As single Christians, we must be very intentional about our walk with Jesus Christ. This time of year is a time when we all set goals, intentions, plans and make resolutions. As we do so, we should always remember that our first concern for the year should be our relationship with the Lord and becoming mature Christians. Part of this maturity process heavily depends on how we rely and surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to be active in every area of our Christian life.
Being a Christian is one thing. However, being a Spirit Filled Christian is a completely different matter. Jesus left us with the gift of the Holy Spirit so we would never do life apart from Him. Often, we remember God the Father and Jesus the Son but we do not give as much importance and place enough emphasis on the Holy Spirit, which is the third person of the Godhead. Not third because He is least or less powerful. In fact, the Holy Spirit is God, a divine being, a member of the Trinity just as Jesus is. He is co-equal with the Father and the Son yet distinct. Together, all three masterfully created the universe and everything in it, even mankind.
In fact, when speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus declared:
” I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, He is the Spirit of truth… He remains with you and will be in you[…] But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:16-17,26
The greatest gift the Father could give us after Jesus, who is our Savior and source of salvation, is the Holy Spirit. As Jesus revealed, the Holy Spirit is meant to be:
- Our personal counselor living in us,
- One who speaks the truth at all times,
- One who points to Jesus and testifies of Him,
- A teacher,
- And a friend who reminds us of the Word of God as well as the character of God.
He is also interceding on our behalf in Heaven with Christ our High Priest, as “we do not know what to pray for as we should but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groaning” (Romans 8:26). He is a helper when we are weak. As such, we should always rely on Him, lean on Him and cry out to Him in times of need.
Living a Spirit-filled Christian life requires that we always be sensitive to the nudges of the Holy Spirit. This means that we must constantly live with an awareness of the Spirit’s presence in us, directing us and acting in our lives. A Spirit-filled life becomes evident as it is displayed in the believer through “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5: 22,23).
When a believer is filled with the Spirit and allowing Him to have full control over him or her, the fruit of the Spirit are obvious and rich within such a person. Rather than walking in the flesh, giving in to every lustful, selfish, and evil desire, the believer reflects Christ as His perfect example and sovereign Lord.
As the Holy Spirit takes over our lives, there is evidence of spiritual freedom, fruitfulness, and fullness like nothing else can produce in a man or woman. The Holy Spirit living in us is an invaluable resource. He shows up in the way we worship, in our relationships with others (including other believers), in the way we live out our singleness with moral and sexual purity, in our relationships with children, parents, colleagues and in the way we fight our spiritual battles. A Spirit-filled life is an abundant and rich life, continually reflecting, honoring, and glorifying Christ. After all, the Word of God tells us plainly that the Holy Spirit would not be present to glorify Himself but rather to glorify Jesus.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. ” – John 16: 13-14
If you have lived long enough, then you know that you cannot do anything good of your own. Any good that comes out of us is a direct result of God’s Spirit dwelling within us. By nature, we are sinful, weak, and selfish beings but with the Spirit, we become completely new beings with a renewed mind and renewed heart in truth.
It is the Spirit of God who equips us with power to do good and to do God’s will. By nature, we rebel against God’s perfect will but when we surrender to the Holy Spirit, He has the power to bend our will, change our thoughts, transform our hearts and sanctify us that we may resemble the Savior.
Octavius Winslow puts it this way: ” Not a step can a believer advance without the Spirit. Not a victory can he achieve without the Spirit. Not a moment can he exist without the Spirit. As he needed Him at the first, so he needs Him all his journey through.”
How beautiful said! Indeed, it is true that we cannot advance in this life without the Holy Spirit. Just as we depended on Him on the day we gave our hearts to Christ, we need to depend on Him still today and yield to His guidance. This same Spirit is the Spirit who enables us to walk in God’s precepts and statutes. Let us also not forget that it is this same Spirit that empowers us with gifts to do the work God desires for us to do and be a blessing to the body of Christ.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone…
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6,11 (ESV)
Just as the Spirit enables us to overcome sin, fight the external forces around us that continually desire to see us fall, He also molds us internally. We know our external enemies well but do we realize that we also fight a battle: the battle against the flesh. This battle can only be won with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and shaping us daily. As we become more mature in Christ, we must realize that there is nothing good in our flesh to reform. The flesh must die, must be crucified because it offers nothing good. Not sure you agree with me? Take a look at some of the attributes of the flesh presented in Ephesians 4: 30-32:
- Lack of kindness
- Lack of compassion
- Lack of tenderheartedness
And this is only a fraction of the deeds of the flesh. Do you see your need for the Holy Spirit in your life? I certainly do.
Being filled with the Spirit should be our constant prayer and desire from God. It is not just a wish rather more of a command in the scriptures (Ephesians 5:18). Paul exhorted us to be “filled with the Spirit”. This infilling of the Spirit implies that the Spirit should have total and complete control over us. Our walk with the Spirit becomes noticeable in the day to day and reveals who we truly are. In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul puts it this way:
” So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh, for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit, you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. ” – Romans 8:12-13
What an incredible revelation of the scriptures. When we walk with the Spirit, it reveals that we are truly sons and daughters of God. This is an indication of surrender and the believer’s commitment to walk day to day with God.
When we realize just how deeply the Spirit desires to helps us, empowers us, and transform us through sanctification (which is simply a fancy theological term that means to become progressively like Jesus Christ), should we not indeed eagerly ask for more of the Spirit? Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not some special blessing for certain Christians alone but it is meant for every believer who desires it and is ready to surrender his or her life to Him. With the Spirit, we have all the resources at our disposal to resist sin, resist the enemy, and put the deeds of flesh to death, living in freedom, having a renewed heart and mind, and living fruitful in Jesus Christ.