Spiritual Power and walking in the Spirit

SPIRITUAL POWER and Walking in the Spirit

Psalms 105:4
Seek Yahweh and be strengthened; seek His presence continually!

Psalms 28:7
Yahweh is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.

In Psalms 105:4 we read the Spirit of God telling us through the writer, that we receive spiritual strength by seeking the presence of God, that when we enter into His presence, we receive such spiritual strength. In Psalm 28:7 we read David through the Spirit telling his audience that Yahweh is the strength of His people (we also read the same thing in other passages throughout Psalms).

Therefore, when we need spiritual strength (that which we need in order to do something spiritual), the only source of that strength is the presence of God – this is why the Spirit tells us to “seek His presence continually.” How do we seek the presence of God? That is, how do we enter into His presence? According to the Scriptures, we enter into the presence of God through praise, worship, and prayer…hence all of the examples and admonitions in the NT to pray continually…

Psalms 95:2
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

Psalms 100:2
Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!

Luke 5:16
But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 6:12
In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night He continued in prayer to God.

Luke 18:1
And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Acts 1:14
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Acts 2:42
And they devoted themselves to . . . prayers.
Acts 6:4
But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Colossians 4:2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

I Thessalonians 5:17
pray without ceasing,

234 verses in the Bible addressing prayer by term; 119 verses in the NT alone (just over half). There are:
43 verses in the NT that address “eternal life” by term…
41 verses using the search term “salvation”…
55 verses for the search term “saved”…
53 for the search term “righteous”…

A good portion of Scripture is dedicated to addressing prayer, double that for other terms that we would consider very important subjects in the Bible…there is a reason for that! In Job we read the question…

Job 21:15
What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we get if we pray to Him?

When we pray we are seeking God – whether on behalf of another/others or on our own behalf. When we pray, those who have been born of God (born of the Spirit of God) enter into the spirit – that is, when we who are His children pray, we enter into His presence. When we enter into His presence, just as Psa. 105:4 states, we receive spiritual strength from Him in order to live the way He wants us to live. In answer to the question above, we receive power to walk in the spirit – to crucify the flesh…to put to death the things of the flesh…to mortify the flesh with its lusts and passions.

Romans 8:5
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

We receive power from God in order to live a holy, sanctified life; a life of walking in righteousness, filled with the fruit of the Spirit.

Romans 8:13
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Walking in the spirit means to live in the spirit. If you spend most of your time in two different places, which one is the one that you live in? It is the one that you spend the majority of your time in – the one that you make into your home, your dwelling place. Therefore, one is living (walking) in the spirit rather than the flesh, when he spends most of his time (and makes his home/dwelling place) in the spirit rather than the flesh. It is only by tapping into God’s power through prayer that one can put to death the deeds of the body (walk in the spirit) and remain abiding in Christ and become His…

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:24
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

When we spend adequate time in prayer, we are spending time in the secret place of God:

Psalms 91:1-9
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…Because you have made Yahweh your dwelling place – the Most High, who is my refuge –

Most commentators and theologians that I have read agree that “the secret place of the Most High” reads in the original Hebrew as meaning what verse 9 affirms – that the secret place is the Most High, and the only way to enter therein is through prayer.

Those who live in the flesh focus their minds upon worldly, fleshly pursuits; while those who live in the spirit are those who focus their minds upon spiritual pursuits…but what are spiritual pursuits?

Spiritual pursuits are things like striving to walk in holiness and sanctification, striving to walk in righteousness, striving to love on others and to rid themselves of those things within them that are not pleasing in God’s eyes. Spiritual pursuits would also include being a man or woman of prayer and spending every moment that they can in fellowship and communion with God, whether in prayer, worship, or just talking with God.

Other spiritual pursuits include seeking the truth of God’s Word in honest sincerity…seeking to evangelize the lost and to teach others how to walk with God according to His way…making time to praise and worship God, not just letting everything else come before and then complain that you didn’t have the time for “that.”

A spiritual pursuit is anything that either (1) enlarges the Kingdom of God, or (2) builds one up spiritually or (3) builds others up spiritually, or most importantly, (4) brings one closer to God in an intimate personal love relationship with Him.

How does this work?

I am only surmising since I have searched and to date have not discovered any passages that come right out and give us detailed information on the subject, but as near as I can discern, when we enter into God’s presence and remain for a certain amount of time, we become saturated by His presence.

Remember Moses, when he came down from the mountain top after spending 40 days and night in God’s immediate presence? His face glowed from being in God’s presence…just like one of those glow-in-the-dark items you can find in stores. The more time one spends in God’s presence, the more of His presence he becomes saturated by – the more of His power he becomes inundated with.

Psalms 90:8
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Psalms 4:6
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”

Psalms 89:15
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,

Isaiah 2:5
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

This is why we are told 119 times in the NT to pray, to pray continually, to constantly be in prayer and in an attitude of prayer. We enter into God’s presence when we are in prayer, and when we stop praying…we leave God’s immediate life-changing presence. The more we want to change, the more we need to spend time in prayer. The more we want to effect the world around us, the more we need to spend time in prayer.

One cannot walk in the spirit if he does not spend adequate time in prayer, receiving from God’s presence the power to do so. One cannot crucify the flesh, put the flesh to death along with its lusts and passions, without spending adequate time in God’s presence in prayer. As Jesus said… “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is not equal to the task” (Mat. 26:41). In other words, the spirit of the man wants to do spiritual things, but the flesh is in opposition to the spirit, just as Paul tells us here…

Galatians 5:16 – 17
But I say, walk in the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Because the flesh wars against the spirit, and fights against the spirit in order to keep you from doing the spiritual things that you want to do.

In prayer we enter into the spirit, we enter into God’s presence and receive power so that we can, among other things, walk away from temptation – which is why Jesus told His disciples, “Watch and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation…” (Mat. 26:41).

When temptation comes against us, if we would only discipline ourselves to turn away from it and begin to pray immediately, then we would not be so prone to enter into that temptation and partake of it. Temptation always has something to do with the flesh, and when we enter into the spirit through prayer – entering into God’s very presence in the spirit – we receive power to walk away from that temptation, effectively putting the deeds of the flesh to death.

The more time in prayer that we put under our belt, the stronger we become in spirit, just like the longer you hold a glow-in-the-dark product near a light source, the longer and brighter it will glow. But also just like that product, we need to spend time with God in His presence on a continual basis, otherwise that power diminishes. Just like a pale with a small hole in the bottom, we need to continually fill our tanks because it dissipates with time…we need to continually fill up on God’s presence and power in order to keep from losing so much of Him that we no longer have the power to do anything spiritual.

This is what the Scripture shows by using the term “full of the Spirit” in the following passage…

Acts 6:5
And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.

One point that we need to see here, is that Stephen was not an apostle (because some today think that only apostles had certain powers granted to them by God, and that normal people don’t have such abilities), he was just an ordinary believer like you and I, only he apparently spent a lot of time in prayer. He was full of the Spirit, full of faith, and he went around doing miracles because of it…

Acts 6:8
And Stephen, full of loving-kindness and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Through prayer – entering into God’s presence for power – we can rid ourselves of things that can only be accomplished through prayer…

Mark 9:29
And He said to them, “It is only by praying that you can have power to cause this kind to go out.”

Granted, here Jesus was specifically addressing a situation which involved a demon, yet we do not observe anywhere in the Scriptures where men spent a lot of time in prayer in order to cast demons out of someone. In every case where we do observe this event (accomplished by men), such as Paul, the demon is cast out with a single command and the demon obeys and departs from their victim.

Therefore, I think it reasonable to assume that Jesus here meant not just the possibility of a person so demon possessed that the believer getting ready to cast it out must be “prayed up” and full of God’s power and Spirit to do the job, but that Jesus may have also been indirectly touching upon other issues within people’s lives – especially after taking into consideration the information which we have already examined. Without spending time in prayer, we have not the spiritual power to even punch our way out of a wet paper bag…

The main point herein, is that we receive power from God to live and walk in the spirit, by spending adequate time with Him – in His presence – through prayer. The more we pray, the more time we spend in God’s presence through prayer, the more power we have in order to perform spiritually…the more spiritual power we have enabling us to seek after spiritual pursuits.
A person cannot walk in the spirit without spending time in prayer. A person cannot put to death the deeds of the flesh without spending time in prayer. A person cannot crucify his flesh unless he spends time in prayer. Therefore, a person cannot remain abiding in Christ – wherein dwells eternal life – unless he spends adequate time in prayer on a continual basis.

People under the auspices of false teachings will not like to hear that, because they are taught that they are in Christ simply because they believe in Him – but that is not what the Scriptures teach us. God, through Christ, has made the way…but we are the ones who must walk in that way, God does not cause Christ to walk in that way for us.

Saved does not mean “heaven bound,” it means that our past sins have been dealt with so that we can enter into the spirit, into God’s presence, for relationship…which involves prayer. If we do not spend quality time with God in prayer, then we do not have a relationship with God – it is as simple as that.

If one does not spend time with God in prayer on a continuous basis, then not only does he not have a relationship with God, but he will never make it to the consummation of eternal life in heaven. God has given us the key and expects those who really desire Him to use that key…God gives no one a free ticket to heaven, if He did then He would be defeating the very purpose for creating mankind in the first place.

That purpose was for intimate, personal, love relationship…God does not get that from us by giving us a free ticket to heaven. The way has been paved, but no one walks down that path on anyone else’s legs…you have to use your own legs and your own effort, strengthened by spending time with God in prayer.

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About newcovenantunderstanding

Dr. Dave A. Schoch, Th.D., New Testament Studies email: dkschoch@sbcglobal.net
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