I am to be filled with the Holy Spirit

Fleshly Believers, Or Spirit-Filled Ones?

Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ.  I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were not yet able to receive it.  In fact, you are still not able, because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like ordinary people? I Corinthians 3:1-3

Hmm.  Envious people. People who fight. People who stir up strife. Some days, I don’t have to look any further than my own family to find four people like that.  And I often don’t have to look further than my church. 

Yet, my husband and I and our two children are definitely Christians.  We’ve all made the choice to trust Jesus to forgive our sins and follow Him.  My church?  It’s crawling with honest-to-goodness believers. Why then do some days find us mired in envy and strife? 

Because there are two kinds of Christians: Spirit-filled ones, and fleshly ones.  And on the contentious days, we chose to be the latter.  On those days, we look just like the people who don’t know Jesus at all.

In college, a Campus Crusade for Christ staff member helped me understand this when he poured three glasses of milk.

“These represent three people,” he said, picking up a bottle of Hershey’s syrup.  He squirted it into two of the glasses. The gooy gloop sank to the bottom. 

“The chocolate represents the Holy Spirit, so now the two glasses with chocolate in them represent Christians.  Both of them have received the Holy Spirit.  The glass without the chocolate is a non-Christian.”

He stirred up one of the chocolate glasses, and it turned a delicious shade of brown.

“This one is the Spirit-filled Christian, the one who chooses to allow the Holy Spirit to transform her character, change the way she acts and thinks. But the unstirred chocolate glass, it still looks white, right?  It’s a fleshly Christian.  She has the same amount of Holy Spirit as the other Christian, but she’s not allowing Him to fill her.  This Christian looks just like the non-Christian.  To look at her, you couldn’t tell the difference.”

Ouch.  Because just recently, I’ve been looking pretty white-milkish myself.  And this week’s study on being spirit filled is just what I need.