Read: John 16:4b-15
So often in my prayer life I focus exclusively on myself. What do I need? Why isn’t life easier? Why isn’t God doing what I want? I agree that this is a selfish way to approach God, but honestly it’s where my mind goes first when I pray. My point is, it’s good to ask for help and provision, but if that’s all we pray for, we’re missing out on the most life-giving parts of prayer. What if I let my prayer-life be guided by the “Advocate” that was sent to help us: the Holy Spirit? God has already provided for our greatest need, His guiding presence with us. When I am not allowing the Holy Spirit to do His job in my life, when I block Him out because I know what’s best for me, I lose focus of what really matters. When I let this happen, I tend to sin more, focus on my own works, and try to prop myself up on a pedestal to be compared to those around me. What I find in the end is a distance from God and a profound dissatisfaction with myself and my life. There must be a better way.
In today’s passage, the disciples are introduced to this complicated member of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit has two jobs laid out for him in this passage: to convict and to guide—and it’s essential we have both. First, the Holy Spirit reveals to us the weight of our sin. This is absolutely essential to God’s work of bringing people into His Kingdom. We cannot really desire the way of Jesus until we are hopelessly dissatisfied with the way of the world, which will be judged (John 16:8).
The way of the world isn’t a neutral way of life, like we often like to think. It’s a complex network of lies that keep our little human worlds spinning, and when the truth breaks in lies have no choice but to evaporate, leaving us exposed to the Kingdom of God. That is why Jesus gives us “the Helper”, Who will “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). It’s essentially that we have this guidance, because we are not naturally inclined toward truth as God defines it. We need the Spirit to guide us into the truth, so we can be transformed by His life! We can’t just have a little change of heart, or adopt a new set of ideas, we need a full overhaul of our hearts—it’s what Jesus calls being “born again”, and that comes by the work of the Holy Spirit to allow us to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).
Verses 7-11 give a clear picture of the working of the Holy Spirit today. The Spirit comes to us, to teach us how to live like Jesus, to display the power of the Kingdom of God in our daily lives and to hope in the full coming of the Kingdom. We’re told elsewhere what kind of evidence to look for in a person who has the Holy Spirit—the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25), It’s this work of the Spirit that is transforming us, and recalling the world to God’s life and goodness.
Take a moment and consider the work of the Spirit in your life. Do you believe He’s active in your life—more precisely, do you live as if He is active in your life? Take some time in silence, perhaps with a pen and a journal, and quiet your heart and mind. It may feel weird, but pray for guidance and then just sit in silence for a while. Listen for His still, small voice. Be patient and expectant, because He dearly loves to hear from you and give direction.