Together in Christ: 'Love, Obedience, and Permanence' — John 14:15-17

Saturday, February 17, 2024

[Jesus said,] "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you."

— John 14:15-17 NLT

Key Thought

When we were children, many of us were afraid of the dark and didn't want to be left alone at night. Many adults have similar fears. As we age, many of us fear being abandoned when a spouse dies or our friends precede us in death.

As followers of Jesus, we are incredibly blessed. We never have to fear being abandoned or left alone! When we believed and were baptized into Christ, God's mercy and grace saved us, and Jesus poured the Holy Spirit into us. [1] In the Gospel of John, chapters 14-16, Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Advocate, Comforter, and Helper. [2] As we obey Jesus' commandments, the Advocate's presence becomes ever more real to us. The Advocate reveals the Father and the Son to us as They make their home in us, [3] and the Advocate is our guarantee that God — Father, Son, and Spirit — "will never leave [us]"! [4]

Think about the beauty of this promise: The almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, the Spirit that hovered over the waters of Creation, and the Son who came to earth to show us God's love live in us, permanently. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came to some of Israel's great leaders for a time but then departed after a special mission was complete or abandoned them if they had turned from God's will. [5] However, as God's adopted children today, the Spirit's presence is our assurance that God will not let anything separate us from His love for us. [6] No event, deep darkness, dire situation in life can force the Holy Spirit to leave us. We will never be alone. God is with us and lives inside us to guide us until we arrive to be with Him forever. [7]

Our relationship with the Advocate — the Holy Spirit and Helper inside us — is the one relationship we can trust and the One upon Whom we can build all our other relationships. We don't have to be afraid of being alone. His presence in us is like "rivers of living water" overflowing with God's presence. [8] The Spirit is the anointing that leads us into a deeper knowledge and relationship with Jesus with the ongoing promise that God will never abandon us  [9] So, what do we have to fear? [10] With David we can proclaim:

If I go up to heaven, you are there;  if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night — but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. [11]
[1] Titus 3:3-7; John 3:3-7.
[2] The Greek word παράκλητος (parakletos or usually paraklete from the equivalent Latin word) is very hard to capture with a single word in English. Advocate, Counselor, Comforter, Helper have all been used in different translations to try to capture the description of the Holy Spirit's role — John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7. The terms is also used for Jesus — 1 John 2:1.
[3] John 14:21, 23.
[4] John 14:16; 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:14.
[5] God withdrew His Spirit from King Saul because of his disobedience (1 Samuel 10:10, 11:6, 16:14) . King David repented of his sin and prayed that God would not remove His Spirit from David and banish him from God's presence, as he had done with Saul (Psalm 51:11).
[6] Romans 8:15-17, 26-39.
[7] Romans 8:9-11.
[8] John 7:37-39.
[9] Hebrews 13:5-6.
[10] Romans 8:31-39.
[11] Psalm 139:8-12.

Today's Prayer

Almighty Lord, I am awed and humbled and reassured to know that You, as Father and Son, have made Your home with me through the Holy Spirit, my Advocate and Helper. Thank You. Thank You with emotions so wonderful that I cannot articulate them, but I trust the Spirit makes them clear "with groanings that cannot be expressed in words." [A] Amen.

[A] Romans 8:26-27.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 14:1-31
  • Romans 8:1-39

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Illustration

Illustration of John 14:15-17 NLT — [Jesus said,] "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you."

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.