When we hear that someone is ‘under the influence,’ we automatically think that the person is intoxicated or high on drugs. When someone is under the influence of alcohol, there is usually slurred speech, inability to walk straight, and redness of the eyes. Being under the influence of anything shows up in how we act, our speech, our walk and in our eyes.
As we embark upon this holiday season, let us be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit fill us to the point that our walk is different, our speech is different, and our eyes can see with clarity. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul wrote: “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.” As people enjoy the libations of the holiday season, let our hearts be filled with the Spirit.
When we are under the influence of the Spirit, we can and will do things that we would not ordinarily do in our flesh. When under the influence of the Holy Ghost, we are not the same. It is impossible to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit and be the same. Once we get the Holy Spirit (the spirit of God on the inside of us), the things that we used to do and how we used to think will change. The Holy Spirit influences us to love, to forgive, to serve others, to walk upright, and to believe in the impossible.
When we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, rather than cursing someone who has hurt us, we can respond with kindness. When we are under the influence, rather than being ungrateful for our gifts, we will give God praise for whatever we find under the Christmas tree. When we are under the influence, instead of having an attitude of receiving, we will have one of giving. When we are under the influence, our temptations and flesh will not get the best of us. Rather than thinking of ourselves, we will think of others.
This is what happens when we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul warns us not to get drunk with the wine of the world. The wine of the world is not necessarily spirits like vodka, Hennessey, or Bud Light. They are evil spirits that influence us to operate in ways that are contrary to the will of God. They cause us to stammer and stagger. This kind of drunkenness results in destruction, unrest, anger, violence, hatred and division.
As we look around at what is happening in our families, communities and country, we can see that the world needs to sober up. This Christmas, we need to renew our faith in God. Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, we need to be overcome with the Holy Spirit so that our influence can influence others. We, like Mary, can give birth to our destinies. As we shop, decorate and feast, let us do so under the influence of the Holy Spirit.