What Does It Mean to Live in the Holy Spirit?

Hi, friends. In my Sunday School class, we are reading a Pentecostal book on the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), though our denomination is Methodist. In the chapter on joy, the authors speak of being filled with the Holy Spirit as being akin to a wave of electricity. I found that description debateable.

If the Holy Spirit has ever emboldened or impassioned you in a dramatic way, praise be to God! But the analogy between the Holy Spirit and a literal wave of electricity was drastic enough that I felt compelled to add my two cents.

I responded that yes, the Spirit is a powerful force, but their analogy makes the Holy Spirit seem inaccessibly mystical. I believe that fantastical descriptions can discourage believers; those comparisons make people think that they haven’t encountered the Holy Spirit if they don’t have an intense, borderline-miraculous experience to share.

Living in the Spirit is a lifestyle that we choose over and over, every day. Seeking God’s Spirit is a discipline. It is the manifestation of “praying without ceasing.” It is deliberately thinking “Lord, guide my steps” in all the little situations of the day–

  • when a family member/friend/coworker/etc. talks our ears off
  • when a coworker or customer is rude
  • when we get behind someone driving slowly
  • when someone’s riding our bumper
  • when the stress is about to make us explode
  • when we get annoyed with our significant other
  • when our significant other is annoyed with us
  • when we have the opportunity to do someone a favor

“Lord, give me patience.”

“Lord, give me self-control.”

“Lord, help me forgive.”

“Lord, help me be bold to share my faith.”

“Lord, make me a servant.”

Above all the fruits of the Spirit is love, and in all these instances, the root of the prayer is to make us more loving.

Living in the Spirit is living out God’s love. That love feels like an electric wave sometimes when it “hits” us through some epiphany, such as hearing a worship song that stirs us deep inside, feeling like the preacher is speaking directly to us, suddenly having a moment of perfect clarity where we see our own sin, etc.

But living in the Spirit in practical terms is a simple surrendering to His will, over and over, every day.

Thanks for reading! How would you describe living in the Spirit? What is your take on the comparison to a wave of electricity? Let me know in the comments.