“But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” Luke 9:55
Okay, I’m embarrassed to admit this because I’ve been so critical of others doing it, but I was preoccupied the other day as I was turning off a busy street into the Target parking lot. The effect of which was I straddled two lanes before I made the turn. Bad. Very bad. I might have never been aware of my mistake if not for the man driving the pickup behind me who snapped me back to the moment by yelling, literally screaming, obscenities. It was a little over the top for the offense committed, more as if I’d damaged him personally rather than inconvenienced him for thirty seconds.
You know the first thing that popped into my mind when I was safely in the parking lot? For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows his time is short. Am I saying that man was a devil? Maybe, maybe not. But he had the rage of hell all over him. He was seething with it. The most bothersome thing is the fact that angry, I mean really furious, people are becoming so common. Now there’s a reliable sign of encroaching darkness.
Everyone has different emotional reactions to situations. That’s what we call them, emotional reactions. Some people think (incorrectly) that I’m a very strong person, but I fight times of melancholy that border on despair. I do. During one of those blue times, not too very long ago, when I could feel my countenance changing, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. “That’s a demon,” He said. I suddenly realized my emotional response was a lot more spiritual than I realized. Of course, I was horrified. I immediately resisted giving into the filthy feeling and it immediately evaporated.
Ages ago, Paul wrote to the church at Galatia that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We usually interpret his words to mean that we need to strive to have these qualities in our lives. Often, we look at them as character traits we should develop. We seldom recognize that Paul is not admonishing us to try harder to be loving, gentle, etc. He’s listing a few practical indicators of what spirit is operating in us. Or what Spirit is not.
I’m not a fan of too much introspection, of self-examination to the point of narcissism. But the Bible does give us some measures for our behavior and our attitudes. Only trouble is, we’re usually too busy deceiving ourselves to make good use of them. So He gives us other believers to help out. When several people make the same observations concerning us, it’s time to pay attention. At least don’t dismiss it. If the observation is consistent with God’s Word it doesn’t matter if it comes from a donkey’s mouth. Sometimes we just need a little help to realize what spirit we’re of.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, beloved, there is liberty.