“ I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”/ John 14:25-27
This verse had stuck out to me last week and I think until today that I really hadn’t understood it. Jesus is giving instructions and some comfort to the disciples because although He is still there with them, Jesus told them that God would send a “helper”, by sending the Holy Spirit to them. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God which for every believer is God living within us. I know!!!Pretty cool right?!?! Hearing a pastor this morning in a short devotional clip talking about a strategy for the new year, instead of getting caught up in all the things we need to change in our lives and how bad our yesterday’s were, live in constant remembrance not of the self-imposed mistakes you’ve made and the battle you have now to move away from that failure into living “successful” life in God’s terms. When we focus on all that negative, failure, and the climb we’ve got in front of us because of the distance we’ve allowed ourselves to fall, we become overwhelmed and leave the gym after January’s over because it’s just too “hard.” Instead, stay in remembrance of the awesome work God has done in your life, the times He’s taken you from hopelessness and broke through to give you an abundance of hope, the moments where your heart was so full from watching God work in your life and in others around you. Just constantly remind yourself of how good God is and how good He has been to you instead of worrying about what you messed up your thoughts begin to change, your actions become bold, confident, and you feel free because living in God’s goodness and the moments He’s proven just how powerful and able He is to breakthrough in your struggles, you know in this moment that you’re in right now, God loves you just as much as all those other awesome God moments so you live with the “why not?” mentality instead of that “why me? mindset. Sorry, that’s not exactly what the pastor spoke about but I just got excited!
Looking at this verse and knowing that the same Holy Spirit lives within us, the Spirit of God, the Spirit that rose Christ from the grave, I so often overlook the “helper” I have within me at all times and rely on myself, act off my thoughts. I came to the realization for the millionth time but even bigger today that if I rely on me and act off the thoughts I have going through my head throughout the day, complaining, hopelessness, worry, sinful, weak, and the list goes on. If I rely on those thoughts like that’s all I got to go off of then I’m in trouble and my life is going to be a perfect representation of who I’m depending on and living off of. Thank God it’s not left up to us, thank God that He has given us the Holy Spirit living within us for guidance, comfort, and the power to break through anything. Like Jesus says, the Holy Spirit will teach you EVERYTHING and REMIND you of everything I’ve told you. Even though Jesus is speaking to the disciples in terms of what He literally said to them, Jesus has told us a lot too through God’s Word and most of all throughout the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Not only Jesus’s Word to us but what all He has done for us by sacrificing Himself on the cross to cover our sins and rising on the third day with victory over death and sin in hand, a life of freedom for me and you. And not even just that but the huge God moments where God has spoken to us through answered prayer, deliverance through a struggle, or just seeing and experiencing the awesomeness of Him at work. God has spoken to us in so many ways and He’s given us the Holy Spirit to teach us even more than we’ve already encountered and remind us of what God has spoken to us, through His Word, the Gospel, and HUGE God moments we’ve witnessed. Jesus left “peace of mind, and of heart” with the disciples just as He has left the same to us. He tells them and us that no other place can this gift of peace be found, not through the world and not through anything or anyone in the world, ourselves. Jesus tells us what we have access to and He also tells us that no matter how hard we try to find it elsewhere and continually depend on ourselves, our thoughts, listening to our thoughts and acting from those thoughts, true peace that sets us free comes through Jesus and only Him, so shouldn’t we depend on Him and only Him?
Those truths hit me today after going through that daily battle of spiritual warfare, the fight to stay pure in my thoughts and focused on the Lord when every temptation is being thrown my way and all my thoughts of yesterday’s failure are telling me to give in and give up. “Why try to live better? You’ll never change? You’re still the same weak guy that messed up and gave up yesterday?” Although they may be in different words you probably can relate to thoughts like that. The good thing was finally starting to understand these verses (Holy Spirit teaching) and being reminded that I have no reason to be afraid, being reminded of the goodness the Lord has worked through my life, the moments where I’ve seen God’s power breakthrough my struggle and deliver me, reminding me of the gospel. Instead of going through the day weak, thinking weak, and acting weak because I am weak, me and my weakness aren’t the only option because I’ve been born again, resurrected from my old life and been given a new life to live with Jesus Christ today, tomorrow and forever. Although I’m sinful and weak, I don’t have to live in the failure that me and my weakness cause, I am with Christ and He is with me, I can lean on His strength and His provision to meet my every need, I can have hope, confidence and enjoy the work that the Holy Spirit is doing within me, from my heart, to my thoughts, spreading outward into my actions. I can live in freedom knowing that with the Holy Spirit living within me, teaching me and reminding me of what God has done, what He’s spoken, and the goodness He’s about to do because He is able.
Think about that freedom for a moment. That gift of peace that Jesus is speaking of and has given to us. Knowing that we don’t have “troubled or afraid” of anything or anyone in this world. I read this quote from Phil Jackson, the championship winning coach in the NBA in recent years, it’s not exactly a Christian statement from a Christian but it makes a lot of sense with this truth. “In basketball and in life, true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way. Of course, it’s no accident that things are more likely to go your way when you stop worrying about whether you’re going to win or lose the game and focus your full attention on what’s happening right this moment. Experience each moment with a clear mind and open heart, when you do that the game and life will take care of itself.”
Instead of focusing on winning or losing, or what our current circumstances look like, even if it’s terrible and looks impossible, focus on each moment with a clear mind and open heart, ready to let go of control and depending on self, ready to depend on God working through the power of the Holy Spirit and everything else will take care of itself. That’s the freedom God gives us to play the game and the access we have to Him and the Holy Spirit’s within us, we don’t have to worry about the outcome, God is in full control of the outcome, we can just play the game.