Do we give the Holy Spirit his due? What I mean is in our day to day lives, are we calling upon God himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit, to lead us in practical, boots-on-the-ground ways? How often do we think about the Holy Spirit? Who he is and what he does? The fact that he is God, and is available to all who believe in Jesus?
Recently I have been blessed tremendously by an article from William Barclay's New Testament Words. According to the author, the Holy Spirit is "the constant, illuminating, strengthening, enabling presence of Jesus." He goes on to describe in great detail four key New Testament distinctives of the Holy Spirit, gleaned from the language of the New Testament. Some people have a way with words, and Barclay has become famous for his way of bringing the New Testament to life through intensive Greek scholarship. While these concepts may be familiar to practicing Christians, I wonder if at times we don’t take for granted how amazing and powerful the Holy Spirit truly is. He is, in fact, God himself! Consider these four aspects of the Holy Spirit:
The Helper: generally speaking, the Holy Spirit can be called upon to help in any situation great or small, but especially "to help in a situation with which a man by himself cannot cope." How many of us have been there, in a situation where we just don’t know what to do or how to cope. The Holy Spirit is there to help us during our times of perplexity and desperation!
The Comforter: Unfortunately, our modern conception of the word “comfort” can land on the “warm and fuzzy” side. When I hear “comfort”, I think of being curled up in a blanket with my cat, sipping hot cocoa! By contrast, the meaning of the Old English word "comfort" is more like this: "consolation in distress which keeps a man on his feet, when, left to himself, he would collapse. It is the comfort which enables a man to pass the breaking point and NOT to break." Again, the Holy Spirit enables us to keep on going even in the most impossible of circumstances. That is the kind of comfort that I need!
The Advocate: Barclay then turns to this legal term, which is also a theological term: "Jesus is the prisoner's friend. He is the one who will plead our cause. He is the one who will plead and intercede for us. He is the counsel for the defense. The Jew had the hopeless task of putting forward as his defense before God his own good works and his own obedience to the Law. The Christian has the supreme defense—the advocacy of Jesus Christ himself. It is he who ever liveth to make intercession for us!" Again, I need that Holy Spirit, the one who will pray for me, defend me, and speak to God on my behalf!
The Exhorter. And finally, this military term meaning to rally troops as they go into battle. "It is the word of courage before battle. Life is always calling us into battle and the one that is able to stand up to the opposing forces, to cope with life and to conquer life is the PARAKLETOS, the Holy Spirit, who is none other than the presence and the power of the risen Christ!"
Thank you God for sending the Holy Spirit! For he is my helper in the big and the small, the one who keeps me on my feet when I cannot stand, my very lifeline to God, and the one who strengthens my hands for the daily battles of life. May I remember to seek his filling every day, for only through The Holy Spirit am I able to live!