"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth."
- John 14:16-17 NIV
Several months before my fortieth birthday, I went through some painful experiences that drove me to my knees in heartfelt prayer and repentance before God. I surrendered my heart and my life to the Lord for real that day, and it changed my life forever. I had been raised in the Christian faith, but had stopped going to church many years ago. I began watching some TV preachers and teachers, and listening to their Scripture-based messages. I realized almost immediately that God had planted a new hunger for His Word in my heart, and I began eagerly reading and studying the Bible for the first time in my life. Suddenly, the Lord seemed near to me, and I experienced His awesome presence like never before. I desperately wanted to get to know this God in an intimate way, so I invested in some good study Bibles, devotionals, and books filled with Scripture-based prayers. I had no church to rely on at the time, or to feed me with the Word of God, so I fed myself. My only "spiritual mentors" were the Bible teachers I watched on television, and the Holy Spirit Himself. As I look back, those were some of the sweetest times of fellowship with the Lord that I ever experienced, and I thank God for them.
Recently, I heard a story that reminded me of my early days of getting to know the Lord. It tells of a man who loved to study the Bible. Apparently, every time he came to something he didn't understand, he would ask his friend, Charlie, "What does this verse mean?" One day, in his Bible study time, the Holy Spirit asked him, "Why don't you ask Me? I'm the one who taught Charlie!" We hear a lot today about "spiritual mentors." Did you know that Jesus died so that you could have the best Spiritual Mentor in the world living on the inside of you every moment of every day? It's true. When Jesus told His disciples about His impending death, He said to them: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." (John 16:7 NIV) Another word for "counselor" is "mentor," and the Savior is speaking here of the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus paid such a terrible price so that His Spirit could teach and guide His followers continually, shouldn't we be making the most of this precious Gift? The Lord also said: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26 NIV) Teachers and preachers can be extremely valuable in our walk with the Lord, but they are no substitute for the Spirit of God. The Lord may use certain godly men and women to instruct and guide us at times, but He doesn't want us relying on these people in the same way that He desires us to depend on the leading of His Spirit. Many Christians today are out of God's will, and they are not fulfilling their God-given destiny, simply because they are listening to the wrong counsel, instead of following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, and have made Him the Lord of your life, then the Spirit of God lives in you, and you have the ability, the privilege, and the obligation to hear and heed God's voice. Each time you meet alone with the Lord with an open Bible and an open heart, you give Him the opportunity, not only to reveal Himself to you, but to help you fulfill your God-given purpose and potential, and to receive all the blessings and rewards He has in store for you. One way you can confirm that you are hearing from the Lord, is to make sure that the messages you're hearing are in agreement with the Word of God. It's the Holy Spirit who authored the Holy Scriptures, and He will never lead you to do something that contradicts God's Word. The God of the universe created you, has great plans for you, and wants to be intimately involved in your life. Will you do your part to get to know Him?
Prayer: Lord, please show me how to rely more heavily on Your Spirit to mentor, teach, and guide me. Lead me to the right Bible study materials, and help me to set aside time to meet alone with You regularly. Thank You that as I do my part to get to know You better, You will help me to become all that You created me to be!
- J. M. Farro