When a person is under the influence of the Holy Spirit they find they are also above the influence of many other things.
For example, a person under the influence of the Holy Spirit is above the influence of petty backbiting. When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit you discover a new love for your neighbor. If they do well you wish them well; you do not desire to compete with them or tear them down. If your neighbor is cruel to you, you find within yourself a new desire to love them, not hate them, in return. As Paul says, “Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit you find you are above the influence of animosity.
When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit you are above the influence of the law. As Paul stated, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18). This does not mean you are not under the laws of the land and the authorities that are in place; we are all to obey them — “…be subject to the governing authorities… pay taxes…” (Rom. 13:1, 6).
Rather, a person under the influence of the Holy Spirit is not trying to live by some self-enforced code of standards. One does not approach righteousness as a difficult list of things one must do or not do. Instead, one finds a new wholesomeness establishing itself in their heart… the things they now desire to do or not do are changing, making them a new kind of person. A person who does not need rules to do good, but is now simply becoming a good person. As Paul stated, “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezek. 36:26,27)
When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you are also above the influence of your baser animalistic desires. The Bible calls this “the flesh,” our fallen state since choosing rebellion over relationship with God. “Walk by the Spirit,” writes Paul, “and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)
So the Christian’s job is to make sure he stays “under the influence,” not of corrupting things, but of the Holy Spirit Who indwells every believer. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (v.25) says Paul.
How do we do that? — That’s Pastor Steve’s topic next Sunday! But don’t wait for me to blog about it next week, come have a listen for yourself.
For more information on Lincoln Baptist Church, or to listen to archived Sunday messages, check out our website.
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