“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16–17 ESV).
Under cover of darkness, they walked. Jesus would bring his disciples, on that final night together, to the garden. There, in Gethsemane, he would pray and await Judas’ betrayal.
On their way, teaching spilled out of his heart and mouth. He would go to prepare a place for them. He would come back for them. He taught them to abide in him and to love each other. He readied them for the hatred and rejection of the world.
He also promised them the Holy Spirit. He knew he'd ascend back to the Father. Once reunited in glory, he would appeal to the Father to send the Spirit. Jesus called him the Helper, and the Spirit would come to live in them. The Spirit of God, Jesus said, would begin to reside with his people. The temple had the holy of holies, and God dwelt there, but now God’s people would become individual temples of the Holy Spirit.
Do you need help in life? The Holy Spirit lives in all gospel-believing-Jesus-people, and Jesus called him “the Helper.” The word is parakletos, and, because it’s a swiss-army-knife of a word, it is translated a few different ways. Let’s consider some of its shades of meaning below.
The Spirit is on your side. He works to open doors for you, empower you, and remind you. Because he is God, he sees the truest and loveliest version of you. He works hard to come alongside you to bring that vision to life. He is not against you, outside of you, merely watching you, waiting for your failure. No, he is for you, inside of you, engaging with you, waiting to witness your growth and success.
The Spirit gives comfort. Life is a painful mess of challenges, limitations, and failures. You are always put face-to-face with life's difficulties. The soil produces fruit, but only with tears. We often agonize, but the Spirit lives within us to provide us with comfort. He works to bring Scripture, friendships, and perspective into our minds at just the right time. He loves to engage with you and be the still, small voice of God’s comfort during your moments of pain.
The Spirit urges you on through encouragement. People try to pump others — and themselves — up for life. "You got this!" "You can do it!" "Don't quit!" But those encouragements only go so far. The Spirit, on the other hand, lives within his people. He reminds you of who you are. He tells you of God’s love and grace. He urges you on to the sacrificial and beautiful things of life.
The Spirit gives Christ’s counsel. Jesus is called the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), and the Spirit delivers his counsel to our lives and hearts. Open yourself to his word. Sit and listen to a sermon, but with your heart open and ready for the Spirit’s advice. Then sit and watch a sunset. Hear the Spirit counsel your soul. As you walk through the forest, or through Costco, ask him to lead and advise you. Hear him say, “Don’t believe that, believe this instead. You don’t need that. Here’s who you are…”
The Spirit helps you. Jesus called him “another Helper" of the same kind and quality. In other words, the Spirit would help the disciples (and helps you) in the same way Jesus helped his disciples while walking on the earth. He provided. He taught. He led. He worked miraculously. He emboldened them. The Spirit, unrestricted with spacial limitations like Christ was, would help them as they went throughout the world making disciples. And he will help you do the same.
Too many people run around trying to help themselves. They turn to the wrong places for comfort, encouragement, or counsel. Many try to be “good Christians” by advocating for the self, believing God is their adversary in the process. All the while, the Spirit lives within, ready to help and aid us as Christ did his disciples. He wants to shape and mold you, gift and counsel you. He wants to open the mind of God as revealed in Scripture to you.
Give. Him. A. Chance.