You can live a fruitful and successful Christian life if you choose to make Jesus Christ the Lord or Master of your life simply by choosing to be controlled or filled by God’s Holy Spirit moment by moment, decision by decision throughout each day.

There are three types of people in the world.

 

1. The Natural Person or Non-Christian.

1 Corinthians 2:14; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:10-12; 5:19; 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:3; Genesis 6:5; 8:21

hsb-001This picture represents a person’s life. This person has neither trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior nor made Him the Lord/Controller of his/her life. therefore, this person is controlled by the sin nature that he/she was born with. Because of that, all he/she is capable of is sinning. 
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2. The Carnal or Fleshly Christian.

Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

hsb-002This person has trusted in Jesus Christ as his/her Savior. Therefore, he/she has the Holy Spirit living inside him/her. However, this person is not choosing the Holy Spirit to control his/her life. Instead, he/she is choosing his/her sin nature to control him/her. The apostle Paul addresses this issue in 1 Cor. 3:1-3. 
He states: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk [basic Bible teachings] to drink, not solid food [more advanced Bible teachings]; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? [non-believers]?”
What are some of the symptoms or characteristics of the carnal or worldly Christian?  Well, let’s see:
  • “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissension, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing”, etc. (Galatians 5:19-21).
  • “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders”, etc. (Matthew 15:19).
  • Other symptoms or characteristics could include a lack of desire for: studying the Bible, praying, sharing your faith with others, or obeying the teachings of the Bible in general (Romans 8:5).

3. The Spiritual Christian.


hsb-003This person has both trusted in Jesus Christ as his/her Savior and is choosing Jesus Christ to be the Lord or Master of his/her life. Notice the source of growth – Christ and the Holy Spirit. 
That is why Jesus Christ said: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing [that is, nothing spiritual]” – John 15:5. And God’s Word, the Bible, issues this command: “But sanctify (set apart; make) Christ as Lord in your hearts…” (1 Peter 3:15; Romans 13:14).
What are some of the characteristics of the spiritual Christian?
  • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Other traits would include a desire to: read the Bible, pray, share your faith with others, trust God, obey God’s will for your life, and obey the Bible in general.
 
The extent to which these traits will be experienced and evident in a person’s life depends upon two things: the frequency with which he chooses to obey God’s word as an act of his will AND the duration of that obedience as he’s controlled by the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 5:12-14; 2 Peter 1:5-8; Galatians  5:16; Romans  6:16). 
 
Though all Christians/believers have a new nature (2 Peter 1:4), have become a new person as a child of God (2 Cor. 5:17), and have the Holy Spirit and Christ now living in them (Ephesians  1:12-14; 2 Corinthians  1:21-22; 5:5; Galatians 4:6), not all Christians are controlled or filled by the Holy Spirit. Why? That’s because Christians still have inside them the sinful nature they were born with, and they choose to live from it. 
 
As the Apostle Paul states: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Romans 7:18-19).
 
So how can a Christian be controlled/filled by the Holy Spirit?
Well, since God made a promise in 1 John 5:14-15 that He would answer all prayers that are in accordance with His will, and since we know that it is His will for us to be controlled with His Holy Spirit (because He commands us to be so in Ephesians 5:18), then all we have to do is ask God in faith to control us with the Holy Spirit and He will keep His promise to do so, for God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). 
 
  • “…be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
If this is what you want to do, you could say something like this to God:
“Dear Father, I know I’ve sinned against You in many ways, such as in (name them specifically), but I’m glad that I’m forgiven for them all because Jesus Christ died and paid the penalty for them all. However, I ask You now to control me with Your indwelling Holy Spirit so that I can live obediently and be Christ-like. Thank You for answering my prayer because You promised You would if I asked in faith and in accordance to Your will. In Christ’s name, Amen.” 

[DO NOT go by your feelings or emotions as to whether you are controlled by the Holy Spirit, but go by God’s promise that you’re now controlled by the Holy Spirit.]

What now?

After becoming a Christian by trusting in Christ that He died and paid the complete penalty for all of your sins, you are positionally forgiven for all of your sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Colossians 2:13-14). However, as Christians, we still sin at times and break fellowship/harmony with God (not loss of salvation). When this happens, we should immediately deal with our sins by confessing them (agreeing with God that we have sinned, 1 John 1:9).  Doing so restores fellowship or a right relationship with God and experiential forgiveness.  Then, ask God to fill/control you once again with His Holy Spirit, and then choose to obey God moment by moment, decision by decision. 

 

Whenever you sin again, just repeat the above steps, so that you can consistently stay in fellowship/harmony with God and be able to live a Christ-like life.  Remember that the key to living a fruitful and successful Christian life is to consistently be controlled by the Holy Spirit moment by moment and decision by decision. As you do this and obey God’s Word with a proper motivation (love for God), you will grow spiritually and have a good relationship with God. 

 

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