How to Walk in the Spirit
You were designed to be spiritual. You were created to walk in the spirit. Yet many people walk after the flesh. They make judgments based on what they hear, see, and understand, rather than listening to what their spirit is sensing the Lord is saying.
To be led by the Spirit is to live with our eyes fixed on the Lord. It’s looking to the Lord as our source and supply and asking, “What does God want? What does he say?” When we make this our habit, we are acting like mature sons of God.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
To follow the Spirit we need to sense the Spirit. How do we do that? The Bible provides numerous examples but in this article I will focus on just three ways we can sense the Spirit.
Troubled in the spirit
When Jesus had said this, he became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21)
If you have ever known the stabbing pain of betrayal, you will know how Jesus felt when Judas betrayed him. The difference is that Jesus felt the sting of betrayal before he was betrayed.
His spirit was troubled because he knew what was coming.
To be troubled or agitated in your spirit is to know something is wrong even when everything appears normal.
Some might say “I felt a check in my spirit,” or “I was heading in a certain direction but stopped because something didn’t sit right inside.”
I have had many experiences like this, and I have learned that if your spirit is troubled or agitated, you need to pay attention. Especially if everything seems fine in the natural. If your spirit is sensing something is a little off, you would do well to heed it.
An example: Maybe you are considering an intern or job applicant who ticks all the boxes, but your spirit is troubled. Don’t hire them. Stop and pray. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to know what to do.
Provoked in the spirit
Stronger than the feeling of being troubled is the sense of being provoked or distressed in our spirits.
Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. (Acts 17:16)
In every city Paul visited there were idols and temples. But when he came to Athens, his spirit reacted with anger. “The longer Paul waited in Athens, the angrier he got – all those idols!” reads the Message Bible.
Idol worship destroys those Jesus loves, and this affected Paul so deeply that he preached one of his most memorable sermons (see Acts 17:22–31).
It would be nice to hear God speak in a burning bush, as Moses did. But sometimes he gives us a burning heart. God help me if I don’t speak up. That’s what Paul experienced in Athens.
Sometimes you hear or see something that doesn’t trouble anyone but you. This isn’t right. Something must be done.
I’m not talking about something that just makes you emotional and upset, but if there is some situation that troubles your spirit, that is a sign of spiritual significance. You need to bring that to the Lord.
“No rest for my spirit”
Another sign that something is off is we feel no peace. When Paul said “I had no rest for my spirit” (2 Cor. 2:13), he was saying he had no peace. For the spirit-filled believer, a loss of peace is a sure sign that all is not well.
This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
While we were living in Hong Kong, I convinced Camilla that I should buy a Honda Shadow 750 motorcycle. “We’ll go cruising down the highway just like old times.”
Camilla has ridden with me many times, but on this occasion she was unsettled. “I don’t have a peace about it.”
I dismissed her concerns – “You’re being a wet blanket” – and bought the motorbike.
A week later, we were cruising down the highway and livin’ the dream when we were hit from behind by a boy racer going 100+ miles an hour. His car and my bike were smashed to bits, and Camilla and I were sent flying.
I picked myself off the concrete and saw Camilla’s motionless body lying in the middle lane. For a long moment I was struck with the fear that she was dead and I had killed her. Miraculously, we survived but it was weeks before either of us could walk again.
I should’ve listened to my wife, because, unlike me, she was listening to her spirit.
For more stories and tips on how to walk in the spirit, check out my new book, Spirit, Soul & Body: How to Walk in the Spirit, available now on Patreon.
Wow, Paul, that is a shocking story. I’m so glad both of you were able to recover and go on to have a beautiful family. This post also got me thinking of my favorite Biblical example of walking in the Spirit…And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32
I love that verse!
Shocking story indeed! But we’re all so glad that you survived to tell the story.
Where can I buy your books in Auckland, NZ.
Hi Joanne, you can try Wheelers. Castle Publishing also carries some of my titles.
Gut feelings are like Guardian Angels: listen to them…
Thanks for your new book, “Spirit, Soul and Body. 80% of what we teach on our radio program comes directly from your articles on ETR.org. Through modern technology, you are helping people in countries you may never visit. I have distributed turns of materials from you. I have an arsenal of materials from you specifically for “law enforcement pastors.”
Here is a quote from your latest book or this article: “Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to know what to do.” This is a line I have used many times to help Christians who need help in deciding what to do at a particular junction in their lives. James 1:5 encourages us to do so……that is what I have always believed.
Here is my question: Why do NT believers ask for wisdom when Jesus is their wisdom…1 Cor 1:30? Is the wisdom they are asking for different from what we receive when we put faith in Jesus? Can Jesus become OUR WISDOM in the daily affairs of life? If we ask for wisdom when we are faced with difficult situations, are we rejection Jesus as our wisdom? Instead of asking for wisdom, can I just say, “thank you Jesus for being my wisdom in this situation?”
Could James 1:5 be referring to UNBELIEVERS who have never put faith in Christ for their salvation?
Thanks for your thought on this matter.
Hi Caleb, I’m always glad to hear my writing is helpful to you and your listeners. Everyone of us needs the wisdom that comes from above. As believers, we can lean on earthly wisdom and walk by sight, or we can receive spiritual wisdom and walk by faith. In the article above, I give an example of what happened to me when I ignored the wisdom that the Lord was showing my wife. Because I didn’t listen, I put us both in hospital.
As it happens, I have been working on James this week. You can find my thoughts on James 1:5 over on the Grace Commentary.
Good to see you’re still going strong, my friend! I miss you. I’ve been advertising your books on my TikTok :D.
“Idol worship destroys those Jesus loves, and this affected so Paul deeply that he preached one of his most memorable sermons (see Acts 17:22–31).”
You’ve got a teeny typo halfway through that sentence (‘so’ and ‘Paul’ are swapped).
Glad you learned this lesson (sorry you had to learn it the way you did!)
It’s an important one. God has been trying to teach it to me for 15 years. Sometimes I’ll feel ‘no’ in my spirit really strong and I’ll try to rush to do the thing before the feeling gets stronger. Straight up bratty behavior lol.
Other times I’ll ask “But why not!?” And he’s been teaching me, “You don’t always need to know why I’m saying no, I want you to learn to trust that if I’m saying no it’s for a good reason!”
Glory to glory though! We’re always growing.
Hi Daniel, good to hear from you! It’s been a while.
Yep, we’re all still growing, some of us more slowly than others. If someone dangled a nice new Harley in front of me, whose to say I wouldn’t just rush in like last time. “L8r, Honey!”
Typo fixed now. Thx.
Hi – I can’t access the book. I
Sorry to hear that, Diane. The link to the book is here. If you are having trouble logging into Patreon, see this. Let me know if that doesn’t help. Thanks.
What are your thoughts on being baptised in the Holy Spirit? Is it a distinct experience from being born again? I find it difficult to listen to God, especially when I need His guidance to move forward.
Hi there Paul and the rest of E2R brothers and sisters!
‘…For it is the spirit IN human beings, the breath of the Almighty, which gives humans understanding [INTELLIGENCE]…’ Job 32:8
No other creature in the physical that the Almighty God created was given a gift of the spirit, except human beings. This spirit clearly distinguishes us from other creatures even though we have the same physiological attributes. This spirit makes us intelligent than animals. Animals use instinct and we use intelligence. Some erroneously assume that it is because we have five senses, both animals and us have five senses. In fact, animals have better five senses: An eagle sees a thing on the ground from the highest altitude and that which is airborne from the greatest radius distance of 60 km away therefore an eagle has better eyesight – and doesn’t need spectacles and other eyesight gadgets like we do. A dog can smell a thing intactly hidden in a trunk – it has a better sense of smell than we do. An antelope can hear grants of predators from a radius of more than 15km away – it has a better sense of hearing than we do. A snake can feel your footsteps tens of kilometers away – its has a belter sense of feeling than we do. A bee collects the sweetest nectarine from diverse flowers and sources – it has a better sense of taste than we do.
But in all this sensory superiority, animals are outsmarted by human beings. Why? Because of the human spirit graciously given to us by our Heavenly Father. This explains the reason why He created us after His likeness than all other creatures!