A Spirit-filled life does not mean one that is problem-free. Christians who are under the control of the Holy Spirit will still make mistakes, have difficulties, and fall into sin. But there are two definite characteristics that distinguish Spirit-filled followers of Christ from other Christians and from unbelievers.
First, they are not controlled by their circumstances, and second, they refocus quickly after having sinned.
When the Holy Spirit is in charge, our attitude will not be determined by what’s going on around us. In other words, life doesn’t have to be stress-free in order for us to know peace—our spiritual joy won’t diminish even if we should meet with disappointment.
Anyone can be loving, kind, and self-controlled in seasons of blessing. But what happens to our attitude in trying times? The real test of who we are occurs not when things are going our way but when misfortune shows up. If the Spirit is in charge, we will learn to do four things: to love when we want to hate; to practice kindness when we are accused; to respond gently when others are harsh; and to have self-control when temptation strikes hard.
None of us will do all of this perfectly because there is still “self” within us. But when we sin, we will respond quickly to the Spirit’s prompting. He won’t have to work hard to get our attention, because we are under His authority. We will recognize our wrong action, confess it, and refocus on God’s ways.
If you are a Christ-follower, who is in control of your life?