In Times of Need Who Do You Call? (And Don’t Say “Ghost Busters”)

Regardless of our age, many of us would answer the question “Who you gonna call?” by shouting “Ghost Busters!” That movie and the lyrics from its theme song are part of our popular culture. But how would we answer when the question is more real than that? In times of need, we know that Christ-followers are supposed to call on God. You may even feel like it is an obvious or even patronizing response. Yet, the role of the Holy Spirit as our Counselor is meant to tap into our felt need for divine help for daily insecurities.

Look at what Jesus says in John 14:25-27.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, 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. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit greatly enhances our lives as Christians. One of His’ titles is that of the Paraclete, which is an anglicized word inspired from the Greek word, paraklētos. The NIV translates it here as “Advocate.”

It is hard to capture the full meaning of the word, Paraclete, into English. Most English translators favor one of the following: “Helper; Counselor; Comforter; Advocate.” Long story short, “Counselor” and “Advocate” are the most fitting translations. Here is why.

If the Holy Spirit was merely the “comforter” He would be present with us but powerless to effect any change. Instead, He is the “Counselor/ Advocate” who partners with us to bring about God’s rule in our lives.

Outside of the New Testament paraklētos is a legal advocate in a court of law who speaks on behalf of someone who is either under scrutiny, or prosecuting. The deployed metaphor of the “advocate who provides counsel and speaks on our behalf” is important since we know we need a spiritual intercessor. 

Jesus makes it clear that the advocate will not be a mere visitor, but a permanent resident. He will “be with you forever,” Jesus says (John 14:16).

Once the Holy Spirit is given, He will never be taken away. He sets a new norm for how life will persist.

As the Christian resumes life, he or she now exists with a constant companion who will never leave and is persistent to have His influence heard and heeded. So, the Spirit of God has not only made His residence in us; He also acts as our advocate, too, representing us in ways that we couldn’t ourselves. 

Verse 17 helps clarify the role of the advocate calling Him “the Spirit of truth.” He will advocate truth with no compromise. In the times when we feel conviction from Him, it probably is because His advocacy of truth is confronting our inconsistency in believing or living according to the truth. It is like the times we feel convicted or urged to do or not do something. Many of us need to rethink how we understand the Spirit’s “conviction.” Being “convicted” by God is not a sign of His wrath, but of His love. 

We have to see convictionnot as our enemybut as our friend. It is the Holy Spirit’s way of bringing us into further alignment with God’s designed purpose and pattern for our life.

Remember, God’s pattern for our lives is meant to bless us (Psalm 19:7-9). Conviction is the reminder that we are walking in a way that is outside the bounds of His blessing.

Which brings up a natural question.

How does the Holy Spirit convict us and lead us into truth?

  1. Through Scripture. This may be most obvious, but it is worth being repetitive about! No word from God’s Spirit will ever contradict God’s Word. The Bible is our standard and rule of life. Anything that contradicts the Word of God is void of all light (Isaiah 8:20 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  2. Through people. We push Life Groups hard because we know that God likes to speak to us through other people. Think about it this way: If the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, then by creating community with other believers can actually strengthen our discernment of what the Spirit is saying! We can wish all we want that an audible voice from the heavens would tell us what to do, but discipleship is much more challenging than that. And God intends it to be so. By not simply giving us audible direction on command, He encourages us to lean into one another. We grow a lot through the subtle language of the Spirit. He is indeed speaking, but His preferred tone and volume is on a much different frequency. Godly community helps us discern His words and His will.
  3.  Through prayer. Prayer is a robust spiritual exercise. It can be individually or corporately. Many people tell us about how they pray while they walk or drive, and that is great! However, we encourage you to have set apart times of prayer where your body has nothing else to do other than focus on speaking and listening to God.
  4. Through worship. Worship reorients our perspective to remember God’s faithfulness. And sometimes, we also can hear from God through worship. This is not because worship is some conjuring experience, but because in worship we actually are posturing ourselves to focus and listen as we sing out!

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is certainly an essential list! How else do you discern the Spirit’s leading as our Counselor and Advocate? Do you have any stories of His guidance and leading? Drop a comment below! It may encourage someone else who needs to hear it.


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