Under the Influence
“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Galatians 5:16
When a man is under the influence of alcohol (or any drug, for that matter), he surrenders control to the influence of the substance. This is not news to anyone reading these words. Our culture is filled with example after example. Everything changes when a family member regularly drinks to excess. Speech is slurred. Words either don’t make sense or are misused against people. Anger is unleashed. Depression is magnified. It’s as if there’s a ticking time bomb in the house, waiting to explode.
Ironically, the Bible seizes our familiarity with alcohol and its influence over people to make this very same point. This time it is addressed to God’s man concerning his relationship to the Holy Spirit: Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:17-20)
We feed the Holy Spirit’s abilities to win these battles in our lives by surrendering to His control, the same way we surrender our minds to the influence of alcohol. God gave us a guide because He knew we would need one. This was not a suggestion of Jesus. He commanded us to be filled with His Spirit because we would be impotent without his guidance in our lives. Once we confess (agree with God) about our sin, He asks us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit.
Father, you know the power of sin; fill me now with your Holy Spirit.