Day 40: Strong friends
In the 1984 classic “The Karate Kid”, Daniel suffers at the hands of bullies—that is, until Mr. Miyagi enters the scene. Who wouldn’t want a strong friend standing at your side?
Do you have such a friend? Someone who not only wants you to become all you can be, but someone who walks with you through life?
Life can be hard. Most of us need help. At times we have difficulty asking for help. Pride gets in the way. Somewhere along the line, as I grew, I got it inside my head that I was supposed to be singularly strong. Don’t misunderstand. Being strong is good, up to a point. That point is the point where our pride overtakes us.
As we've read through the Gospel of John over the last couple of months together, Jesus has more than hinted at someone who is going to help. In John 3, 4 & 7 he talked about the Spirit, and in chapters 14-17 he has talked about the Helper (14:16-18, 14:26, 15:26-27, 16:7, 16:13-14).
And I have not said a word. I expect some of you might be thinking I am avoiding him… by “him” I mean the Holy Spirit. This is the name we use to talk about this helper // counselor that Jesus has been referring to.
This Helper is the Third Person of the Trinity.
I pray the previous blog posts have laid the ground work. I have emphasized that we are spiritual beings. And further, that God, the spiritual source of all, wants one-ness with us.
In many ways, the Holy Spirit is the missing piece of the puzzle. You might be saying, “What puzzle?”
Jesus has been talking about how we can be one with him, and the Father. Jesus has been talking about praying in his name. Jesus has said that he, and the Father, would come live with us (14:23). How can all of this happen?
It happens when spiritual beings have the Living God, God the Spirit, living in their hearts. It is not a physical process (although physically, we will behave very differently).
If you have heard of the Holy Spirit, how would you describe him or it?
Folks have lots of questions when it comes to the Holy Spirit. The Bible answers them. Consider three: (1) Who/what is the HS? (2) What is the HS like? and (3) What will the HS do?
1. Who/what is the HS?
The Holy Spirit is a Person. When Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit he always uses the word “he”—a personal pronoun. To say someone is a person is to communicate they think, speak, feel, grieve, give counsel, help—they relate to others.
Sorry Star Wars fans, but the Holy Spirit is not some life giving, inanimate, "force”. God is personal.
2. What is the HS like?
He is not an independent operator. He comes from the Father and Jesus (14:26, 15:26). He is called the “Spirit of Truth”, and so the Holy Spirit is a person who is pure spirit. The word you read as Counselor or Helper, in the Greek is parakletos. People have studied it for ages. One way to understand it is to translate it as “one who comes along side” coupled with a legal emphasis.
What is it like to have someone come alongside you?
3. What does the Holy Spirit do?
He does a bunch. He convicts us of our sin (16:8). Don’t think that we, all by ourselves, figure out we sin. No, it is God giving us that guilty conscience. Thanks be to God he does, or we would happily wallow in our sin.
He also testifies to Jesus (15:26-27). The Holy Spirit does not brag about himself. No, he brags on Jesus. Just like Jesus is always pointing to the Father, the Holy Spirit not only points us to Jesus, but connects us to Jesus and the Father.
He gives God glory! (16:14)
He gives us the ability to recognize Jesus as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3).
He, God, will come and live in our hearts! (14:23)
As we come to the end of this long talk by Jesus, he notes that he is sending someone, a helper, who is part of him—and he has overcome the world.