Walking in the Power of the Spirit

Walking in the Power of the Spirit
Brent Coltharp


There are very few things in the world that my flesh resists more than fasting. Admittedly, I am a very big fan of food. To me, an enjoyable evening is sitting around a table with family and friends, sharing an incredible meal. Yet the moment I choose to fast, psychologically, all I can think about is food. When I brush my teeth in the morning, I contemplate whether I will lose credit for fasting if I choose to swallow the suddenly and remarkably delicious toothpaste.

It is interesting that when the first Adam sinned, the act of rebellion was to eat a piece of forbidden fruit. Likewise, food became a divisive issue among the newly-delivered Israelites as they murmured and complained against divine leadership over the subject of food. Eventually, a segment of the nation would consider returning back to Egypt, the site of their bitter enslavement (Num. 11:5). The reason you guessed it – food. Some of the primary narratives that took place in the wilderness had to do with food and water (Ex. 15:24, 16:3, 17:2; Num. 11:18, 14:4, 16:13, 20:2-4, 21:5).

The last Adam, Jesus, reveals the path through which we are able to overcome the seductive enticement of carnal flesh and walk in the power of the Spirit. James states that the path to death begins with the desires of carnal flesh, leading to sin, and thereby determining a destination of death (1:13-16). To live a life in which one overcomes flesh, one must choose to walk in the power of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16).

The Apostle Mark states that following Jesus’ baptism, He was immediately driven by the Spirit into the wilderness where He would reside for forty days, being tempted by Satan (Mark 1:12). The Jewish audience would have immediately made the connection between Israel’s forty-year tenure in the wilderness and Jesus’ forty days. This parallel received further emphasis when Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread (Luke 4:3). Notice Jesus’ response, “It is written, `Man shall not live by bread along, but by every word of God.'” Where is this written? The reference is to Moses’ farewell address in Deuteronomy. Moses referenced their previous failings, when they were governed by the growl of their stomach, rather than by their love and trust of God. They learned that if they would seek first the kingdom of God, He would supply all of their needs (Matt. 6:31-33) — a principle that Jesus followed all the way to the cross.

Jesus was able to overcome temptation, whereas Adam, Israel, and others failed. This was accomplished through His commitment to prayer, fasting, and meditation on the Word of God as He walked through His wilderness. Luke records that when He returned, He did so “…in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). Prayer, fasting, and meditation on the Word of God are the components that empower us. It is this act of walking in the Spirit that enables us to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law (Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:4).

The above article, “Walking in the Power of the Spirit,” is written by Brent Coltharp. The article was excerpted from page 5 of The Illinois District News magazine.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.