The Spirit Who Helps Us
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:26)
‘Can I help you?’ How many times has someone asked you that and you’ve answered, ‘Oh no, that’s fine! I can manage!’ Or perhaps they heard (after the event) that you had needed some help and said, ‘Why didn’t you ask me?’ and you replied, ‘I didn’t want to trouble you.’ For many of us, talking like this is a way of life.
The trouble is, we give these answers to God too! The Holy Spirit comes and helps us and we say (by action if not by word), ‘I can manage all right by myself, thanks!’ But it’s impossible to answer God like that, and be a Christian! For Christians are those who know they need the Father’s help through the Spirit to live their life in Christ. Paul learned this lesson the hard way. He had always been an independent man, able to stand on his own feet. But through a process of hardship, God gradually knocked the independence out of him. In 2 Corinthians he lists some of the hardships he went through in his ministry; but he begins the letter by recognizing that these things happened ‘that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead’ (2 Corinthians 1:9). God wanted him to learn that he couldn’t do it on his own – and eventually, the lesson hit home.
Perhaps this is why we find so much stress in Paul’s letters on the way that the Spirit helps us. He says that the Spirit helps us in our knowing, making us confident about our relationship with the Father. He helps us in our understanding, giving us insights into the Father’s heart and giving spiritual gifts to us. He helps us in our praying, showing us what to pray for and how to pray for it. He helps us in our witnessing, enabling words and lifestyle that speak for him.
The promise of the Spirit’s help still remains for us today. There is one simple condition, however: we have to acknowledge our weakness! Only then, will the Spirit come in with his strength, just as Jesus promised.
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont