God will not mislead us

Published 8:19 am Thursday, January 5, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I’ve been trying to teach my teenagers how others can influence them for good or bad. The phrase “under the influence” is a powerful thought but I’ve only heard it used in relation to alcohol and drugs. Can it be a good thing? — T.P.

Dear T.P.: Society speaks of people being “under the influence.” Someone, for instance, who is controlled by alcohol, is dominated by alcohol. Its presence and power have overridden normal abilities and actions. To be Spirit-filled according to Scripture is to be controlled or dominated by the Spirit of God’s presence and power (see Ephesians 5:18).
The Apostle Paul was using this as an example when he wrote Ephesians 5:18. As believers in Christ we’re to be filled with the Spirit, or “under the influence” of God’s Spirit. God will not mislead us as we obediently follow Him. But when other things outside of Christ fill us, these “things” can lead us down paths that don’t honor and glorify Him.
To “be filled with the Spirit” pictures a continual filling. We’re not filled once for all but filled constantly. Christians aren’t to be emptied of the Spirit to later become full again; rather they should constantly draw on the direction and energy of the Spirit.
Consider the Mississippi or the Amazon. Much may be taken from them, but they do not run dry. The sources from which they come keep sending water down their course. These rivers illustrate the life of the Spirit-filled Christian. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me… out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). He did not speak of drops of blessings but rather rivers of living water. The supply’s never exhausted because it has its source in the Holy Spirit who is inexhaustible. This is a tremendous blessing and promise of God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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