The Helpful Parakeet
I didn't have to take Greek classes during my time in seminary, but of course I picked up some common Greek words along the way. One that I'll always remember is the Greek for the 'Holy Spirit,' Paraclete, which means 'advocate' or 'helper.'
This Greek word, in particular, has stuck with me due to some unfortunate word association - 'paraclete' vs. 'parakeet.' Ha, now you can all imagine along with me the Holy Spirit as a parakeet sitting on my shoulder.
All joking aside, I've sensed the Lord pushing me lately to understand the truth that the Spirit lives within me and all believers. I don't dwell on this truth often enough. Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
I'm convicted that I don't trust the power of the Spirit indwelling me and other believers; I don't grapple with this reality. Recently, I found a Quaker church in Evanston and have been considering checking it out. I read info on their services - no clergy or sermon; everyone sits in silence until the Spirit gives a word for someone to speak for the edification of the body. My initial reaction to the thought of this was fear - what does it mean for a local church not to have a 'head pastor' who is highly trained in Bible exposition and able to teach each week? Couldn't the church fall into some dangerous heresy? Then I had to step back and ask myself, "Do I trust the Spirit of God at work among his people?" Whew, that's a moment of honesty. Having invested years learning about Hermeneutics (principles of Biblical interpretation), Systematic Theology, and Discipleship, it is all too easy to trust in my training rather than living in utter dependence upon the Spirit. Not to say this training is bad - certainly not - but it isn't necessary for knowing God. The Spirit indwells believers to convict of sin and point us to the truth.
It is amazing to me that Jesus would say that it is better for him to not be present among us, that the Holy Spirit might come as our Helper. Certainly, it rings of the fulfillment of the promises of the new covenant; that the Law would no longer be an external code we're unable to live-up to, but that it would be inscribed on our hearts and the Spirit would compel us to obedience (Ez. 36:26-27). Praise God for His wonderful provision on our behalf. May we all acknowledge/lean on/trust in our great Paraclete.