Best Kept Secret-Frustation to Freedom Part 3
Billy Graham once stated that he believed 98% of Christians are living defeated lives. How could that be? If this is true, what’s the difference between the thoughts and actions of a believer and a non- believer? Potentially—nothing! But also, potentially—everything!
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Hear me out, okay? When we personally embrace the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and we invite Him to come into our lives and make us the people He wants us to be, something supernatural happens. Jesus, in the form of the Holy Spirit comes in and begins to live His life in and through us!
For example, forty-four years ago, when I became a Christian at the women’s Bible study, the Holy Spirit endowed me with every resource I needed to live a life free of frustration and defeat. If you’re a believer, the same is true for you.
The problem is we don’t always draw upon these resources. It’s like your relationship with your child. The fact that you are the parent and Suzie is your child will never change. It’s a relational fact. Suppose Suzie grows up, rebels against you, and leaves home to live her life the way she wants to. This doesn’t change your relationship as parent and child. But it does change the opportunity for you to have fellowship with her, to show your love for her, and to watch her become the happy and whole woman you’ve desired and prayed for her to be. Such is our relationship with God.
We may sincerely try to live our lives for God. Yet, God’s desire is that we allow Him to live His life through us. Why? Because that’s the only way we can understand and experience the power of the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis.
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. Back then, He was called the Holy Ghost and that’s what I thought he was—a wispy, mysterious vapor that floats around. Scary, huh? And yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
What I learned about the Holy Spirit through that first Bible study dramatically changed my life and continues to guide me through the difficult times, as well as the good ones. Not just somehow, but triumphantly!
Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ wrote in his book A Handbook for Christian Maturity, “The moment you receive Christ, you are regenerated, indwelt, sealed, baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result, you have the potential to live a life of victory over sin and witness in the power of the Holy Spirit. This potential is released by faith as you surrender control of your life to Him.”
I believe the potential of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the best kept secret in all of Christendom. I also believe if all Christians understood, embraced, and shared this truth, we would have a far greater and more positive impact on the world, but especially upon those we love the most—our family and friends.
If a high percentage of Christians are leading defeated lives, it’s either because of a lack of understanding or the unwillingness to allow the Holy Spirit to live in and reign over every area of our lives. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that develops in us the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.) It is also the Holy Spirit within us who leads, guides, teaches, corrects, encourages, and motivates us.
You may have heard and embraced this truth for yourself. If so, that’s great! Don’t forget to pass it on to others. Next to the basic gospel of Christ, this is the most life-changing message you could share with another person. It’s the key to fulfillment and freedom, as well as victory over those pesky circumstances of life.
I’m aware what I’m going to share with you is simplistic and falls far short of the extensive study the subject deserves. However, I hope this concept will mean as much to you as it does to me.
The principles and highlights below come from a booklet written by Dr. Bill Bright. It’s called Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-filled Life? I suggest you order a quantity of these booklets for yourself and to share with others. It’s filled with scriptures explaining the ministry of the Holy Spirit far better than I can in this short amount of space and time. The address is at the end.
Every day can be an exciting adventure for the Christian who knows the reality of being filled with the Holy Spirit and who lives constantly, moment by moment, under His gracious direction.
The Bible tells us that there are three kinds of people.
- The Natural Person (I Corinthians 2:14) This person has not received Christ into his life. He doesn’t understand spiritual things, and leads a self-directed life. His interests are directed by self and often result in discord and frustration.
- The Spiritual Person (I Corinthians 2:15-16) This person has become a Christian, and is allowing the Holy Spirit to fill and guide his life on a moment by moment basis.
- The Worldly (Carnal) Person (I Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV) This person has received Christ, but lives in defeat because he is trying to live the Christian life in his own strength. Christ is in the life, but has been dethroned and not allowed to direct the life of this person. His interests are directed by self and often result in discord and frustration.
(What do you notice about the Natural and the Worldly Persons? That’s right. Outwardly, they look and act the same. How then, do we become Spirit-directed rather than self-directed Christians? Read on.)
The following are four principles for living the Spirit-filled life.
- God has provided for us an abundant and fruitful Christian life. (John 10:10) The Spiritual Person’s life is Christ-centered and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He understands God’s Word and his desire is to trust and obey God.
Why is it that most Christians are not experiencing the abundant life?
- Worldly (or carnal) Christians cannot experience the abundant and fruitful Christian life. This person is ignorant of his spiritual heritage and is often plagued with unbelief, guilt, worry, discouragement, etc.
The third truth gives us the only solution to this problem.
- Jesus promised the abundant and fruitful life as the result of being filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.
Though all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all Christians are filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit on an ongoing basis.
How then, can one by filled with the Holy Spirit?
- We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith; then we can experience the abundant and fruitful life that Christ promised. You can appropriate the filling of the Holy Spirit right now if you *sincerely desire the Holy Spirit to direct and empower your life, *confess your sins, present every area of your life to God, and if you by faith claim the fullness of the Holy Spirit, according to:
- His command: Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- His promise: He will always answer when we pray according to His will. (I John 5:14-15)
Faith can be expressed through prayer. If the following prayer expresses the desire of your heart, pray this prayer and trust God to fill you with His Holy Spirit right now.
[Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen]
If you sincerely prayed this prayer by faith, you can know that you are filled with the Spirit. How do you know this? On the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word. (Hebrews 11:6 and John 17:17) Do not depend upon your feelings but place your faith in the facts of God’s Word and allow your feelings to be the result of your faith and obedience.
One last important note: Suppose you wake up tomorrow and your world crumbles around you. You react rather than respond, and then you wonder how you could be a Christian. Remember your relationship with Christ doesn’t depend upon your attitude and actions. However, your fellowship does depend upon what you do with the sin in your life.
How then do you continue to walk in the Spirit on a moment by moment basis? By Spiritual Breathing: If you retake the throne of your life through sin—a definite act of disobedience—breathe spiritually.
- Exhale: Confess your sin—agree with God concerning your sin and thank Him for His forgiveness of it.
- Inhale: Surrender the control of your life to Christ, and receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith.
This exercise in faith will keep you on an even keel in your relationship with God. Are you ready to get off your spiritual roller coaster? Embrace and apply the biblical principles from this booklet and God will work in your life in ways you never dreamed possible. I promise. More important, God promises!
To order the booklet and other helpful tools, call 800-827-2788 or go on line www.campuscrusade.org