What is a normal Christian? What picture comes to your mind? Perhaps you picture a person who attends church, gives to charity every now and again, lives a respectable life, and goes about his business no different from the average man in the street. Sad to say, our society equates the nominal Christian with a normal Christian. But in fact, the nominal Christian lives a sub-normal Christian life.
What then is a normal Christian? A normal Christian is one who is filled with the Holy Spirit. The normal Christian, the Spirit-filled Christian, is one in whom the Spirit takes complete control.
At Pentecost, when the disciples received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they gave vent to this power in them. Onlookers were amazed and mistakenly thought the disciples were drunk. Peter had to repudiate that charge, saying they were exuberant because they were filled with the Spirit.
The Spirit-filled life overflows with joy. It characterized the early disciples; it was a hallmark of the early-day Salvationists. The Spirit of God enables us to have joy and give thanks always and in all circumstances.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). This ninefold fruit of the Spirit expresses the Spirit-filled life. These qualities are found in the life of our Lord, so to be Spirit-filled is to live the life of Christ. A Spirit-filled person is a reproduction of, or a manifestation of, the life of Christ.
We value the fellowship with believers in the place of worship, but if our faith is to mean anything at all it has to be expressed in life’s relationships outside the church as well. The effects of the Spirit-filled life are felt in our homes and in the society in which we live. It has its effects on the relationships of husband and wife, parent and children. Spirit-filled Christians apply Christian principles in the home, the office, the school, at work, in society.
For the Spirit to fill us, there first needs to be a self-emptying of self, sin and pride. Fullness comes at the point of full surrender. The Spirit of God, when He takes full control, revolutionizes us and the society in which we live.
Ah Ang Lim, The Salvationist Pulpit