The Holy Spirit–
Our Source of Strength for Obedience
-F. F. Bruce
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–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.” (John 14:16-17)
Our Lord Jesus came to this earth modeling a love and obedience for the Father that His disciples were and are expected to follow. Love and obedience do not spring from a legalistic set of rules, but flow freely from a life of love for our Lord–all that He is, and all that He has done, and all that He continues to do for us. The Bible tells us:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us … In this way, love is made complete among us … We love because he first loved us … And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
(1 John 4:16-21)
Jesus desired for His disciples upon His departure to demonstrate their love for Him not through a lamenting grief but through a loving obedience to His commands. Throughout the Bible this message is reiterated. I am reminded of one such passage in the Old Testament:
-Mel De Peal
“’This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” (Jeremiah 7:21-24)
Obedience to God is grounded in our trust that He has our best interest at heart. It is a faith that is based on a firm knowledge of who He is and a solid understanding of His ways. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him, and the more we love Him, the more we will trust Him and desire to be obedient to His will. John tells us:
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)
It is when we go our own way, leaning upon our own flawed understanding and abilities that we stumble and fall.
In our verses for today, Jesus gives the disciples this great and glorious promise–as long as He is in heaven, they shall never want for a fresh supply of grace and comfort, wisdom and strength–given to them by the precious Holy Spirit. They shall never know the lack of a Comforter. This blessed promise was not only sure for them but also for every believer in Jesus thereafter. The Holy Spirit will never depart from a believer in Christ–we are sealed–indwelled until He returns. The promise remains that He will never depart from us. Paul writes that the Holy Spirit is our identification of ownership to God as well as our authentication and approval–our certification of genuineness so to speak:
-1 Samuel 15:22-23
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Take It to Heart
The Spirit is poured out upon us, equipping us to be like our Lord–not just outwardly but inwardly as well. The presence of God in this world is to be the Spirit indwelling in the heart of every believer:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
The Spirit constantly abides within the believer–equipping and comforting, encouraging and strengthening.