the help | John 14.15-17
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 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 14:15-17 | ESV
“Here’s a general rule: If you loudly profess your love for me, you’ll be just as loud about carrying out my instructions (particularly that whole ‘love one another’ business). And with us being on the same page like this, you know that my Abba will be quick to respond when I ask him to send you the Helper / Encourager / Supporter / Ally / Advocate who will be for and with you as I have been, and more – and he’ll be with you till kingdom come! I’m talking about the Spirit of truth. The current world system can never acknowledge or embrace him for the simple reason it has no grid for seeing him or recognizing him. Ah, but you recognize him. He’s been right at home with you and soon he’ll be right at home in you.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
“My main passion was teaching and preaching the Word of God. I believed the most important thing in life was to study God’s Word and that most of our needs – or at least our most important needs – could be met through studying the Scriptures. If they could not be met in that way, then we were in trouble, for I had embraced a theological system that didn’t leave God much room to help us in other ways. The God I believed in and taught about wasn’t as involved in our lives as he had been in the lives of New Testament believers. At the time that didn’t bother me very much because I thought he wanted it that way. I thought he had made the changes. To be sure, I thought God answered prayers, but only certain kinds of prayers.”
Jack Deere’s testimony from his book Surprised by the Power of the Spirit so mirrors my own. In my more strict Evangelical past we weren’t even coy about it. We flat out acknowledged that the Holy Spirit’s job in olden days was to deliver and testify to the Book.
Now we have the Book.
Job done for the Holy Spirit!
Anyone who tries to usher him back in compromises the Book and in effect impugns the Spirit’s former work – as well as opening the door to subjectivism and emotionalism that will be the ruin of us all. Some even went so far as to say that the Book is the Spirit and the Spirit is the Book. Many believers are professing Trinitarians, proclaiming Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but are Jesus-only-in-the-Book practitioners.
We love Jesus as we cling to the Book but thank God we don’t have to deal with a stern Father or mess with the Holy Spirit.
But Jesus doesn’t announce to now anxious disciples, “No worries! Sure I won’t be here anymore, but I’m sending a Book that will explain everything.” He told them, “I am sending you another helper, Someone who has been with you and will be in you. You will not be alone.” A bibliophile like myself would probably have been very happy with the announcement of a future book delivery.
Until life hit, until the world burned and I couldn’t see the pages anymore through my bleary, teary eyes.
A book – even the Book – doesn’t groan with you.
It doesn’t hold you.
It doesn’t whisper your name.
It doesn’t plead with you, breathe with you, hurt with you, laugh with you.
The Book doesn’t have Jesus saying, “I’m sending you a Book”; it has Jesus promising us another helper.
The Book is not the point;
it points us to the Point,
and the Point is Jesus.
And Jesus says, “You are not alone. I am sending the Helper.”
How would you describe your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Rich? Fulfilling? Tenuous? Sporadic? Non-existent? Why?
Lord, show me how to take the Book seriously as I take the Holy Spirit very personally. Show me how to be a practicing Trinitarian. How me how to embrace and celebrate the rhythms of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in my life in healthy and life-giving ways. Through Jesus.