When you hear the phrase "under the influence," it usually is not a good thing... especially if it comes from the mouth of a guy that drives one of those cars that has the pretty blue and red lights that swirl around. And yet yesterday as I was reading in Luke 4, Jesus was described as a guy that was "under the influence." It says in Luke 4:1
'And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was under the influence of the Spirit in the wilderness.'
As I zoomed out to look at the general context, I began to see lots of mentions of the Spirit in relation to Jesus. At His baptism it says that
'the Holy Spirit desended upon Him in bodily form like a dove..' (Luke 3:22).
After enduring a time of testing by the devil, it says that He
'returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit...' (Luke 4:14).
The first words out of His mouth to inaugurate His public three-year ministry were
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me...' (Luke 4:18).
Hmmmm...Seems to be a pattern here. Jesus was filled with the Spirit, under the influence of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit and called by the Spirit.
What does this mean for us? What or who are we "under the influence" of? I know for me when my flesh is weak (tired, hungry, bored, my wife is suggesting we spend money, etc) I get very susceptible to temptation. The devil knows this. That's why he launched a three-part attack on Jesus after He had not eaten for 40 days! I get cranky and irritable after missing a meal....I can't imagine what I'd be like after 40 days!
So as we work our way through the parties, shopping, financial stress, psychotic drivers competing for parking spaces, and everyone's expectations on you that are all wrapped up in the Christmas Season, let's remember this very important truth about Jesus. Jesus-- God wrapped in flesh-- illustrates for us that we desperately need to be "under the influence" of the Spirit.
How? Carve out time to pray, meditate on His Word, slow down, pray throughout your day, say "no," check your motives often, and get someone around you who knows and loves you enough to speak truth into you.
Striving to walk in step with His Spirit,