The Helping Style of the Holy Spirit

The Helping Style of the Holy Spirit

The Helping Style of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the giver of life, the ultimate helper, has a certain style. The Holy Spirit is that Person of wisdom and power mutually shared by the Father and the Son. The prophet Isaiah hinted at this style in 11:2-3: “The Spirit of Yahweh will rest on him: the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of reverence for Yahweh.”

Jesus puts an even finer point on the Spirit’s helping style when He called the Spirit “paraclete” in the Gospel of John. Paraclete is a Greek term meaning “called to come alongside of.” It is one of those rich biblical terms that cannot be described in one or two words. It means many things, and is a full suitcase that needs to be unpacked. Translations vary in describing what a paraclete actually does. The truth is that the paraclete is called alongside each believer to do many things, to fulfill numerous roles. For the sake of accuracy, it’s helpful to look at paraclete in its many contexts to flesh out the Spirit’s helping style. Remember, Jesus is the one who pointedly and purposefully called His Spirit paraclete. Let’s unpack paraclete this way:

P     Points to Jesus and glorifies Him (John 16:13-14).

A     Advises and Counsels (John 14:26).

R     Reminds so as to promote understanding (John 14:26).

A     Advocates for and defends (1 John 2:1).

C     Comforts and brings peace (John 14:27).

L     Listens and communicates (John 16:13).

E     Exhorts and cheerleads (Romans 12:8).

T     Teaches and guides into truth (John 14:26 and 16:13).

E     Encourages and inspires (Romans 1:12; Acts 4:36; Colossians 2:2-4).

As you can see, the Holy Spirit, the paraclete, has a helping style all His own. The Sprit is called to come alongside us in order to point us to Jesus, advise and counsel us, remind us in order to understand, advocate for us, comfort us, listen to us, exhort us, teach us, and encourage us. That is the style, the method of influence that is intended for the benefit of every person being empowered by the Spirit. If you’re looking for the biblical qualities of ministry and influence, there you are.

An important point to be made is that all believers are called to be little paracletes. We are asked to be paracletes for each other (1 Thess. 5:11 and 2 Cor. 1:3-4), to imitate the helping style of the Holy Spirit! The Lord invites and empowers us to flesh out the paraclete, to come alongside each other as helpers in the spirit of burden-bearing, a ministry of personal presence, a helping style of loving and competent influence.

Yes, the Holy Spirit was present at creation, bringing beauty and order out of chaos. And yes, the Spirit dwells in each of us to transform us to the likeness of Christ. But the Holy Spirit is also the paraclete, our faithful helper who paracletes us on our journey with God. May we also have that role to play in each other’s lives as we come alongside others in biblical ministry. Just as God provides a refuge by taking us under His wing, the wings of the Dove, may we also provide a refuge for others in the way of the paraclete. In our culture of isolation, and estrangement, and breakdown of community, imagine what a powerful influence a paraclete could have.

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. And so, loving others as He has loved us, let us carry each other’s burdens. In that way we will fulfill the teaching of Christ.”  (Psalm 68:19; John 13:34; Galatians 6:2)