Thursday, July 7, 2011

THE COMFORTER HAS COME

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “the Comforter.” It is one thing to know the Holy Spirit as our comforter, but we must also know how he comforts us, so we can distinguish what comfort is of flesh and what is from the Spirit.

Consider the brother who is overcome with loneliness. He prays for the comfort of the Holy Spirit and expects that comfort to come as a feeling. In fact, he imagines it as a kind of sudden breath from heaven, like a spiritual sedative to his soul.

This feeling of peace may actually come to him but the next morning it is gone. As a result, he starts to believe the Holy Spirit has refused his request. No, never! The Holy Spirit doesn’t comfort us by manipulating our feelings. His way of comforting is vastly different and is outlined clearly in Scripture. No matter what the problem, trial or need, his ministry of comfort is accomplished by bringing truth: “When he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

The fact is, our comfort springs from what we know, not what we feel. Only truth overrules feelings! And the comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit begins with this foundational truth: God is not mad at you. He loves you.

“Hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). The Greek meaning here is even stronger than the translation suggests, saying that the love of God is caused to “gush forth” into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
An unbearable burden may be caused by fear, shame, sorrow, afflictions, temptations, or discouragement. Yet, no matter what the cause, comfort is needed.

Suddenly a voice is heard, echoing through every corridor of the soul—the voice of the Holy Spirit—declaring to the soul, “Nothing can separate you from the love of God.”

This truth—once you believe it—quickly becomes a gusher of living water, sweeping away every stumbling block. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26, my italics).