The Difference Between Living and Walking in the Spirit

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25, KJV).

living and walking in the Spirit showing hikers walking

Paul urges the Galatians, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” This critical distinction between living and walking in the Spirit is the key to a thriving Christian life.

To live in the Spirit is to be alive in the Holy Spirit, marking our state after the new birth. As sinners, we were dead—separated from God, cut off from His life, unresponsive to His Spirit. When we accepted Christ, we received eternal life and entered into God’s realm to live in a relationship with Him, born of His Spirit. Therefore, by default, every Christian is in the Spirit (Romans 8:9, John 3:6).

In contrast to merely living in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit is a manner of life. It is the way we choose to live daily. It involves allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our emotions, thoughts, desires, words, and actions. As He leads, we follow. For instance, those who walk in the Spirit demonstrate love, joy, patience, kindness, and self-control—the fruit of the Spirit. They also display the Spirit’s wisdom and power in various areas as they serve others using the gifts of the Spirit.

Regrettably, while all believers are in the Spirit, not all walk in the Spirit. Often, we walk in the flesh, living in a paradox: alive in the Spirit but not walking in the Spirit. For example, our current state of division in Christianity today is one of the greatest manifestations of carnality or flesh-led living(1 Corinthians 3:4)—surprised?

As believers, it is God’s desire for us to walk in the Spirit since we live in the Spirit.


As discussed above, consider the differences between living and walking in the Spirit.

Apply the Word

What or who controls you? Are you led by the flesh, or is the Spirit leading you? If you’re led by the flesh, its works will be evident; if the Spirit leads, you’ll walk in His glory. Decide to yield to the Spirit today.


Ask the Spirit for His guidance to help you walk in His way.

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