Are you a mature Christian or staying a baby Christian?
As we become Christians an astounding thing happens, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. (Read Ephesians 1:13-14)
A mature Christian?
The Holy Spirit Who lives within us wants to transform us into mature Christians. In other words, the Spirit doesn't want us to stay as immature babies in Christ, controlled by our sinful desires. A mature Christian is one who acts very much like Jesus. (Read Ephesians 4:13-16, 5:1-2) The Spirit will slowly but surely mature us, but we need to choose to cooperate with Him.
I have watched my grandkids since they were babies. They could only drink milk, as babies do. As they matured, the babies become toddlers who demand solid food to eat. As toddlers, if you gave them only milk, they would demand food with a determined cry that got louder until the animal crackers and so on arrived. As Christians, we need to grow in Christ. We need to demand it from ourselves! We do this by cooperating with the Spirit, by allowing Him to control/lead/empower/guide us. (Read John 14:26, 16:13-15; Ephesians 3:16-20, 4:30-32, 5:17-18)
Brothers and sisters, when I was there, I could not talk to you the way I talk to people who are led by the Spirit. I had to talk to you like ordinary people of the world. You were like babies in Christ. And the teaching I gave you was like milk, not solid food. I did this because you were not ready for solid food. And even now you are not ready. You are still not following the Spirit. You are jealous of each other, and you are always arguing with each other. This shows that you are still following your own selfish desires... 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (ERV)
Our sin nature
Even with the Holy Spirit living within us, we still have a sin nature (the flesh) which tempts us to sin. (Read Psalm 51:5; Mark 14:38; 1 Corinthians 10:13) Yes, as Christians, we do have the power not to sin, but there still is a battle raging within us, at times wanting what our selfish desires want, not what God wants. You have a moment by moment choice - to obey God (His Word) or your selfish desires. When I allow my selfish desires to lead me, instead of God's Spirit, believe me it never turns out as wonderful as I thought it would.
Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:13-15 NASB®
Let the Spirit lead you
Are you walking by the Spirit or letting the Spirit lead you? (Read Galatians 5:16-25)
How to let the Spirit lead you:
- Love God and others. Loving God with your whole being means the Spirit is leading you. (Read Mark 12:28-33; Ephesians 3:16-20)
- Let God's Word and prayer guide your mind, heart, will, and emotions. This will allow the Spirit to lead you. (Read Psalm 1:1-3, 4:1, 119:105; Jeremiah 33:3; Philippians 4:6-7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:21-25)
- Be trusting in or relying on God. When you are trusting in God, the Holy Spirit is leading you. (Read Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 17:5-8; Hebrews 11:6)
- Get sin out of your life. Ask the Spirit to show you any sin in your life, and to help you stop it. (Read Psalm 32:3-5; John 16:7-8; Jude 19-21) Remember, He is your Helper; He wants to help you!
God gave us a handy list in Galatians 5:22-23, so we can check our lives to see if we are walking by His Spirit, or by our own flesh (sinful nature). (Read Romans 7:18-8:8)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ... If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit ... Galatians 5:22-26 NASB®
If you have the fruit of the Spirit in your life, that means you are allowing the Spirit to lead you. If you are not producing these character traits then you are leading yourself. I believe no one is led by the Spirit all the time, but to be like Jesus we need the Spirit to be leading us most of the time. Be honest. Who is leading you most of the time, the Spirit or yourself? You have a choice!
Because of God's Spirit, Gini