In my opinion, one of the absolutely most important aspects of the Christian life, is also one of the hardest to grasp – the need to walk in the Spirit. Staying in God’s presence is hard to do. But, I don’t think you need to be told that there is nothing more worthy of our effort! Here is a quote from Max Lucado that is helpful:
It’s a wonderful day indeed when we stop working for God and begin working with God…For years I viewed God as a compassionate CEO and my role as a loyal sales representative. He had his office, and I had my territory. I could contact him as much as I wanted… He encouraged me, rallied behind me, and supported me, but he didn’t go with me. At least I didn’t think he did. Then I read 2 Corinthians 6:1: We are “God’s fellow workers” (NIV). Fellow workers? Co-laborers? God and I work together? Imagine the paradigm shift this truth creates. Rather than report to God, we work with God. Rather than check in with him and then leave, we check in with him and then follow. We are always in the presence of God. [Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus (Nashville: Word, 1998), p. 59.]
I don’t believe there are any shortcuts. We must simply invest the needed effort (Which is substantial) to develop the constant habit of staying focused on Jesus Christ. Isn’t that what Jesus said in John 15:5 - I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
A Life-Long Experiment
Frank Laubach (1884–1970) became a missionary to the illiterate, pouring his life into the task of teaching the unlettered how to read so they could discover for themselves the truths of the Word of God. His career touched millions, and by his death his techniques were known on almost every continent. On January 30, 1930, he decided to begin a life-long experiment.
• Can we have that contact with God all the time…Can we think His thoughts all the time?… Can I bring the Lord back to my mind flow every few seconds so that God shall always be on my mind? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment answering that question.
• March 1, 1930: This sense of being led by an unseen hand which takes mine while another hand reaches ahead and prepares the way, grows on me daily.… Sometimes it requires a long time early in the morning. I determine not to get out of bed until that mind, set upon the Lord, is settled.
• April 18, 1930: I have tasted a thrill in fellowship with God which has made everything discordant with God disgusting.
• May 14, 1930: Oh, this thing of keeping in constant touch with God, of making Him the object of my thought and the companion of my conversations, is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. It is working. I cannot do it even for half a day – not yet but I believe I shall be doing it some day for the entire day. It is a matter of acquiring a new habit of thought. [Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus (Nashville: Word, 1998), p. 62.]
• May 24, 1930: The concentration upon God is strenuous, but everything else has ceased to be so. I think more clearly. I forget less frequently. Things which I did with a strain before, now I do easily and with no effort whatsoever. I worry about nothing and lose no sleep.… Even the mirror reveals a new light in my eyes. [Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (380). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.]
This is how we understand and apply Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.