in fellowship spirit to Spirit but now his attention becomes earthy. He starts to evaluate everything based on his sight and how he feels about it. This is the beginning of man walking after the flesh. This is also where the restoration of man is first announced.
In the midst of God explaining the consequences of the curse man brought in because of his disobedience he also gives us the first glimpse of his ultimate plan of redemption. He says to the serpent “I will put enmity between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” It is right here that Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman, is announced. He will be the serpent-stomper, the one and only, that will bring an end to the curse.
Meanwhile we read the story of man and his walk after the flesh. He lives by his wits and what appears to be right to him. He has been so soaked in the lie of independence and lives trying to do good and avoid evil, which only makes sense, after all it is the result of eating the fruit from “The Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.”
The result of eating of this forbidden tree is our whole being has been turned upside down or inside out. God created us to be led by our spirit joined to his Spirit. When sin entered the equation it severed our connection with God. He did say, “The day you eat of this tree you shall surely die.” Adam’s way of living became rearranged. He began to be led by his soul/body which means he became a slave to his appetites and desires. If he was physically hungry he ate. If he saw something he wanted he simply went for it.
I remember in my own life when I was led around by my appetites. If I had a desire to “feel good” it never entered my mind not to drink or do drugs. It was as if feeling good in my body or emotions were god to me. If I had a craving I never entertained the thought of denying it. In essence my taste buds or emotions ruled me. I simply had no ability to say no to them. They were my god!
After being born-again I have come to realize this isn’t at all the way God intended us to live. His plan has always been to be joined in union with us by his Spirit. His plan has always been to be our Lord and the director of our lives, but this only becomes possible if we let him in. After letting the Spirit of God in, he will set our upside-down-ness right-side up again.
Having our minds renewed is exactly what this is all about. I believe once we are truly born-again our spirit is resurrected by being joined to God’s Spirit. This is most assuredly a miraculous event but our problem is yet a little bit deeper than that. Once we have our spirit reborn we have to deal with the problem of our minds needing renewal. Even though our spirits have been made alive again we have to learn how to think as God thinks and see things the way he sees them. In other words, we have to learn how to walk in the Spirit so we will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
Walking after the Spirit rather than the flesh is sometimes an easy thing to say but a little more difficult to do. What exactly does it mean to walk in the flesh anyway? Walking in the flesh means, like I said before, we walk according to how we think or feel in our body/soul level. Notice what took place in the very beginning that flipped us upside down. When the serpent enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit we read “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate…” Did you catch that? She saw (walking by sight and not faith), it was good for food (it could satisfy her bodily appetites), it looked good (she decided it was good even though God had already told them no) and it would make her wise (this is a wisdom based on her own ideas of good and evil.) This pretty much sums up what walking after the flesh is. John put it this way in 1 John 2 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
Walking in the Spirit, on the other hand, means we live with God’s evaluation of the situation and make decisions based on what he says rather than what looks good to us or satisfies some so called need of our body. Walking in the Spirit is when the Spirit of God, joined to our human spirit, is in charge of our actions. When we see or feel an impulse or craving toward something we no longer have to listen to our body/soul demands, and instead we turn our attention to the Spirit within to guide us. This is how God intended for all of his children to live in the first place. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
To summarize let me say, in our lost condition we were body/soul/spirit but now after being born again things are corrected and we are now spirit/soul/body. Once our body and emotions dictated our life now our spirit joined to God’s Spirit is in charge. This is walking in the Spirit as opposed to the flesh.
Written by Louie