How God’s Spirit Can Help You
JEHOVAH God is invisible to human eyes and, therefore, his spirit is also invisible. (John 1:18) When on earth, Jesus Christ revealed how that spirit would aid his followers. He said: “The helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.” (John 14:26) What is this spirit and how does it serve as a remembrancer and a teacher?
God’s spirit is, not a person, but an invisible active force. This is evident from the fact that the Hebrew and Greek words rendered “spirit” convey that very thought. At times these terms simply mean “wind,” or, air in motion, as you can see by reading Exodus 10:13; Job 41:16 and Zechariah 2:6.
As to what God’s spirit will recall, our situation is somewhat different from that of the apostles. We have not been directly taught by Jesus Christ. However, all the vital aspects of what Jesus did and said have been recorded in the four Gospels. Moreover, all Bible prophecy, both in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Christian Greek Scriptures, in some way focuses on Jesus Christ. That is why an angel told the apostle John: “The bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires [literally, “is the spirit of”] prophesying.” (Rev. 19:10, Interlinear) This means that the entire “spirit” (the whole inclination, intent and purpose) of prophesying was to bear witness to Jesus. Accordingly, whenever necessary, God’s spirit will aid us to recall all such teaching regarding Jesus Christ and will enable us to discern its correct application. In fact, since “all Scripture is inspired of God,” what Bible knowledge we have acquired can be brought to remembrance by God’s spirit.—2 Tim. 3:16.
This can give us confidence in speaking about God’s kingdom to others. We can rest assured that God’s spirit will bring back to our minds the things we need to help honest-hearted ones. Though we may feel limited and perhaps fear we might be misunderstood, as long as we keep our heart stayed on God we can be sure that his spirit is not going to allow us to misrepresent the truth to those really wanting it.
Even under very trying circumstances God’s spirit will aid us to defend our position as true Christians. Jesus Christ said to his disciples: “You will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations. However, when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour; for the ones speaking are not just you, but it is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you.”—Matt. 10:18-20.
Hence, baptized disciples of Jesus Christ should not be surprised if brought before governmental authorities. At times questions may be raised in a harsh manner and in such a way as to belittle the Christian. With the help of God’s spirit, however, he will be able to present good reasons for his hope. Moreover, he will be enabled to respond with calmness and gentleness. (Compare 1 Peter 3:14, 15.) This is because the qualities of long-suffering, kindness, mildness and self-control are included in the fruitage God’s spirit produces in those allowing themselves to come under its influence.—Gal. 5:22, 23.
Of course, when speaking to persons in unusual circumstances, one may feel a certain concern as to being able to present God’s truth properly and effectively. Even the apostle Paul found this to be true in his case, as, for example, when he went to Corinth, a center of Greek learning and philosophy. To Christians at Corinth, he wrote: “I came to you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling.” (1 Cor. 2:3) Why did Paul feel this way? As a Jew coming into this center of Greek culture, he was evidently concerned that his presentation under these unusual circumstances be such as would accomplish God’s purpose and also reach the hearts of his listeners.
With the help of God’s spirit, Paul was successful in aiding honest-hearted Corinthians to become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though himself well educated, he did not appeal to them with extravagant speech or a display of human wisdom, but with the truth taught by God’s spirit.
Like Paul, we as true Christians today can also be successful in aiding others to come to an accurate knowledge of God’s will and purposes. Lack of knowledge respecting certain mundane matters will not put us at a disadvantage. What people really need, regardless of their education, background and station in life, is the truth as set forth in the Bible. And God’s spirit will help us to convey that truth accurately by acting in our behalf as a teacher.
God’s spirit also assists the Christian to continue following a divinely approved course. As Galatians 5:16 states: “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all.” Yet it may be asked, How does God’s spirit prevent one from following the inclination of the sinful flesh?
As a rightly motivated person continues to study the Bible and meditates on the things he is learning, God’s spirit, operating on his mind and heart, causes his love for Jehovah to deepen. In time his relationship to God becomes the most important thing in his life, and within his heart and mind a strong appreciation for that relationship develops. That appreciation stirs him to combat any inclination that might damage his relationship with the Creator.
Hence, when faced with temptation, he does not entertain thoughts about how pleasurable it might be to engage in wrongdoing nor does he reason that the flesh is very weak and that ‘God is too merciful to reject him.’ Rather, his immediate concern is not to ruin his relationship with Jehovah. The thought of yielding to temptation therefore repels him.
Similarly, when perplexed as to exactly what course to take in a certain trial, the Christian can confidently rely on the help of God’s spirit. Of this, the disciple James wrote: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials, knowing as you do that this tested quality of your faith works out endurance. . . . So, if any one of you is lacking in wisdom [as to what to do in his trialsome situation], let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching.” (Jas. 1:2-5) Yes, in answer to prayers for guidance, Jehovah will give direction through his holy spirit. God’s spirit, acting on the memory of the individual, will recall the needed guiding principles found in the Bible and will aid him to discern how these principles apply in his case.
Truly, then, God’s spirit does give needed help. So if you desire its guidance, cooperate with it by filling your mind with knowledge from God’s Word.