A man, blind from birth, learns of an operation that will give him the gift of sight. Encouraged by his friends and family, he undergoes the procedure. The operation is a success and for the first time in his life he can see. However, he finds himself disoriented and confused. He recognizes nothing and is unable to process light and distance. Everything appears alien to him so he begins to walk with his eyes shut. Darkness is the world he knows and can navigate. After some time, he begins to act in every way like the blind man he used to be. Although his eyes are perfectly normal, he never uses them.
This is how it is for those of us who are born of the spirit but who have not learned how to walk after the spirit. When we were in flesh we walked after the flesh. Spiritually dead, the natural world was the only world we knew and we relied on our five senses to live. But when we were born again we were given a new life with new senses. Like the blind man in the story, we can now live in two worlds: the natural world and the spiritual world; the seen realm and the unseen realm (Heb 11:3).
We use our natural senses to navigate the natural world but in the spiritual world we walk by faith. It is only by faith that we can make sense of things we do not see (Heb 11:1). The trouble is faith often runs contrary to our natural senses. This is why the Bible challenges us to live by faith rather than by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Lean on your own carnal understanding and you will never live the abundant life that God has promised. It is only by faith that you can receive what He offers.
In the last few posts we have looked at what it means to walk according to the flesh. (If you missed them, a list of posts is found below.) To walk after the flesh is to be mindful of natural things – what we see, hear, touch, etc. But to walk after the spirit means we are mindful of spiritual things – what God has said and is now saying, what God has done is now doing. I’m not talking about being born again. Your new birth was a one-time work of the Spirit (Jn 3:5). But once you have been born of the Spirit, you need to learn how to walk in the spirit. It’s a completely different way to live.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Ga 5:25, NKJV)
by Rev. Dr. Paul Ellis