The police officer politely but firmly asked me to step out of my car. It was late at night in 1977 and I was “driving under the influence” again. But this time, it wasn’t illegal stuff, just overdoses of the Holy Ghost! Singing songs to Jesus while driving home in my 1961 VW, I must have become a bit “tipsy” in Him, but I was sober. The officer wasn’t sure of my explanation when I said I was only being carried away with joy and praise to Jesus; he needed to see for himself. So out of the car I stepped as he checked my eyes and so forth. Finally, he warned me to be more attentive and drive safely, and down the road I went, resuming my songs with gusto. Wow, I had been pulled over before, but never for this.

The Holy Spirit is a persuader, empowering the truth of Jesus inside of us as we believe in Jesus. He is an influencer. Our culture is always talking about people being influencers in their spheres around them; well, the Holy Spirit is THE influencer. Our faith is in our hearts, not our heads. Therefore, we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to strengthen the inner man from the Father’s riches in glory, so that Christ can dwell in our hearts by faith. Basically, we are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit, and we need His influence to stay believing (see Ephesians 3:14-17).

Faith is NOW, not yesterday, and not tomorrow. Faith is alive even while we wait in hope. Faith is the union we hold with Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers faith as we allow His influence to persuade us. Take, for instance, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. For years, I lived condemned because I saw this as my list of “to do’s” or “to be’s”. But I learned that they are the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit, and therefore are mine to enjoy, for my nourishment in His influence!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.(Galatians 5:22, 23, NKJV).

Let’s take time in the Spirit and eat of His fruit. Starting with love, let’s allow the influence of His love to fill our hearts, cascading over our minds and emotions as we allow ourselves to be fully persuaded of God’s love for us. God really IS love. It is Who He is! There is no restriction—no law—to how much love you can receive and enjoy from God; the rest of our lives, we could meditate on His powerful influence of love (see 1 Corinthians 13) and still not comprehend its fullness. Wow.

Next we eat of His joy, the joy of the Lord, not from our circumstances, but from the Spirit. His joy is our strength as we feel His cheerfulness filling our hearts; our outlook brightens no matter what we are encountering on the earth. As we eat of His joy, we experience His kingdom: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17).

Peace is next. His peace surrounds our hearts and minds, communicating safety and His prosperity. We are safe, we are secure, we are quieted in His love. And by the way, all the fruits of the Spirit mix together into a glorious fruit salad, creating scrumptious fruit pairings where love fills joy, and peace quietly rests inside love, and so on and so forth. Check this out for yourself! Ask the Lord to show you in His Word. See if you do not experience the truth that each fruit of the Spirit informs, magnifies and amplifies the others! His Word is living and active!

Longsuffering is the fruit of being “long spirited”, and Holy Spirit is definitely long spirited. He can follow us into the future, read ahead into our destinies, recover the losses from our past, and in the end, cause all things to work together for good. He is amazing, and as we eat, we feel and experience His rest and assurance.

Kindness follows, with the helpfulness of God stooping down into our broken places, lovingly and tenderly putting us back together again. His kindness knows no limits and His willingness to sit with us and help us finish well is empowering.

With His kindness comes the fruit of goodness. God is good, and He alone is good. He has the corner on the market as far as goodness goes! Here His goodness answers our confusion and leads us into repentance as we are enabled to think differently, feel differently, and even respond differently in life. God is good!

The last three fruits of the Spirit bring us longevity and restraint. Unfortunately, we often try to start with the last fruit, self-control, but then end up trying to control ourselves. It’s a mess. We all have been there; it looks like a whole bunch of control.

So, let’s continue with His faithfulness. We feed on His faithfulness; in other words, we don’t have to remind God or doubt His ability, because He is faithful. He who promised will also bring it to pass. That’s faithfulness. We can rest, expect, and enjoy God’s promises, knowing all shall be as He has said.

His gentleness makes us great as we allow His humility to take hold of our hearts and minds. We can let God decide and not force an issue; after all, He is faithful and longsuffering in love. He will bring things forward in their perfect time, and we will inherit the earth. We have a good inheritance.

Now, after partaking of all this fruit, we can eat His self-control! Yep, God is perfectly in control in His completeness. He is complete, nothing is lacking, and nothing is at risk. How beautiful is that?

He is at rest, and we can enter His rest. We soon experience the feeling of surrender to His love, His joy, and His peace! His longsuffering, His kindness, and His goodness settle us with helpful emotions and thoughts of, “It is well.” His faithfulness and His gentleness give us buoyancy as we rise above the pressure to control. We are surrendered, and in His self -control.

Yes, beloved, one could say we are “under the influence,” being fully persuaded, becoming what we have received in Christ. As often as we need and whenever we desire, we can know the Lord here in His Spirit, with His influence being our blessed persuasion.

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