Acts America

eBook: "What Have We Really Lost?"

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

God Has A Path To The River

“And everything shall live whither the river cometh” (Ezekiel 47:9b)

“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:16,17) As Paul writes to the church, he warns us of the conflict between the Spirit and the flesh in the child of God. It is the battle ground for the control of the believer’s daily walk.

I believe “walking in the Spirit” is a privilege and responsibility of every true believer. It should be the cry of our hearts. To walk in the Spirit means to live habitually responsive to and controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. Listen to verse 16 in the Amplified: “But I say, walk and live (habitually) in the (Holy) Spirit (responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit); then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).” Paul is saying, if we choose to walk in the Spirit, we will certainly not gratify the cravings and the desires of the flesh. We can choose to live in response to the Holy Spirit in our daily walk and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

A Springing Up

Note that Paul uses the terms “lust of the flesh” and “the flesh lusteth.” These words “lust” and “lusteth” denote activity, a springing up. Paul is saying that these cravings and desires that are a part of the sinful nature will become very active and begin to spring up if we do not habitually respond to and choose to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. If not checked by the Holy Spirit, they will become very active in the believer’s daily walk.

But this word “lusteth” in verse 17 means a springing up towards a particular desire. Unchecked by the Holy Spirit, specific cravings begin to spring up in the believer’s life and demand attention. It is out of these springing ups that we experience the forming of habits and besetting sins and character flaws that become an active part of a person’s life. These habits and besetting sins become a way of life. It is out of these habits and besetting sins and character flaws that comes discouragement. They breed lukewarmness and failure. This springing up of certain ungodly desires will demand more and more of your attention and time. What started as a seemingly innocent desire has now become a habitual craving that demands to be recognized.

These Cravings Oppose The Word of God

This lust of the flesh that begins to spring up will begin to oppose the word of God. It will make the word become unfruitful in your life. Jesus, in the parable of the soils, calls this the ground that had thorns. “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18,19) Note what Jesus said chokes the word making it unfruitful:

  • The cares of the world
  • The deceitfulness of riches
  • The lusts of other things

This word “lusts” is the same word used by Paul. Jesus is also speaking about a springing up of a desire of the flesh that will choke the word and make it unfruitful in your life. This springing up strangles and crowds out the word until you are pressed to find the room for the fruit of the word in your daily life. Your daily walk becomes filled with these other things and other cares which also have their own set of values and fruit, a life centered around self.

Have you ever wondered why some people can sit under the true word for so long, yet the word seems unfruitful? There seems to be very little growth and maturity. Many times it is because there is an active springing up of the flesh which is controlling their daily lives and choking out the very word that would set them free. They have not chosen by the grace of God to live and walk habitually in response to the Holy Spirit. Why do they choose to walk in the flesh rather than walk in the Spirit? Because it is easier on the natural man to feed the cravings of the flesh than it is to starve them. The only way to victory is, by the grace of God, to habitually walk in the Spirit. For Paul said, “If you walk in the Spirit, you would not fulfill this springing up of the flesh.” For “the walking in the Spirit” allows this river of life to flow freely again. Ezekiel said, “Everything shall live where this river flows.” (Ezekiel 47:9[B]) I believe this river to be a type of the fullness of the Spirit in the life of the believer. It is the flood of living water that is the results of walking in the Spirit; and the Word will become fruitful again.

The Path To This River

Now listen very carefully. I believe the grace of God will stir every heart that finds themselves not walking in the Spirit. I believe grace will stir you to take the path that will lead you from “walking in the flesh” to “walking in the Spirit.” God has a path that will lead you from the cares of the world and the lusts of other things. It is a path that will bring you right to this river of life that is filled with the Holy Spirit. It is in this place that the Holy Spirit will give you victory over this springing up of the flesh and will bring you to the fullness of a life in Christ Jesus.

As you take this path, the grace of God will begin to teach you how to walk in the Spirit. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:11-14) It is here, as you take this path away from walking in the flesh that the word becomes alive to you again. Grace will begin to spring up in your heart once again. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)

The Enemy Waits Along The Path

But this path is not without opposition. When you choose to take this path from walking in the flesh to walking in the Spirit, the enemy will bring his strongest opposition. Your adversary wants to keep you weak and bound to the things that will compromise your walk with the Lord. He wants you tied to the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things. The enemy does not want you to take this path that will lead you to a river that is full of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. So he watches and waits, lurking in the shadows. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) Your adversary is looking for an opportunity to deceive and ensnare you. Listen to Job 40:21,22: “He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and ferns. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.” I believe this is a picture of the enemy of your soul, the enemy that does not want you to take this path to the river of life. He does not want you to live a life that is habitually walking in the Spirit. He lieth under the shady trees, the reeds and the marshes conceal him. It is in these shadows and dark places that he begins to get bold and confident. Listen to verse 23 of Job 40: “Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth (is confident) that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.” He believes he can drink up the Jordan River, which is the river of God. This Jordan is the symbol of the River of the Spirit that flows from the throne of God which Ezekiel was talking about.

So the enemy watches along this path, looking for an opportunity to deceive and ensnare you. He watches and waits until just the right time to spring the trap.

There are many methods and snares that the enemy will use along this path to victory to stop you short of the true river of life. One of the first ways is to make you expect spiritual feelings. He will try to deceive you into thinking how much you are giving up to travel down this path. So he convinces you that surely this path will lead you to material blessings and comfort. So along the way he baits you with ease and good feelings. You will begin to think you have escaped the enemy and found the waters of this river of life. But instead, the enemy has snared you once again with only the temporal and the surface, that which feeds the cravings and fleshly desires. With all the evidences of flowing blessings, you are stirred in your senses and your feelings. The trap of the enemy has been sprung again. Instead of going on to walk habitually in the Spirit, you begin to live by the blessings and the feelings, thinking they are spiritually inspired. However, these feelings will stop short of entering into that river of life. Many times these feelings and blessings only bring you deeper into the soulish realm.

Another way he endeavors to ensnare you is by causing you to think of the losses and pain you will suffer if you completely abandon this lust of the flesh. You see, the enemy does not want you to regain your spiritual sight and discernment. The Holy Spirit has graciously come to show you this path, and the enemy moves quickly to regain the ground he is losing. So he brings fear of how much it will cost you to go down this path. With this fear will come criticism and disobedience. He will bombard you with distracting thoughts and confusion as he endeavors to divert your attention, your focus. He will do and suggest anything to draw you out of this path that is leading you to this river of life.

The enemy knows that everything in this river pertaining to God will live, so he wants you to live by your feelings. He wants you to focus in on yourself again instead of God. He doesn’t want to lose your daily walk of the flesh and feelings and blessings, all centered around self. He realizes this path that God has you on will bring you to a walk of the Spirit, a walk where you are more sensitive to the heart of God and the will of God than your own selfish cravings and desires. He knows that if you truly walk in the Spirit your discernment will be keen to hear the voice of God once again. You will be able to discern the good from the evil, the light from the darkness. He knows you will once again be sensitive in the presence of Christ, enjoying the communion and fellowship that comes with just knowing Him. He knows you will once again be aware of the abiding presence of Christ and the effectual workings of the Holy Spirit in your heart. You will begin to understand and appreciate what Peter experienced once he had walked down this path and found the river of life. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Peter 1:2-4;8) The enemy realizes God has called you down this path. It is here you will become partakers of the divine nature and will escape the corruption of this worldly lust. It is here you will abound and will become fruitful in your personal experience with the person of Jesus Christ. So he waits along this path that leads you to this river of life, this daily walk in the Spirit.

This Path Leads To Victory

Listen to Job 40:23: “Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up the Jordan into his mouth.” The Jordan represents the river of God, the river of the Spirit. He arrogantly thinks he can swallow up the Jordan River, but he cannot. This is where Jesus was baptized, in the river Jordan. This is where the Spirit of God came upon Christ. This is where the path is leading you. God is bringing you to this place where you will walk in victory. This path has brought you to the very river of God, a river whose currents are full of the very life of Christ.

Don’t let the enemy deceive and ensnare you. Follow the path to the river where everything lives. God has a path marked with His grace and His mercy that will bring you back into His will for your life. “Teach me thy ways, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” (Psalms 27:11) “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at they right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalms 16:11) “He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.” (Psalms 23:3) Allow the Lord to lead you in His path until your feet rest in the waters of Jordan. “And he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Then he said unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live.” (Ezekiel 47:3[B]-6;8,9[A]) God has a path to this river marked with grace just for you. Follow the path to the river and LIVE!!