John 14:15-17 - Forever is a Long Time
It might not seem like it all the time, but the Spirit is with you forever.
Read / Listen
Read John 14:15-17
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 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.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 53
Q. What do you believe
concerning “the Holy Spirit”?
A. First, he, as well as
the Father and the Son,
is eternal God.
Second, he has been given
to me personally,
so that, by true faith,
he makes me share
and all his blessings,
and remains with me forever.
This is the second time we've come to this passage in John 14 this year. The first time came as we noted the tri-une (three in one) nature of God, and that the third member of the Trinity is the Advocate, whom we more commonly refer to as the Holy Spirit.
This week we've been diving in a bit deeper into who the Holy Spirit is, what He does and how this brings us comfort. Today we're focusing in on the fact that the Advocate (also known as the Comforter or the Counselor will be with you forever!
But the context that this amazing promise comes in is critical to understand. The Holy Spirit has not been given to you forever as if He were some kind of Tinkerbell who sprinkles fairy dust on all your problems so that they go away. No, the Holy Spirit has been given to you so that you can fulfill the condition necessary to demonstrate your love for Christ: keeping His commands (v15).
The Holy Spirit helps you do this by guiding you into the truth. This is actually going to make life more difficult for you, because you live in a world of lies that seeks to pull you away from the truth. More and more, people will belittle you and insult you as being closed minded, old fashioned, intolerant, and even unloving as you follow the Spirit of truth. Don't let this bother you; the world will never accept the Spirit because they can't see Him and don't know Him.
What a promise that Jesus makes to you - twice in this short passage - that the Holy Spirit will be not just with you (v16), but in you (v17). Furthermore, this isn't just a temporary condition that you experience every now and then, rather it's a relationship that will endure forever!
But this doesn't mean that you will feel His presence every moment. In fact, there will be vast stretches where you don't feel Him at all, and you may even wonder if He's up and moved out.
There are times when everybody in our household is so busy going in different directions that we'll go days without really seeing one another. We seem just like ships passing in the night. Yet I don't need to wonder if the other family members are still with me even though I haven't seen them, because I see all sorts of evidence on the counter and lying around the living room that assures me they're still there.
The fact that Jesus has commanded you to keep His commands ought to be reason enough for you to do so. But living this counter cultural lifestyle brings with it an extra benefit: it assures you the Holy Spirit is still living in you even during those times you don't really feel Him. There's no way you can follow Christ's commands on your own, so as you see yourself doing so, you're seeing evidence that the Holy Spirit is with you.
So keep those Spiritual Disciplines strong. You may not think you need them when you can clearly see the Spirit's leading in your life, but it is through those strong habits you've developed that the Spirit will keep you close to Him during those dark stretches when He seems far away.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father in heaven, who has given you the Spirit of truth;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for the assurance the Spirit will be with you forever, and ask Him for the strength to show your love for Christ by keeping His commands.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Romans 4