Scripture: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.
How do you walk in the Spirit? The way you do this is through living by, conducting your actions according to, and following the leading of the Word of God as quickened to you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree perfectly because the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the written Word of God.
Denying the flesh will not result in walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit will result in denying the flesh. This may seem like a subtle difference to some, but the difference is truly profound. As a whole, false religions teach that as we overcome our flesh, there is a noticeable increase in the presence and power of God in our lives. That was what the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and the legalistic Jews of Paul’s day taught. Just the opposite is true. As we experience more of the presence and power of the Spirit of God, then the influence of the flesh is diminished. Victory must come in this order. We don’t walk in the Spirit as a result of overcoming the flesh, rather overcoming the flesh is the result of walking in the Spirit.
It’s similar to how you fill a dark room with light. You don’t shovel out the darkness and then light appears. No! You simply turn on the light and the darkness flees. Much of religion preaches to stop sinning (get rid of the darkness) and then the Holy Spirit will come and empower you (the light will come). That’s not the way it works. Man can no more get rid of the power of the flesh on his own than he can get rid of the power of darkness without light.
We have to receive the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by grace and then the union with the Holy Spirit breaks the power of the flesh. The key to breaking the dominion of the flesh is to appropriate the power of the Spirit through faith, while the flesh is still causing us problems. Those who are waiting for the Spirit to manifest after they have subdued the flesh, will wait as long as the man who is trying to get rid of the darkness so the light will appear.