“Walking in the spirit” is intensely personal and may not be semantically expressed in a one-size-fits all comment. Yet, I have a suggestion how we might each mature in this spiritual reality. (If the following does not connect with you, please forgive my presumption.)
Think about going through your day to day life. Involvement in discussions at work bounces back and forth between two dually existing levels of communication. We are focused and professionally speaking the expected/required, and we share personal exchanges with co-workers. We seamlessly, relatively speaking, switch back and forth between the "professional" and "casual" registers of speech. The cadence, vocabulary, and intent of the thoughts involved to construct the varied speech often completely alter; and this is accomplished with very little calculation. We are the "trained" worker and our natural self at once.
For example, we are communicating professionally on the job and a co-worker with whom we are relaxed individually quips about the work, a customer, the weather or the President. A rejoinder in kind out of our mouth is immediate. That answer back, detached from the professional mode of speaking, springs from whom we are emotionally and largely separated identity-wise from the moment before when we were fully engaged in professionalism. The professional register is put on and maintained to meet the job requirements. Underneath this vocal register and the thinking that supports it is our personality. Is this dual condition not an "abiding" in our casual personality while fully engaged in the “dress” of professional responsibilities?
Now think about how on top of it all, we run “sub-programs” of thought where we comment to ourselves, feel things in response, notice details and make mental observations. The inner self exists with links to our dispositions shaped by our born natures, our experiential nurturing, and our adult, active choices. We experience the level of exchange with others in the outer world simultaneously with our on-going observation, analysis, and emotional response of the inner-person. When the personal or casual register is employed with others, we speak from the condition--whatever it is--of this inner sub-program. This inner level is our soul and its state.
“Abiding in Christ” simply means monitoring the flow of the inner sub-program and accepting training of this inner person. Therefore we actively make decisions to keep the inner thoughts and feelings lined up with knowing our life-force is alive from Christ because He has caused our redemption and rebirth in Spirit, and we exist in His Presence. The soul, its feelings and thoughts, are not what is important. Thoughts and feelings are what is experienced and as such are indicators, but these are not the reason one exists. His Truth is important. Living as a vessel filled by Him achieves His purpose and is why we exist. This is what is important.
We train the inner flow by making active decisions to reject thoughts and especially feelings that are not of Jesus. Making active decisions is a function of an individual's will. Feeling insecure or uncertain? Does He feel insecure or uncertain? Revenge or hate? Does He want revenge against or experience hate for other humans? Feeling afraid and want comfort? Does He wish to escape reality and provide Himself wanton pleasures? No. Neither does your new creature in Him. So, we must sort the inner world. We seek to know His in-dwelling reality of supernatural love which is His Spirit and which we feel with Him. We seek to have His light shine upon and convict when our thoughts and feelings are simply of our soul. We seek to have His light confirm when we are resting in Him.The mechanism which enables this understanding and insight is the connection between a Living God, who in every moment is personally engaged with us, and our conscience. If a conscience can be seared, is it not also made more sensitive? An ever more sensitive conscience is evidence of a growing maturity in the spirit of Jesus.
Maintaining this attitude might be called taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Walking through life monitoring this inner flow, thus actively seeking to be sensitive to our conscience will guide what springs from our casual register of speech in day to day life. This is a function of knowing we are with Jesus and appears to others as if we are deeply connected to an unusual ability to love.
We are…in spirit.