When you drive for Uber, you often meet some colorful people. Having given well over 1,000 rides, I really can’t remember very many, but sometimes the more unusual thing happens and you meet people whom it is hard to forget. I once picked up two very distinguished and elderly ladies one night. The art gallery where I picked them up was in a rather upscale part of town and the gallery was well known to those who are in the know of such things.
As I pulled up to the curb to pick up the passengers, there were 3 women standing there. One was the director of the gallery and the two elderly ladies who were well into their 80s were my passengers. It did not take long to realize that both of these ladies were totally drunk! They slurred their words and their eyes were quite bloodshot. Their behavior was typical of those who have had way too much to drink. While this is not unusual in the Uber circuit, it is rather abnormal for ladies of this particular pre war generation.
I got out of the car to help the ladies in and notice the smell of alcohol. The director of the art gallery apologized for having to call me, but said that she did not trust them to drive home by themselves. It seemed that included in the evening’s activities of looking at art, there was also a wine and cheese tasting. I asked the director how much they had to drink. “All of it!” was her reply. It looked it as these two old birds could barely stand. We poured them into the back seat of my car and I promised to get them home safely. Away I drove.
Upon arrival at the designated address I looked in the back seat and both of these ladies were passed out! They were out cold. I tried waking them, but to little avail. Finally, after much shouting and patting them on the hand, I was able to wake them and get them to the front door. I helped one lady with her keys and ushered them into their house. Again, I know how to deal with a drunk. I just had never seen one quite so old.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians to stop being controlled by wine, but instead be controlled by the Spirit of God. How can you tell someone has had too much to drink? Well, it is rather obvious. First, you look at the way they act. Do they look steady? Do they look like they are aware of what is going on around them? Do they look like they know where they are? Second, you listen to them. Are they able to carry on a conversation? What is their language like? Are they talking nonsense? Third, you look at the way they walk. Are they walking straight? Are they able to do so without swaying too far in the wrong direction? Do they stumble? Do they stagger?
Well, if that is how you tell if someone has had too much to drink, then how do you tell if they are controlled by the Spirit? The same way. First, you look at the way they act. Not everyone in church acts under control of the Spirit. I know. I am a Baptist and I have been to church business meetings that have more in favor with a blood sport and a cock fight than the appropriate conducting of God’s business. I am convinced that Christians in the world today would have a much better reputation if we would just act right!
Second, you look at their conversation. A drunk talks like a drunk. A Spirit controlled person has their conversation under the control of the Spirit. I am not talking about speaking in tongues. I am referring to the things they talk about and the positive nature of their statements. Are they affirming? Are they encouraging? Are they mindful of good things? Are they concerned about others around them? Once I was at a get together and met a young lady whose entire conversation began and ended with the latest Harry Potter movie and book. That is all that she wanted to speak about and looked rather disappointed when I could not engage her in such talk. ( I am a Trekkie myself.) As Christians our conversation needs to be more about the goodness of God, and the glory of Him who died for us rather than the mundane things of life.
A third way you can tell a person is under the control of the Spirit is to watch the way they walk through life. Are they in the right places? Are they steady in their walk? Do they stagger down the theological road of life? A man I have known for many years is one of the most gifted evangelists that I have ever known. He truly has that “harvest gift” when it comes to leading people to Christ. Yet, in spite of a vast library of books that he has read and digested, he really does not know what he wants to be theologically when he grows up. Once he was a fiery evangelist. Later, he wanted to be a pastor of a mega church. Then he wanted to love everyone and go into motivational preaching. All well and good. Then he became a raving charismatic. He has even embraced certain aspects of Open Theism (The belief that God does not know everything.) Later, he became a social justice warrior. He currently is in the health and wealth aspects of the theological zeitgiest. Over the years, I have watched him stagger from one guru to the next. A man (or woman) who is controlled by the Spirit embraces truth and refuses to be associated with theological error. A Spirit controlled person is steady in his ways and in his walk. This does not mean he does not change direction, but rather his walk is not aimless but determined. He knows where he is going and how to get their.
Spirit controlled temperament is meant to be a daily thing. Just as you can tell if a person drinks on a daily basis, so too can you tell if a person imbibes of the Spirit of God on a daily basis.