When I disciple someone and take them through the Spirit-filled life, there are always questions. Here are some of the questions that typically come up.
1. Are all Christians Spirit-filled since all believers have the Holy Spirit?
No. I was a believer but not a Spirit-filled believer my first two and a half years in college. The turning point for me was when I went on a date with a guy in one of my classes, and I knew immediately that there was something different about John. I wanted what he had but I wasn’t sure what “it” was.
We were both Christians, but he was “spiritually alive” and so in love with the Lord. My relationship with the Lord was stagnant and not growing at all. I found out later that the difference was that John was Spirit-filled (controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit) and I wasn’t. I was a carnal Christian (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
The carnal Christian’s life looks just like that of a non-believer. When I told my roommate that year that I was a Christian, she responded in shock, “You’re not a Christian!” I realized that I hidden my relationship with Christ so well that the person living with me couldn’t even see Him living within me.
A Spirit-filled Christian is spiritually alive and vibrant. A carnal Christian is spiritually stagnant and walking in the power of the flesh, not in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Why aren’t all Christians Spirit-filled?
- Spiritual ignorance – They don’t know about the “power source,” that is available to them to live the Christian life. I didn’t realize until that junior year that I even had the Holy Spirit living inside of me. Some know the Holy Spirit indwells them, but they don’t know how to draw from the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life.
- Control – They want to be in control of their lives and not yield to the Holy Spirit’s control. Over time, you might question if that person is truly a believer, but only God knows his or her heart.
3. Are you Spirit-filled once and for all, like salvation?
Is it a one-time decision? No. Being Spirit-filled is a moment-by-moment, continual process. In Ephesians 5:18, the Greek tense of the verb “be filled” literally means “keep on being filled.”
4. So what do you do if you retake control of your life through sin?
Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) teaches a concept called “spiritual breathing.” Just like you exhale and inhale physically to breathe, you exhale and inhale spiritually in order to continue walking in the Spirit. When you sin. . .
- Exhale: Confess your sin.
- Inhale: Yield control of your life to Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to live the Christian life. You can’t do it on your own.
5. How often do you need to breathe spiritually?
Every time you sin. Don’t let your sins accumulate before you breathe spiritually. Keep short accounts with God. Breathe spiritually as soon as God shows you your sin.
6. Do you become carnal every time you sin?
No, not if you deal with it by confessing sin. Unconfessed sin + time = carnality.
What questions do you have about the Spirit-filled life? For more information, check out the resources on my Discipleship page.