Why So Few Christians Are Filled with the Holy Spirit

Bill Bright

Christ's first disciples and followers were ordinary people – they were fishermen and tradesmen. They didn’t have large amounts of wealth or status. They were ordinary. Then, at Pentecost, something extraordinary happened – they were filled with the Holy Spirit and life was never the same.

When we accept Christ, we, too, go from being ordinary people to being filled with the Holy Spirit. We are dramatically changed; we are a new creation. We are changed from ordinary men and women of God to  men and women who are extraordinarily enabled by His Spirit–bold in faith and instruments of God's power.

Today, the same Holy Spirit with His life-changing power resides in  each of us. Yet, tragically, multitudes of Christians go through life without ever experiencing the satisfied and fruitful life that Christ promised to all who trust Him.

In this lesson, you will examine the reasons so few Christians have experienced the empowering of the Spirit, even though He lives within them. And you will have the opportunity to consider any barriers you may have put up between yourself and God. Meditate and reflect on how each may apply to your own life.

The Heart's Battlefield

  1. How does Paul describe himself in Romans 7:19-24? How does this description make you feel?
  2. In your own words, explain why so many Christians are unsatisfied, according to Galatians 5:16-17.

Why the Battle Is Often Lost

  1. According to each of the following verses, give one reason so few Christians are filled–directed and empowered – with the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 29:25, Luke 9:26)
  2. What is another barrier between you and the Lord that keeps you from being filled with the Spirit? (Psalm 66:18) What else can divert you from being filled with the Spirit? (I John 2:15-17)
  3. Lack of trust in God will also keep you from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Read John 3:16, Romans 8:32 and I John 3:16. Describe how these verses help you trust God fully.

Basically, the reason most Christians are not filled with the Holy Spirit is that they are unwilling to surrender to God. Being empowered is not a second experience to seek out, it’s about the daily and ongoing submission of our wills.


Life Application

  1. Examine the diagram above and write any of those characteristics, or other barriers, you are aware of between yourself and God.
  2. Prayerfully consider and then answer this question: "Am I willing to surrender my will to God?"
  3. If you are, pray this prayer with all of your heart to turn your life over to God.

Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against you. I thank you that you have forgiven my sins through Christ's death on the cross for me. I now invite you to again take your place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank you for taking control of my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.

Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.

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