If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
– John 14:15-18 NAS
Barb and I have very different tolerance for asking for help. Depending on the circumstance, one of us is very quick to ask for help while the other is not quite so anxious. This can change depending on whose activity we are doing. We often have an aversion to asking for help, at least we do as men. Women, generally are quicker to get someone’s input on where they are going, what needs to be done.
Jesus said that He was going to give His men another helper who would always be with them. The Holy Spirit is called a Paraclete. There is no one good English to capture this one idea but there are some things we do know:
1. The Holy Spirit is a helper in the same way Jesus was their helper. Jesus states this explicitly. He is not similar to Jesus but the very same. When you look at all that Jesus was to His men we will understand why no one term captures this ministry. Jesus was a teacher, mentor, guide, servant, catalyst, confronter, faith-builder, disciple-maker, and whatever else you might add to His ministry to God’s people.
2. This person is not someone the world accepts or engages. Jesus is straight forward about this. This helper (the Spirit) is absolutely unique for God’s people. He is, in fact, indispensable to the believer. But this helper is completely beyond the capacities of unbelievers to comprehend. We need to realize that we cannot get past ourselves, by ourselves, to live out the Christian life without this Helper. Galatians tells us that we are to keep in step with the Spirit and in doing so we will not fulfill the desire of the Flesh (Gal. 5:16).
3. This help that the Father give us is a person not a “thing”. The Holy Spirit is not luck, karma or fate. He is not a force that we tap into so we can reshape our circumstances. He is a person. The key to our ability to embrace this person is realize that it is a relationship with a person. We are told that we can grieve the Spirit, usually in the context of doing bad things (Eph. 4:30). We are commanded to not quench His presence in our life. We are not to limit His power in our lives to embrace the full nature of His work in and through us.
4. God has provided, through the Spirit, every spiritual blessing we need from heaven (Eph. 1:3-4). He has done all that is necessary to bring all the resources to give us the full freedom to walk with Him. He is not holding anything back and we do not have gaps in our resources. Peter described it as having provided everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We are not helpless or victims in the call to holiness. Christ did not leave us as orphans; He has eliminated the barriers to life with Him.
5. God has given us the Spirit of truth. Truth matters and it matters a great deal. No one wants to get trapped being convinced something is true, only to find out down the road that their convictions were based on a lie. We do not want to give our lives to something false or that ultimately won’t matter. This was the same sentiment of Paul when talking about the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:19). If it isn’t true, why do it.
6. Our most strategic need is to cultivate a deep, intimate, abiding relationship with the Spirit of God. Many Christians have reduced the Spirit to simply be a moral conscience rather than the source of all the divine resources we need to live an empowered, divinely shaped life. We must learn to allow Him to help us. But we have to be convinced that we actually need Him. The danger for many of us is trying to prove to God we can do this without Him.
By His grace,