Dennis and I were engaged for 6 very short weeks. It’s a great story but too long to tell you now. Maybe another time! But in the midst of all the fast paced wedding planning Dennis and I began the deep immersion of learning each other.
He was in Colorado and I was in South Carolina so our communication was all by phone. Often we’d stay up till after midnight asking and sharing:
-Tell me about your mother.
-Tell me about your father.
-What are your hopes for our future family?
-What are your dreams for our life?
-What do you like and not like?
Essentially we were eagerly pleading, “I want to know all about you. Don’t leave anything out!” Even though we could’ve never imagined the depths that we’d share over the last four decades, the intentional romantic whirlwind of our engagement whet our appetites with a desire to know more and more of each other.
This is where I hope you find yourself with the last six weeks focused on getting to know the Holy Spirit. You’ve learned that the Holy Spirit is:
I’ll admit that I felt a little odd at first calling the Spirit my friend. It sounded presumptuous. But as I’ve talked to Him more and more, shared my life with Him, I’ve become increasingly comfortable calling Him friend.
He is not offended at all by my familiarity with Him. In fact, He invites it and desires it. He can be your best friend because He is always with you. Before I believed and gave my life to Jesus, I only hoped God was with me. I knew about Him but didn’t know Him personally.
But when I surrendered my life to Him and invited Him to live within me, the Spirit of Christ came to dwell both in and with me. He has been given to be my constant Companion.
2. Your Helper
Just as we have a name most people know us by, so the Holy Spirit is most often called Helper. In Greek, the word is Paraclete, which means comforter, advocate, or counselor. It’s a name with layers of meaning and endless examples in history. Jesus knew we, too, would face days or seasons of fear, great loss, and confusion when we have no idea what our next step should be. His eternal words of comfort are for you and me, His disciples today.
As He said to them, He says to us: You will be okay because I will send you the Helper. “Let not your heart be troubled, believe in Me” (John 14:1). “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you” (John 14:18). “The Helper will be with you and in you…” (John 14:17).
Jesus wanted His disciples, and us, to hear His heart of love–I will not abandon you. I will not leave you alone and without help. “Believe Me,” He implored them, and us. Like the many times I reassured my little ones, “Mommy will be back. I promise. I will not abandon you.” So Jesus does the same with us. The Helper will be with you forever.
3. Your Teacher
The Helper will also be your teacher, Jesus explained. Just as He Himself was Teacher to His disciples and His many followers who had come to depend on His presence, leading, teaching, direction, and correction; so Jesus reassures them He will still lead them, but by “the Spirit of truth.”
Jesus clarified further: “He, the Helper, will teach you all things…” (John 14:26). All is a tiny little word, but every word of Scripture is inspired, which means the Spirit is the teacher of all that is true in the universe. God is the genius behind all knowledge. As the Creator of the world He is the author of all truth. “The world is Mine and all it contains” (Psalm 50:12).
To make this practical, how does the Spirit of truth teach all things?
Someone I look forward to meeting in heaven one day is George Washington Carver, a true friend of God. George was completely comfortable with God and asked Him questions with abandon.
Years after he became famous for all his inventions with the peanut, Carver was asked to share his story before Congress. A senator asked, “Dr. Carver, does the Bible tell about peanuts?”
“No, sir,” Dr. Carver replied. “But it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and He did.” Inspired by Dr. Carver, I have learned to ask God for all kinds of things that years ago I would have felt were too unimportant to bring to the King of the Universe.
Jesus repeated the instruction to us in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” He knew He was asking the impossible. He is asking us to do something that only He can initiate in us.
He knows far better than we do how much we need our Purifier, the Holy Spirit. We can only see our sin and opposition to God as the Holy Spirit shows it to us. Once I see what the Holy Spirit has shown me about my heart, I have a choice of surrendering to Him and His desires, which are for my good and the good of others, or refusing.
It is then, when surrendered to the will of the Spirit, that my motives can become pure. Only He can produce purity in my heart.
5. Your Guide
“When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13).
Here are some ways the Holy Spirit has guided me and others:
-In my marriage, I have experienced the Holy Spirit giving me clear words to express. A few weeks ago, Dennis and I weren’t resolving a conflict. I was able to explain how I felt in a simple sentence that made perfect sense to my husband. The clarity that resulted felt almost magical. I know it’s because I’ve been writing these study posts and have been talking to the Spirit, my Friend, more than ever.
-With my children, I have also experienced the Spirit giving me words to help direct and instruct them.
-With friends and coworkers, the Spirit helps me answering a question from a woman asking for advice, and when speaking publicly. I want my words and my actions to honor God. So I am asking the Holy Spirit to guide me, speak through me, and give me wisdom to know what to say, that I will grow in doing nothing on my own initiative.
-In my daily moments, He intervenes to redirect me. Even today as I was writing this, I had to leave home for an appointment. As I walked to my car, I heard, “Call Mary.” Having been thinking so much about the Spirit, my Guide, I knew the words were not imagined. Mary is my friend who will be having brain surgery on July 20. I’d love for you
In His great kindness and love for us, He often goes before us, working out details or circumstances, so when we get to that moment in time we see evidence of His provision and preparation.
6. Your Truth
We hear many voices every day proclaiming messages from three influences:
- the devil,
- the world, and
- the flesh.
Jesus told us the devil is the Father of Lies. So every suggestion, every single word, from him will be contrary to God. Anything from his voice is obviously wrong, even if it might feel comfortable, inviting, or convenient.
The world we live is not yet subject to the King of kings. God, in His mercy, allows people to live in disobedience to His authority and from these millions of people on earth come voices: opinions on how to live, what choices to make, and how to be happy.
God’s Spirit longs to give us discernment as to which words are true, which are partial truths, and which are falsehoods.
The Bible is the Spirit-inspired vocabulary God uses to speak to us. “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16) and written by “men [who] spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
Become fluent in His Word and you will more easily recognize His Spirit’s voice. Remember, learning a new language takes time. Ask your Helper to be your translator as you continue growing in fluency.
Now that you know Him, I hope He’s grown a deep hunger in you for more knowing. Don’t stop studying Him, meeting with Him, talking with Him, meditating on Him, now that the Summer Blog Club is over.
Invite your friends to stay on the journey with you too. Or start a new group this fall. Your learning time together doesn’t have to be over.
May you continue in a lifelong submersion of understanding Who He is and walking in His power every day.