You know the old saying: “You don’t know what you got till its gone”? I think this works the other way around for Christians sometimes. It should sometimes be said to Christians, “You don’t know what you got because its been there all along.”
What I am referring to is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit has been with us from the beginning. As unbelievers, we certainty did not have the Spirit indwelling in us before our hearts were turned towards Christ in faith. But if you have grown up in the Church, raised in the Church, don’t have a sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll testimony, you may be apt to negate or diminish the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
But then we come to one of the most stunning admissions of the power of the Holy Spirit in the entire Bible. Jesus, himself, is the one who spoke it.
In John 16:7 Jesus says, “Nevertheless, 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.”
Do we really believe what Jesus has said to us? That it is actually better for Jesus to go away? That for Jesus to be away from us, but to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is better for us. This is stunning to me. It tells me that I don’t fully appreciate the merciful gift that God has placed in my life through His Spirit. It shows me that I don’t fully understand the depths of my own depravity and the graciousness of the gift God has given to the world through His Spirit.
Thankfully, Christ goes on to show us, I think, why it would be to our advantage. Later on in John we come to Jesus’ betrayal and death. And what happens? All his disciples, chief among them Peter, abandoned Jesus. Men, that for 3 years walked with Jesus, learned from Jesus, ministered with Jesus, cast out demons with Jesus, witnessed miracles from the hands of the uncreated, learned of his death and resurrection several times from his own mouth, and yet when the time came for them to take their stand with him, they fled. They got discouraged. They went back to their old professions.
The game changer was Pentecost. The blood bought mercy of the Spirit now abides in the disciples and they no longer were disciples but Apostles. They were no longer scattered, but sent. They were no longer running for their lives, but running to lose them for the glory of the Gospel. They no longer saw a Rabbi, but a Messiah. 3 years walking with Jesus day to day could not change the human heart. It could not give wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. It took God to recognize God. It took God to love God. And it took God dying to allow us to die for God.
So today I stand in awe of what I have indwelling in me. Not fully comprehending the way that it has changed me, but wanting to believe Jesus words that it is better that he go and good for me that the Helper has come.
Let us not lose sight that we could walk with Jesus for years but still deny him. That we could listen to him teach, but still misunderstand. That we could call him teacher not knowing he was Savior. Let us not take for granted that while we can’t see him with our eyes right now, we have the advantage through the Spirit to see him with our hearts.