Walking in the Spirit and living by the Spirit are terms used in the New Testament to point Christians to the new way of living. It is the opposite of living by the fleshly desires of the human downward pull. Walking by the Spirit is not merely trying to avoid sin or trying to keep the law. It is the new way new creatures in Christ have been called to live.
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit on his return to heaven. The Holy Spirit has been given to every true believer. He was given to guide us in our Christian walk. He is the same Spirit we are admonished to walk in and live by.
Living by the Spirit is the act of putting to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom.8:13). The deeds of the flesh consist of lying, coveting, murder, envy, strife, adultery, fornication And what Paul calls the works of the flesh in Gal.5:19-20. The Holy Spirit living inside of the Christian will not put up with anything that offends God, hence the reason why there is always a sense of uneasiness when sin is present. Squelching the fleshly nature is a lifelong process that requires patience and perseverance before our final perfection comes.
Living by the Spirit is one of the proofs that a person is a child of God (Rom.8:14) Being led by the Spirit suggests that one is allowing the Spirit to show him the way, that one is yielding to the Spirit’s guidance and help. In other words, the sinful nature is being conquered and worldly desires are being replaced by wholesome, godly practices and virtues. Living by the Spirit includes being transformed by having one’s mind renewed by God and his word (Rom.12:2).
Living by the Spirit consist of setting one’s affections on things above instead of earthly possessions and things (Col.3:1); seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mat.6:33); looking to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Living by the Spirit is praying in step with the Holy Spirit. He knows the will of God for our lives, therefore we ought to let Him guide and show us how and what we should pray.
God accomplishes much in the lives of those who live by the Spirit. The righteous requirements of the law are met in those who live by the Spirit (Rom.8:3-4). The life controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Rom.8:6). Those who are under the control of the Spirit are God’s children and are heirs according to the promise. God will raise them to immortality at his second coming.
Living by the Spirit is allowing the Holy Spirit to direct every thought, word, action, and motive in our life, and allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate his fruits and his virtues in our lives. This is the new life Christians have been called to in Christ. This is all the work of God on our behalf as we deny ourselves, takes up our cross and follow Christ.