Why do you suppose Jesus used so many different ways to describe for us the Holy Spirit? Maybe it is because there always seemed to be more mystery about the Holy Spirit than the Father and Son. Every personality of deity is Spirit. Only Jesus took on human flesh to live among us and be able to go through the challenges and problems we deal with in life. He was made in all points to be tempted as we are so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. Even though it is extremely difficult to understand how Jesus can be both 100% God and 100% human at the same time, it is clear that He is one who can have it said of him that “In him dwelt all the fullness of deity in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).
God the Father is spoken of in a ton of different ways, but it seems that if there was one word He wanted us to get about him it is that He is not just the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, but he is our father in heaven and that he loves us as our Father. In John 4:23-24 the Samaritan woman was trying to understand the whole topic of worship. She wanted to know if Jerusalem was the place for worship or was it on this mountain where her ancestors had worshiped? Jesus said, “Woman, believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and truth.”
But, when it comes to the discussion of the Holy Spirit, there are all kinds of mystery and intrigue on the topic. Focus on John 14, 15 and 16 to see some of the ways Jesus described the Spirit. In 14:15-19 he said, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I love, you also will live.” Notice Jesus pictures the Spirit as our advocate, our lawyer, the one who will stand beside us to present our cause. He also, wants us to know that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. His message is one of truth, not just feelings or wishes. In verses 25-27 he said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace, I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Paul calls the Spirit our helper in Romans 8:26 who helps us in our weaknesses. He illustrated its point by talking about his not knowing what to pray for as he should the Spirit interceded for him with groans he couldn’t utter. In verses 14-16 he said, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, ‘Abba’, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit, that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then wec are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
As strange as it seems to us, it is often in the midst of suffering, difficulties and problems that God works through the Spirit to help us to grow in the greatest ways.
No other book of the New Testament talks as much about feeling puzzled about all the problems we go through in living for God. It made no sense to Paul that he had poured out his life for the church in Corinth and loved them with everything in him. Yet they seemed to feel that he was not the real thing and that he wouldn’t be having all the problems he was having if God was really on his side. It didn’t make sense that God would give him a thorn in the flesh so he would glory in in the ways God blessed him. Yet God answered his prayer for relief, three times in a row with a NO! “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” He said he now gloried in his weakness. and was leaning on the Lord through it all.
We are facing troubling times in the world and much of it we don’t understand. But God knows all the reasons why we have the struggles and He can bring about amazing blessings and opportunities through the struggles. We must never forget that God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ is “the father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in all trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
In the middle of suffering, there is also, comfort, healing and the presence of God. We never face life alone when we follow Christ. Keep leaning on his everlasting arms!