The Christian life isn't a standard of performance or a code of ethics, but a vital personal relationship with a loving God. Just as our relationship with God is totally dependent on what God has done through Jesus Christ, so the power to live a dynamic Christian life also comes totally from God. Through our new identity in Christ, we have all we need to live as a new creation in Christ. But to do so, we must continually draw from the proper Source of power.
The Holy Spirit is the power source of the Christian life.
The Holy Spirit is God.
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God, that we may understand what God has freely given us." (1 Corinthians 2:11-12)
The Holy Spirit came to dwell in us.
"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." (Romans 8:9)
The Holy Spirit came to convict the world of sin and justice.
"When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regards to sin and righteousness and judgment. (John 16:8)
The Holy Spirit came to lead us into the truth.
"But, when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:13)
The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ.
(Christ speaking) "He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you." (John 16:14)
The Holy Spirit confirms our relationship with God.
"....because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry ‘Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:14-16)
The Holy Spirit is the source of Christ-like qualities in our life.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22,23)
Not all Christians experience the Holy Spirit's power.
Although the Holy Spirit lives within all Christians, not all Christians are filled or directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us there are three kinds of people; the natural, spiritual and carnal.
- The natural person - Those who have not trusted Christ's death to pay for their sins and therefore Christ does not live in them (see 1 Corinthians 2:14). The natural person directs his or her own life and sits in control.
- The spiritual person - Those who have trusted Christ as their Savior and are trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life (see 1 Corinthians 2:15). The spiritual person has invited Christ into his or her life and has allowed Him to take control through the Holy Spirit. This person therefore yields to Christ's direction.
- The carnal person - Those who have trusted Christ to pay for their sins, but who are trusting their own efforts to live the Christian life (carnal refers to "flesh or human strength" as opposed to "The Spirit"). A carnal Christian lives in the energy of the flesh, not in the power of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-2). Although Christ lives in the carnal person's life, the Holy Spirit is not allowed to direct it. Instead, the person remains in control.
We can be continually empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The abundant Christian life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us in the power of the Holy Spirit. We can be filled with the Holy Spirit only by faith, by trusting God to produce in us the fruitful life He promised.
If you find that you have retaken control of your life through sin - any definite act of disobedience - simply breathe spiritually (exhale the impure and inhale the pure). This important exercise will enable you to continue to experience Christ's loving control in your life throughout each day.
Spiritual breathing is a life long process. Just how do we follow the command to "be filled with the Spirit?" (Ephesians 5:18b) And how does it affect our daily life?
Here is a "word picture" that helps us understand what it means to be empowered by our Helper, the Holy Spirit: Driving a car - We can picture our life as being a car; when we invite Jesus Christ into our life, He comes in and takes the driver's seat. He is the best driver and He knows the way. But time and time again we think we know better, so we take back the wheel. When we realize that we have taken over the wheel, we need to confess it and move over and let Him have it back.
"Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
Exhale -- Confess all known sin.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
Also read Hebrews 10:1-25. Remember the three factors involved in confession:
- Agree with God that you have sinned.
- Thank God that He has already forgiven you.
- Trust God to change your wrong attitudes and actions.
Inhale -- Claim by faith the fullness of the Spirit.
- Surrender the control of your life to Christ.
- Trust that He now directs and empowers you as you obey.
The Holy Spirit is our source of power. As we trust Jesus Christ, God's Spirit will produce his character within us and empower us to be His witness.
You can respond to the questions below to journey with a mentor and receive prayer. You'll be able to talk through what you have learned.