“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever…you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17, NIV)
The process of getting to know someone takes time…maybe even a lifetime. We learn their strengths and weaknesses, their habits and worries, their humor or lack thereof. Whether friend or foe, we gradually come to know people. The closer the relationship, the more we know the person. Our most intimate knowledge is of our spouse. But we did not arrive at this knowledge overnight. Many late night conversations, long rides and dinners spent together revealed the secrets of the heart–one treasure at a time. When we stop discovering and start thinking that we “know it all” then the relationship stagnates, and we are in trouble.
As we come to know the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, the same is true. At first we know Him as a divine deposit, guaranteeing that we are children of God and that Christ will one day return to redeem us to Himself. As we continue in this relationship, our knowledge of Him increases so that we come to recognize the times that we quench or grieve Him. He convicts us of our sin and brings us back to the blood of Jesus as our only fountain for cleansing. Sometimes we sense His inner prompting to say or do something. And we know when He is testifying to us that something is either true or false. In all these ways we come to know the indwelling Spirit not as an inanimate power but as a living being who reveals to us the very nature of Christ.
We think of lonely and empty souls that are without God and without hope in this world. But there are believers in Jesus who have also fallen into this pitiful state. They believe, but their belief is in a doctrine, creed, tradition or religion. They have not come to believe in this living Spirit of God as their constant Counselor and Companion. If they knew Him as the ever-present One, then they would never be lonely. If they knew Him as the One who fills them, then they would never be empty. We long for the world to discover the fullness of Christ, but we also long for the church to experience it! How many of our heartaches, failures, grudges, disappointments and weaknesses would be overcome by the fountain of love and grace that the indwelling Spirit has come to pour out into our hearts? May God help us to know Him!
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