The Presence of God
Two weeks ago we identified that the Father is intensely personal. Last week we discussed the Son and His role in creation and redemption. Though we did not explicitly draw attention to it, it is obvious that the Son is also intensely personal. After all, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). It is incredible to recognize that the Son is able to save us and lives to make intercession for us! He goes before the Father, submitting requests on our behalf.
The Father loves us, planning and directing the course of human history so that we might be restored to Him. He sent the Son to die in our place. The Son loves us, having died in our place and now living to make intercession on our behalf. What about the Spirit? Does He share this personal nature?
Interestingly, Jesus said quite a lot about the role of the Spirit. In John 15:26, He said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” Note that He referred to the Spirit as “Helper” even as He told the disciples that this Helper would bear witness to Jesus. Further, in John 16:13, He said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” This same Spirit would instruct them in the truth. Immediately before returning to heaven, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This Spirit would empower them to be bold witnesses for the gospel. When we put these statements together, we begin to see the Holy Spirit as the personal presence of God in our lives who guides and strengthens us.
The apostle Paul told us even more, stating that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). This is an astounding statement! There are moments in life when we are so overwhelmed by circumstances that we are rendered speechless. All we can do is bow our heads before the Lord and pour out our anguish. Have you found yourself in this kind of situation? You either have or you will; it is a common human experience. Perhaps it was when a loved one had a serious medical issue, leaving you to cope with the terrible and sudden possibility that you might have to face life without that person. Perhaps it was a crushing betrayal, leaving you with a festering emotional wound where unkind words were embedded into your heart. For many, the situation is one of financial distress in which they wonder how they will take care of their families and pay their bills. This verse tells us that in those times, when we do not even know what to say, the Spirit of God speaks on our behalf, lifting up our needs to the Father. How amazing!
When the subject of the Holy Spirit comes up in conversation, many Christian people get uncomfortable. They immediately start thinking of things like speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, and the like. However, this misses the more important point. Instead of getting stuck on this kind of stuff, we need to recognize the much more salient point that the Spirit’s work in our lives is the presence of God in the minutiae of our days. When things are going well, the Spirit is with us. When things fall apart, the Spirit walks with us through it. Regardless of the circumstances, the Spirit of God works in us to mature as disciples. When Paul wrote, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), he was referring to the work of the Spirit in our lives to make us more like Jesus.
Does God make His presence known in your life through the Spirit? You need not go through this life on your own! As always, comments and questions are welcome on Facebook!