God Is

Day 34

The Power of
the Holy Spirit

Read your Bible: John 14:16–27

Spotlight Verse:

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6b

Every time I speak to an audience, I struggle with nerves. And that’s kind of a drag considering that’s what I do for a living. But I’ll tell you a secret. I am much, much calmer than I used to be.

I was inspired by the story of Thomas Spurgeon, who followed his famous father Charles as pastor of the world’s first mega-church, Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

Charles, the dad, was a dynamo, full of charisma. He grew a church of 200 to over 8,000 — and this was in the mid-1800s! He also started 17 nursing homes, 2 schools, a seminary, and an orphanage.

But when he died, his son Thomas was asked to take over. He had pastored in Australia, but was forced to retire early due to his fragile health. And now he was being asked to return to foggy London! He decided he could go in God’s power, and the church prospered.

But then the fire hit.

In April 1898, the Metropolitan Tabernacle went up in flames. There were terrible casualties. Thomas was shaken to the core. Never the most self-confident man, he found himself dreading the day he would have to climb the stairs of the rebuilt church stage to preach for the first time. He had some sort of psychological block — real stage fright of the worst kind.

When that day came, he stood up and approached the platform. And then froze, thinking, “I cannot do this!” And he almost walked right out of the building, ready to quit.

But then he said to himself, “I can take one more step with the power of God.” He prayed under his breath, “I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.” And took that one step.

Then he said it again. “I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.” And took the next step.

With each step he repeated, “I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit” until he reached the podium and preached powerfully. And he had 14 more years of wonderful ministry there.

That true story made such an impression on me that I have said that exact phrase to myself on many occasions, swallowing hard as I approach the pulpit nervously, “I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In fact, it’s become such an effective reminder that now my wife asks me whenever I get nervous or worried, “Do you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit?”

God is omniscient, as we’ve studied this week. And here is the mind-blower for today: That same omniscient God, who sees and sympathizes… is your Mighty Counselor!

I have found human counselors to be very helpful. But their ability to help is limited by their knowledge — their knowledge of you, and your problem. God has no such limitation. He knows you better than you know yourself! God’s omniscience is not theoretical. It has very practical consequences for you.

Always By Your Side

Jesus said,

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things…” John 14:18,26

The word translated Counselor or Advocate (depending on your Bible) is fascinating in the original Greek language. It does conjure images of someone who counsels. But it means far more than that.

The Greek word is paraclete. That means “one who comes alongside.” It was an ancient warrior’s term.

Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs, so when the enemy attacked, they could defend themselves back-to-back, covering each other’s blind side. Your battle partner was your paraclete.

God doesn’t send you out there alone. He’s got your back.

And He’s even closer than that: He’s within you, empowering you to will and act according to His purpose (see Philippians 2:13).

God counsels and fights powerfully for you! You never have to worry about abandonment again.

God is… your omniscient Counselor.

Questions For Reflection

What impact does it make on you to realize that the same God we have been studying is your paraclete, the One who is alongside you, guiding and guarding?

Think of the problems you are facing, the fears you have… and now repeat, “I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.” What impact does this make on you?