Have you ever played “Would you rather . . . ?” Two delightful (or detestable) options are given, and you must choose which you would prefer.
“I’d rather have . . .” will for some evoke the old hymn, “I’d rather have Jesus.” The choices given are “silver or gold . . . riches untold” or the Savior. What could be better than having Yeshua as an ever-present Savior, teacher, and friend?
The Lord Jesus told His disciples that there IS something better than having Him present. “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).
What does Yeshua tell us we gain by having the Holy Spirit with us in place of Him? The Spirit:
dwells in us – always: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16–17).
teaches us: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
convicts: “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
guides us into all truth: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13–14).
empowers us to evangelize: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
For so many followers of Yeshua, trying to follow Messiah’s example is burdensome. We readily identify with the Apostle Paul’s struggle. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want” (Romans 7:18–19).
Paul attributes our natural bent toward evil “the law of sin.” But “trying harder to do better” is not the solution.
Rather, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:2–4).
In Galatians 5, Paul instructs believers to “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (vs. 16). And “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law” (vs. 18).
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (vs. 22-23).
Paul sums up this teaching with, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (vs. 25).
In my spiritual journey I have found no “pause button” on the battles we face as believers. But the Holy Spirit is always present to convict me when I’m wrong, guide me in the right path, give victory over the flesh, empower me to do God’s will, and produce His fruit in me.
What could be better than that?
“There is no substitute for being controlled by the Holy Spirit.”
Written by Wes Taber
This blog post is part two of a five-part series focusing on LIFE’s Core Values. To read part one of this series, click HERE.