Let’s Decide Now to “Walk in the Spirit”

by Megan Hutchings

At twenty-three years of age, Wilford Woodruff decided that he wanted to make some changes in his life. Reflecting on this time later, he wrote:

“Up to this period, I ha[d] spent my life a little like a ship tossed upon the waves of the sea—up and down, unstable and unsettled in my mind, at times trying to worship the Lord and living the life of a Christian, and then at other times giving it up and trying to take pleasure in the things of the world. . . . I felt that I had spent a good deal of my time in a manner that was not profitable to me. Not that I had been guilty of committing any heinous or outbreaking sins . . . yet I had spent a good deal of my youth in vanity and folly, giving way at times to many idle words and vain and foolish recreations which did not store the mind with knowledge or produce any profitable fruit1 (emphasis added).

In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul boldly invited the Saints of Galatia to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), which is exactly what Wilford Woodruff decided as a young man that he wanted to do.

So, what does it look like to “walk in the Spirit”? We can learn how by following Wilford’s example. He recounted, “I came to a determined, firm resolution in my own mind that from this time henceforth and forever I would seek the Lord with all my heart. I would seek to know his will by faith, prayer, and the reading of the word of God, and I was determined to follow the dictation of the Holy Spirit and do the will of God as far as I could learn it.”

If we aren’t happy with the “fruit” that we are seeing in our own lives, we can choose to turn ourselves to God and walk with the Holy Ghost instead of walking after the “lust[s] of the flesh” (see Galatians 5:16–17). We learn from Wilford Woodruff that we can “walk in the Spirit” by seeking to know and do the will of God through sincerely praying, studying the scriptures, and trying our best to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As we do these seemingly simple things, we will be able to taste the fruits of the Spirit that Paul described in Galatians 5:22–23, including love, joy, peace, and faith.

Megan Hutchings is an Assistant Editor for the Wilford Woodruff Papers Project. She received her bachelor’s degree in Editing and Publishing from Brigham Young University, and is passionate about preserving and sharing the experiences of others. Megan currently resides in Cedar City, Utah.

  1. Wilford Woodruff’s 1883 Autobiography, Tullidge’s Quarterly Magazine Notes 1, p. 22, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.