Before my husband headed off to handle evacuations, he bought us tickets to see the circus over the weekend. The children had a ball! Even Lilly Faith stayed awake for most of the action. We had fabulous seats--on the floor, just feet from the performers and animals. It had all of the makings of your typical circus: acrobats, clowns, tumblers, elephants, and tigers.
At one point, a beautiful brunette dressed in sequins and rhinestones came out to tame 6 white tigers. They acted like big kitty cats, but every now and then made you realize they were dangerous. I enjoyed watching the pretty lady crack her whip and make them do tricks. You could tell when they got mad at her--they would show their fangs and growl at her. But she also had a rod with a nice chunk of raw meat on the end of it which she used to entice them to do their tricks. The control she had over those tigers was pretty impressive. If one moved out of place, she raised her voice, cracked her whip and they obeyed!
Paul talked about control in Romans 8:9, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." That's pretty cut and dry, isn't it?
So do spirit-filled Christians still sin? Yes, but not while they are controlled by the Spirit. Having the Spirit of God within does not always mean surrendering to his control. To use Paul's language, we can be in the Spirit, but not live according to the Spirit. I can live in another part of the world and not live according to its customs, patterns and ways. The journey of being a disciple of Christ involves learning how to let the Spirit have control. But unlike that tiger-tamer, God doesn't have to crack His whip to get us to let Him control us; for that is a choice we make on our own.