When Peter delivered that opening sermon on the Day of Pentecost, he promised the "gift of the Spirit" to all who would "repent and be baptized" (Acts 2:38). The Apostle Paul also wrote to the Romans and said, "But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Romans 8:9).
All who are Christians have been given the Spirit. Why do not all show the influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives? Is it not a matter of utilizing the gift?
One can receive a gift and fail to use it. For all practical purposes it is like one being given a tractor to plow a field but never using it. The power was there, but it was not used. I would not want to be misunderstood. I know there are numerous times in God's Word when phrases like, "The Spirit came mightily upon" someone, that is as an event of the moment, but that in no way discounts the fact that all Christians have the Spirit dwelling in them.
The problem arises when one fails to allow the Spirit to influence and reign over all of one's life. Jesus gave a very clear way to determine whether the influence in a person's life was good or bad. He said, "For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit" (Luke 6:43). So there you are, fruit is the thing one looks for in matters of judgement.
What fruit do we look for in "Spirit-filled Christians?"
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Words will not prove the test! A tree can easily be called "apple" but if it does not produce apples it is one of two things. Either it is an apple tree that fails, and Jesus tells us it will be "cut down and thrown into the fire," or it is not an apple tree and calling it one won't change it.
Paul builds on this thought with these powerful words:
"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5:24-26).
Now, since we are all "Spirit-filled Christians," let us determine that we will live in such a way that even our enemies can not fail to see the fruit of the Spirit clearly exemplified in the life we exhibit.