What does it mean to have a “Spirit-filled life”?

Question:

Please explain what it means to have a “spirit-filled life.” 

Answer:

I hear so many Christians talking about “living” for God and “the Spirit leading me,” who are self-oriented in their lives. They seem to glory in their “spirit-filled lives.” The Bible warns us that Satan can imitate the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 11:12-15). How do you deal with people who may be under this influence?

First, a little background….

When I accept Jesus as my Savior, I am confessing my sins and asking Him to cleanse my heart and come and live in my life. When I invite Him to live in my life, I am asking Him to be Lord of my life. In asking Him to be Lord of my life, I am asking that He direct my life through the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. Jesus reminds us in John 16:13 that “when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all truth….” That “truth” is only found in God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will never tell us to do anything that is contrary to God’s Word!

When you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you become a “spirit-filled Christian.” That is to say, He comes to live in you and desires to lead you into a greater knowledge, understanding, and commitment to God’s truth as written in His Word. The role of the Holy Spirit is to point you to Jesus.

The Holy Spirit imparts various “gifts” to you as recorded in 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, etc. As a Christian, we are to bear fruit (John 15:1-11; Galatians 5:22-25). The “gifts” can be counterfeited by Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15), but not “the fruit of the Spirit.”

I am not to judge another person’s relationship with the Lord, but I believe that we can be “fruit inspectors.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us to “be aware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). Not only will you know people by the “bad fruit,” but you will also know them by their “good fruit” of love, joy, peace, patience, kind­ness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It will be evident not only on Sunday, but through the rest of the week!

How do you deal with such people under this influence?

  1. It is important to pray for such people that God would reveal His truth to them. The “gifts” are important for the building up of the kingdom (Eph. 4:11-13), but the emphasis should be on the Giver.
  2. Galatians 6:1 is an important verse. “Brethren, even if a man (or woman) is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” “Trespass” not only is any sin, but it can also include any “spiritual offense” that is leading others astray.

This article was written for The John Ankerberg Show by Rev. Sam Harris; ©1999.

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