Have you experienced any of these in your Christian life?
How can you move beyond this to more of what God desires for you?
God desires us to both experience his grace and live in the light of his truth.
Followers of Christ who are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and filled with his love, will change the world around them for good. In this relationship we experience the freedom of being fully known and unconditionally accepted by God.
This meets our deepest needs as humans. It is as we surrender to God and trust in his Spirit to empower us, that our desires, interests and impact increasingly reflect Jesus. This is true for all believers.
We are known and accepted
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1a
A Spirit-led life is available to all Christians
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognise him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
Why aren’t most Christians living this life? Because...
It is impossible to fulfill God’s desire for us when we fail to depend on his Spirit.
When we trust in our own ability to follow Jesus, when we live to please ourselves more than God or choose to live independently from him, failure and frustration are inevitable. In doing these things, we rely on our sinful nature rather than on his Spirit. Our Christian life was never meant to be this way, but it is too often our default.
Our constant tension
“I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”
“How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”
[Jesus speaking]: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”
What are the areas in your life where you’re currently failing to trust the Holy Spirit?
Being filled with the Holy Spirit by faith is the only way we can experience the life God desires us to have.
At its heart, being a Christian is not about what we can do for God, but what God does in and through us. Whenever we trust in ourselves and cease to depend on the Holy Spirit, God offers us a way back to a life of grace and truth.
How can you be filled by the Holy Spirit?
We experience the Holy Spirit’s empowering through faith. This can only happen as we rely on the trustworthiness of God himself and on the command and promise of his word.
God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
God promises he will always answer when we pray according to his will
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”
1 John 5:14-15
How can we develop a lifestyle of depending on the Holy Spirit?
Spiritual breathing is a powerful analogy which can help you experience moment-by-moment dependence on the Spirit. Just as we need to breathe to stay alive, ongoing spiritual breathing is equally as crucial for us to thrive as Spirit-filled Christians.
Confess your sins the moment you become aware of them.
Agree with God concerning your sins and thank him for his forgiveness, according to 1 John 1:9 (“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness”).
Confession requires repentance - trust God to change your wrong attitudes and actions.
Surrender control of your life back to Christ and trust in the Holy Spirit to fill you with his presence and power by faith, according to his command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14- 15).
These circles describe three types of lives.
Which circle best describes you?
Which would you like to describe you?
Would you like to respond by faith and be filled with the Holy Spirit right now?
Then breathe spiritually by praying through this now!
Agree with God about where you have sinned.
Thank God that he has forgiven you.
Trust God to change your wrong attitudes and actions.
Surrender control of your life back to Christ.
Trust in the Holy Spirit to fill you with his presence and power by faith, according to his command and promise.
How would your life look different if you were in the habit of depending on the Holy Spirit?
Over time, Spirit-filled Christians will experience transformational growth in all areas of their life.
As you continue to practice spiritual breathing and develop a lifestyle of relying on the Holy Spirit, he produces his character within you to change the world around you. This isn’t just for the ‘super Christian’- it’s the life intended for all followers of Jesus.
Our desires and direction are radically reoriented
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves... Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
Galatians 5:16, 24-25
The Spirit makes us effective witnesses for Christ
[Jesus speaking]: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
What does this growth look like?
Here are a few practical outworkings:
You become more aware of when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to speak up or do something.
You have a greater desire and boldness to share with others about what Jesus has done for you and the difference he is making in your life.
You notice your motives becoming increasingly like Jesus’; your sin upsets you more and you’re more able to resist temptation.
What are some other changes you would be excited to see over time?
Living it out
Ongoing growth results from developing the habit of spiritual breathing over a lifetime. The following illustration is designed to be used in a discipleship context. It describes four types of relationship with God.
Each time you meet with your discipler we encourage you to revisit this illustration, refer back to the previous points, and ask each other the following questions:
How have you been depending on the Holy Spirit?
Which relationship best describes yours with God? Why?
What could you surrender and trust God with right now? What does that practically look like?
Take time to pray and breathe spiritually together.