Walking in the Spirit
When you hear the word “Christian,” what comes to your mind? A religious person? A do-gooder? A super-pious guy? The word “Christian” actually means “Christ in you.” That is the phenomenon that makes a Christian a unique person. Most people try to change their lives by making resolutions, turning over a new leaf, or seeking a religious or psychological experience. You, however, do not need to try to change your life on your own. You are being changed because of what Christ is doing in you.
Did you know that at the moment you receive Christ, Christ’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, takes up residence in you? It is the Holy Spirit who actually lives in you. You may not have realized this before. Here is how it is explained.
The Holy Spirit in You
“All of you surely know that you are God’s temple and that His spirit lives in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
The Holy Spirit enters our lives at the moment we receive Jesus Christ. He does not come in at some time after we receive Christ. This is important to remember. It is also important to understand that the Holy Spirit is not a thing or a phantom just floating in space. He is a person. He is God and He has feelings, an intellect, and a will. Because the Holy Spirit is God, He is supernatural. This means that He is not limited by time and space. He is all-powerful, He knows everything, and He is everywhere.
The Spirit personally ministers to us and helps us grow in many different ways. In John 14:26, it says that He helps us understand the Bible and gives us wisdom. In John 16:13, it says He helps us understand right from wrong. Acts 1:8 tells us the Holy Spirit gives us power to tell others about His love. In Galatians 5.22,23, we learn that God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. This is called spiritual fruit.
Spiritual fruit is kind of like fruit on a tree. When it is young it is very green and it takes awhile for it to ripen. It needs time. In a similar way, as you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life, these qualities will continue to grow – some faster than others. The Holy Spirit is committed to your best.
How can you be filled with God’s Spirit?
Here are three important principles to remember if you want the Holy Spirit to make you a winner in your Christian life.
1. Confess Your Sin
The Holy Spirit will not fill and control someone who is choosing to live independently of God, even though he or she is God’s child. Our independence or sin may include:
- disbelief in God
- bad relationships
- critical attitude
- sinful anger
- misuse of drugs and alcohol
- misuse of sex
Confession means “to agree with God” concerning what He already knows about you and your sin. Confession clears the air with God and restores your fellowship with Him. It also means you are willing to turn (repent) from your sin and turn to God for His strength. In 1 John 1:9, we are told, “But if we confess our sins to God, He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” You can confess to God by simply talking to him through prayer. Be specific about what you are confessing. Once you confess your sins, God expects you to forget them – not to dwell on them or to feel guilty. He wants you only to look ahead to the great things He has in store for you.
2. Listen to God’s Command
When we have confessed our sin, God tells us to be filled with his Spirit. We read in Ephesians 5:18, “Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life.” This Scripture verse gives us a comparison. It tells us not to rely on synthetic things like alcohol, drugs, or anything else we might be using to find satisfaction. Rather, we are told to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s real living, and it is God’s will and desire for us.
3. Claim God’s Promise
What will God do for you when you ask Him for something He intends for you to have? In 1 John 5:14, it says, “We are certain that God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases Him.” If it is God’s will for you to be filled with His Spirit and you ask Him to do so, He will fill you. This is a promise from God that you can rely on. Let’s face it. You can’t afford not to be Spirit-filled. This is what living the Christian life is all about. If this is your desire, then ask God’s Spirit to take over right now. Take some time to confess … agree with God concerning areas of your life that have been under your own control. Remember God’s desire for you (Ephesians 5:18) and His promise (1 John 5:14, 15). Simply pray and trust Him to fill your life with His Spirit. You may or may not feel different when you ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Feelings come and go and so we can’t use them to honestly tell us what God is doing in our lives. Remember, God works in our lives when we put our faith in the facts and promises of His Word, regardless of how we feel. And the way we demonstrate that we really do have faith is by doing what He has asked us to do. How can you keep living like a winner? Let’s suppose you make a mistake and sin in some area of your life. It may be an action or an attitude. The way to experience God’s love and forgiveness and get back on the right track is to breathe spiritually. Here’s how:
- Exhale — Confess your sin. Be totally honest with God (1 John 1:9).
- Inhale — Give the leadership of your life back to God and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
God wants you to be a winner in your relationship with Him.
From PathFinder Bible and American Bible Society ©