Use these six signs as your guide to learn how to know if you are walking in the Spirit and gain insights into deepening your faith and connection with God.
As Christians, we understand the concept of God as our loving Heavenly Father and Jesus as our Savior, who took the punishment for our sins upon Himself. But we often overlook the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
What does it mean to ‘walk’ in the Spirit, and how do we know if we are? What’s the importance of walking in the Spirit, and how can we expect it to grow and transform our lives?
As you continue to read, we’ll discuss six signs that indicate if you are truly living a Spirit-led life and what that can look like in practical terms.
We’ll talk about:
- the fruit of the Holy Spirit and what it looks like in your life.
- what fleshly desires are and how to overcome them.
- how to make sure your life is lining up with God’s Word.
- how to be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- how walking in the Spirit can impact others for Christ.
- continued growth and transformation in your life.
Continue reading to find out if your life has evidence of these six signs of walking in the Spirit.
Understanding the Concept of Walking in the Spirit
To begin, let’s clarify that you can only receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
This means believing He came to die for your sins, that He rose again on the third day, defeating death, and that He ascended into Heaven and is there with God today.
It means confessing that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, and accepting His free gift of salvation, His blood, as remission for your sins. Once this amazing transformation has taken place in your life, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of you.
You are now filled with His Spirit. Wow. How amazing is that? You have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of your very being, but how do you “walk in that Spirit,” and what does that even mean?
To“walk in the Spirit” means to be responsive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and promptings in your life.
This requires you to be in an intimate relationship with God—talking to Him regularly in prayer, seeking His guidance, and spending time in His presence.
Walking in the Spirit means to live your life in such a way that exemplifies God’s presence in your life. It means you’re following God’s commandments, that you’re loving others, and that you’re growing to be more and more like Jesus every day.
In the most basic terms, you’re doing what God told you to do, and you’re not doing the things He told you not to do.
In Galatians 5:16, Paul says:
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16
That’s pretty straightforward. If you’re walking in the Spirit, you won’t be looking to feed the desires of your sinful nature.
1 John 1:26 says:
“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” -1 John 1:26
God’s telling us, if you claim a relationship with me, you’re going to look more and more like my Son. It’s a natural progression that should continue from the moment we get saved until we leave to spend eternity with Christ.
Ephesians 5:8 explains:
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” -Ephesians 5:8
Once you receive the Holy Spirit, you’re not in darkness anymore. What a wonderful promise! But God also adds, live like it. You are not bound to sin anymore.
Romans 8:9 tells us:
“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” – Romans 8:9
Once you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you are called out of your walk in sin and into a walk and relationship with Him. It’s impossible to walk in the Spirit if the Spirit is not abiding in you.
We need the Holy Spirit in our lives. It’s not something we can fake or strive to do on our own. The only way we will succeed in living the Christian life is through the power we get from the Holy Spirit.
And that’s a lot of power. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:11:
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” – Romans 8:11
This verse says that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit who now resides within you. This is no small and insignificant thing.
Having the Holy Spirit within you gives you transformational power. Something we so often fail to utilize in our daily lives. It’s time to quit struggling to do such things on our own and tap into that life-changing power.
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6 Signs To Know If You Are Walking in the Spirit
Sign 1: Exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit
I remember an old VBS song that went, “The fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut…” and I can’t even begin to list out the fruits listed in Galations without singing the rest of the song.
The fruit of the Spirit is definitely not a coconut, an orange, or an apple. But what is it? And how can we get it?
Galatians 5:22–23 lists the fruits of the Spirit:
That sounds a lot better than a fruit salad. It’s important to remember that these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and not fruits that we, on our own, have the capacity to cultivate.
But the more we draw near to the Spirit and walk according to His Word, the more we will see these attributes grow and blossom in our lives.
What this may look like in a practical way is:
- Love: You find it easier to love those around you. Particularly those “hard to love” people in your life.
- Joy: You will have joy. Joy is rooted directly in the things of the Holy Spirit and is entirely dependent on Him. That means when everything around you is falling apart, you’re not, because you know who is in control.
This doesn’t mean you won’t ever be sad. Sadness and grief are part of the Christian walk. It just means that, even in your sorrow, joy will still be present in your overall life. Joy is more than an emotion; it’s a state of being.
- Peace: You will have peace. Not a temporary peace, but a lasting, eternal one. This means you won’t stress and worry over every little thing, or even over the big things. You will be able to rest in God’s sovereignty and goodness, and you will feel a calm you didn’t think was possible.
- Patience: You will find you’re more patient. Things that irritated you before or made you downright angry won’t anymore. You might find you have more patience with your spouse, your kids, or that particular co-worker. And you will know it must be coming from an internal source, because you don’t have the power on your own.
- Kindness: You will find that you lead with kindness. This may look like not assuming the worst of someone right away or being more willing to help someone in need. This will look like thinking more about other people and putting love into action.
- Goodness: The Blue Letter Bible further defines the word goodness as “uprightness of heart and life.” This means that you will genuinely seek to do what God has commanded in His Word. You will yearn for it. It will be second nature—just who you are.
- Faithfulness: The word ‘faithfulness’ here can also mean persuasion or moral conviction. Basically, the Holy Spirit will grow your faith to the point where you simply don’t question it. You know what the Bible says, you know who your Savior is, and nothing can convince you otherwise.
- Gentleness: You will have a gentle spirit. A moral excellence. You will be the kind of person people are drawn to—a spirit that is so rare in our world today. You will be quick to listen and slow to speak. When you do speak, your words will be soft and well chosen.
- Self-Control: The fruit we’d all like heaps of. This looks like not losing your temper with your kids, saying no to that second helping at supper, or managing money wisely instead of splurging on the latest and greatest gadget.
Growing and cultivating these fruits in your life will set you apart from the rest of the world in a huge way. People will see a transformation in your life, and you will shine like the light God wants you to be.
Everything we just read is in direct contradiction to what the world says. The world tells you:
- Love yourself first; others need to earn your love
- Do what makes you happy
- You can only find peace within yourself. Tap into your own power.
- You don’t need patience. Take what you want when you want it.
- Kindness is for the weak.
- Goodness is found within yourself. You define that.
- Faithfulness is antiquated. You must always be seeking what’s best for you.
- Gentleness won’t get you anywhere.
- Self-control is meant to hold you back. Don’t let anyone tell you no.
Get your questions answered here, surrounding the fruits of the Spirit and more.
Sign 2: Overcoming Desires of the Flesh
This all sounds really great. We get saved, we get the Holy Spirit, and BAM, we get all the fruits. If only it were that easy.
The problem is that, while we do get the Holy Spirit and access to all those amazing fruits, we still have a sin nature to contend with. And it’s in direct opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:17 says:
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do whatever you want.” – Galatians 5:17
Paul continues in Galatians 5:19–21:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19–21
Like the verse states, the acts of the flesh are obvious. Meaning, if you’ve got the Holy Spirit living inside of you and you’re doing these things, you’re going to know it.
It’s easy to look at the list and say, “Well, I’m not practicing witchcraft or fits of rage, so I must be alright.” But do you struggle with:
- hating someone in your life?
- a lack of harmony in your life with others? Have you caused discord by stirring up drama?
- being envious of what other people have?
- losing your temper?
- focusing your needs, wants, and desires above others?
- drinking too much alcohol and letting it control your life?
- and many more…
These can be really uncomfortable questions as we examine our lives and the control our fleshly nature has over us. We quickly discover that we struggle with at least one of these behaviors that Paul lists in Galatians.
The fact is, until the day you die, you will struggle with your sin nature. All of us do – we’re human! The key is understanding that whatever nature you feed the most will be the most dominant in your life.
Meaning, if you feed the desires of your flesh, your sin nature, then you will see that nature grow and start to take over your life. Our flesh is in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit.
This is when, for the Spirit-filled Christian, prayer is essential. We don’t have the strength to do this on our own, but remember, We aren’t alone.
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now resides inside of you. Along with all that death comes new life-raising power. Simply call unto Him, ask Him for help, for strength, and for wisdom, and He will give it to you.
Romans 8:26 says:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” – Romans 8:26
And Jeremiah 29:12:
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” – Jeremiah 29:12
And don’t forget this promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13
There are so many more verses that point to God’s willingness to hear our prayers, His promise to give us His strength, and His faithfulness to carry us through even the hardest trials.
Prayer is crucial in these moments of temptation, when our flesh is weak.
Sign 3: Alignment with the Word of God
In order to walk more in the Spirit, and less in the flesh, we need to be aligned with God’s Word. Simply put, we need to know what His Word says and how to apply it to our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
And then we need to live it out. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us what that looks like day-to-day. This means you need to get into God’s Word and find out what He wants from you.
Set aside time every day to read the Bible. Maybe find a short devotion you can do alongside, or find a good Bible study that will help you dig in to find deeper truth. Make sure you also set aside time for prayer and communion with God.
The more you practice this, the more your desire for God’s presence will grow. You will soon begin to see those fruits of the Spirit popping into your life and flourishing. You won’t regret it.
Sign 4: Sensitivity to the Spirit’s Guidance
The more time you spend reading God’s Word and communicating with Him through prayer, the more sensitive you will become to hearing the Holy Spirit’s prompting in your life. And you will know it’s the Holy Spirit because His voice will line up with God’s Word.
This will lead you to make decisions based on what you know to be true and in line with God’s will. This all builds on itself. The more you immerse yourself in the Spirit, the more you will see the Spirit and His nine fruits show up in your life.
Just as a lamb recognizes the voice of its shepherd, so will we, as God’s little lambs, recognize His voice. The more time we spend at His feet, the easier it will be to hear that still small voice.
Sign 5: Impact on Personal and Community Life
And the progression continues. Just as a baby goes from crawling to taking those first steps, then full-on running, so do we as Christians progress in our spiritual walk.
Before long, the Holy Spirit will be working in your life in such a transformational way, that others will begin to notice. Your spouse will wonder what’s happened to you.
Your kids will sense a positive change. Your friends and the people at work, will begin to scratch their heads.
You will find you have a desire to do more for God’s Kingdom. You’ll want to serve in church or volunteer in your community.
You will genuinely desire to do more for the Lord. This won’t feel like work or effort, but a natural outpouring of the overflow of your heart.
It won’t stop there. You will feel the need to tell others about this transformation that has taken place in your life. You won’t be able to help yourself.
Where once you talked about the latest episode of the newest TV drama, now you’ll find yourself sharing what God revealed to you that morning and the ways He’s been working in your life.
You will want to share His love and salvation with those around you because you will desire for everyone to come to this saving realization.
This transforming power of the Spirit, awake and alive in you, will propel you to speak and share in ways you never dreamed possible.
And that is the work of, you guessed it, the Holy Spirit in your life.
Sign 6: Continuous Spiritual Growth and Transformation
Once you accept Christ Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you, your life will begin to change. It doesn’t happen all at once, but through a process called ‘sanctification’ you will start a journey to become more and more like Jesus.
The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 1:9:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,” -Colossians 1:9
As you grow in the Lord, the Holy Spirit will become more powerful in your life, filling you more and more with His fruits. Nothing can compare to the immeasurable joy you will experience when walking in the Holy Spirit.
Exploring the Path of Spiritual Growth
If you’ve wondered how to know if you’re walking in the Spirit, remember to examine your life and ask:
- Is there evidence of spiritual fruit in my life?
- Am I overcoming sin in my life or allowing it to overcome me?
- Am I aligning my life with what God says in His Word?
- Am I hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice and sensitive to His leading?
- Am I serving Jesus in my church and community and making an impact on those around me?
- Am I continuing to grow and strengthen in my spiritual walk?
The Christian walk requires regular examinations to ensure we are staying on track. Thank goodness we don’t have to walk alone. From the beginning, when we ask Jesus to be our Savior, He is there.
Sending His Holy Spirit to dwell inside of you, leading and guiding you. You can never do this in your own strength, and praise God, you don’t have to.
James 4:7-8 reminds us:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:7-8
Submit your life to God, resist Satan (and your flesh), and draw near to God. When you do these things, you will find yourself walking more and more in the Spirit.
Read more Scripture here relating to Galatians chapter 5 and more.
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Greta is a Faithful Finish Lines member and a mom of 3 from Florida. She enjoys homeschooling her kids and baking and writes to women who want to know God and make Him known.