How to know whether or not you are walking in the Spirit.
There is a lot that can be said about walking in the Spirit. A lot about the gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, holiness, passion, boldness, etc. And also a lot of smoke and mirrors, a lot of random detours around that which is most fundamentally true about a life with God.
And that is simply this: to walk in the Spirit is to offer the Father’s blessing to anybody you meet, anywhere that you go. To offer it freely and without exception. To bless those that bless you and to bless those that curse you. To see those that are broken, angry and hurt not through the lens of offense, but understand that all of our brokenness extends from a lack of understanding or receiving the Father’s love. Including your own. When I’m inclined to bless, bless, bless, in any and all directions–which is not just my job as a Pastor mind you (though I might content it is the most primal part of my calling, to bless on the Father’s behalf), but of every person that follows Jesus.
To be petty, easily offended, overly mindful of whether or not you are being criticized or accepted by others or unforgiving is the antithesis of walking in the Spirit, the enemy of the Spirit. And if you throw a “but” into that sentence, you’ve just made it more complicated than the gospel. The devil’s deceit is to make love complex and hard, the gospel’s liberation is to make love simple and fundamental, a natural extension of the unadulterated love the Father has offered you already.
When I easily fly into a rage in traffic? Upset at the clerk at a fast food restaurant or grocery store? Stewing endlessly about a politician? Sitting around thinking about whether or not I was slighted? Nursing a wound? Wallowing in self-pity? I don’t want life with God to be that practical some days, but it is. In each of those scenarios, I am shamelessly offering myself to the devil and indulging in his propaganda. When I’m really walking in the Spirit, I’m nearly un-offendable. When I’m not walking in the Spirit, I can be offended by just about anything.
I don’t care if you are a preacher or a CEO or a coal miner or a librarian. Do you say you know Jesus? Then settle for nothing less than walking in the Spirit. You weren’t set free to go back into bondage. And the land of offense, the territory of “I’ll be nice to you/I’ll bless you if you bless me” is as much the devil’s playground as a crack house or a brothel. It’s the most insidious way that Satan enslaves you, and the most insidious way you enslave others. And if you do it in the name of Jesus, no matter–you are still doing the devil’s work. Resist slander, resist offense, resist self.
Get in the presence of God. Right now. And receive the grace to walk in the Spirit–TODAY. It is freely offered, and there will be nobody you will set free by your choice to walk in generosity and pure grace to everybody in your life nearly so much as you.