An amazing and miraculous quality of Christian life is the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Everyone who becomes a Christian receives the Holy Spirit. That means God indwells us.
“This is how we know that we live in him, and he lives in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” 1John 4:13
“You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9
Wonderful as it is to have the Holy Spirit in us, it is also easy to put aside all consciousness of God in us and God’s Holy Spirit as part of our lives.
One way to do that is to be focused on this natural life and the things that our human nature gets preoccupied with, such as our selfishness and pride, our love for material things, or for looking good in the eyes of others.
The apostle Paul calls that kind of living as ‘carnal’ or fleshly, focused on earthly things.
“Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on fleshly things; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Being carnally minded is death; but being spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:5,6
The very Spirit of Almighty God can be dwelling in you without you giving it a moment’s thought. The very Spirit that came upon the great men of old and which empowered the prophets and miracle workers is in your life; the life of every Christian. Yet you can squelch and put out the fire of the Spirit in your life.
Paul warns us to not put out the Spirit’s fire.
“Do not quench the Spirit.” 1Thessalonians 5:19
So, what would it be like to be letting the Spirit of God have full influence in our life?
To understand that, consider the remarks of Paul when he compared living by his own resources with acting by the Spirit’s influence.
“How will it be? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding: I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” 1Corinthians 14:15
Note that Paul recognises that to fully yield to the Holy Spirit means we allow the Holy Spirit to do things in and through us that are outside our understanding. They are not controlled by our mind or our training or our pre-planning or program.
To be ‘in the Spirit’ is to be in a place where we are not taking control, but allowing God’s Holy Spirit to bring to us experiences outside of ourselves.
One obvious example in the Bible is the ability to speak and pray in a language people have not learned and do not even know. The believers did not know what they were saying, but knew they were speaking from the Holy Spirit’s stirring inside them, to give wonderful praise and effectual prayer.
“For if I pray in an unknown language (tongue), my spirit prays, but my mind is not able to participate.” 1Corinthians 14:14
The Apostle John used the term “in the Spirit” when referring to being given amazing revelations that became the Book of Revelation.
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and behind me I heard a great voice, that sounded like a trumpet” Revelation 1:10
So let’s take the idea of being ‘in the Spirit’ and the example of speaking in tongues (unlearned languages) and see how the Bible explains how Christians can live.
“Walk in the Spirit, and you will not bring to birth the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
“Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” Galatians 5:22
“God gave them witness with signs and wonders and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.” Hebrews 2:4
“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1Corinthians 12:11
“But you, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” Jude 1:20
In each of these situations God’s Holy Spirit is the source of the activity and its outcome (fruit). So, as we saw already with speaking in tongues or singing in the spirit, these things are actually outside our mental control. They are not produced by going to Bible Studies or learning certain routines. They come as we yield ourselves to the moving of the Holy Spirit, and allow our mind and will to not put out the fire lit by the Spirit.
To give another view of the same thing let me mention the Holy Spirit being referred to as wind.
“The wind blows where it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it has come from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
Now consider John the Baptist, a prophet of God, moved by God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus referred to John as a ‘reed blown in the wind’.
“Jesus said to the multitudes concerning John, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?” Matthew 11:7
John the Baptist’s message was that all people are just like the grass.
“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What will I cry? All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field” Isaiah 40:6
John, as one moved by the Holy Spirit, was grass blown by the wind of the Spirit.
In the same way we will be ‘in the Spirit’, walk in the Spirit, live in the Spirit, manifest the fruit of the Spirit, and exercise the gifts of the Spirit, praying in the Spirit and singing in the Spirit, not by doing things our mind understands or controls, but by giving in to the impulses the Holy Spirit breathes into us and through us.
I encourage you to recognise the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life and to pursue what it means to live life In The Spirit.