You Have a Comforter! by David Wilkerson
I am learning something very wonderful about the Holy Spirit. He has a very unique characteristic: He does not like to talk about Himself. He does not make Himself the primary object of our attention.
I have tried earnestly to study the Holy Spirit, digging into entire volumes about Him written by respected authors. Some of these books are very deep and often hard to understand — books about His nature and personality. They all are very interesting… but not always edifying. The fact is, they can’t be edifying. Because you can only understand of the Spirit what the Spirit Himself reveals — and He won’t talk about Himself!
I have tried digging into the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s names — Paraclete, Advocate, Intercessor — looking for some insight as to who He is. But I finally realized, we Christians don’t have to understand the person of the Holy Ghost — because He doesn’t want to tell us hidden things about Himself. All we need to know is that He is one of the Godhead: eternal, the very Spirit of Christ, sent down to this earth to live in us who believe. And His eyes are always on Christ!
You see, the Holy Ghost doesn’t want us to know about Himself so much as to know about His mission — and that mission is to bring us to Jesus and keep us in purity and holiness. He is always at work, making Christ known in our hearts, and He delights in our seeking knowledge about why He has come.
Jesus said, “When he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:13-14).
Jesus Said, “I Will Not Leave You Comfortless:
I will Come to You (John 14:18)
As Jesus said this, He stood before His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. He had gathered His chosen ones for a last moment of communion, just before He was to be translated into heaven. And what a sad, sorrowful lot they were!
Their sole source of comfort was being taken from them. Jesus was their guide and teacher, their joy, peace, hope and love. Now He was physically leaving them, and I’m sure they thought: “Now who will guide us? Where will we go for the words of eternal life? He is God in the flesh — and He is leaving us! He said to go into all the world and preach the gospel in His name. But where will the power and authority come from? He is all we have ever known. We have built our entire world around Him!”
Jesus read their minds. And He knew what they were going to face: hardships, destitution, persecution, the loss of all things, the spoiling of their earthly goods, being dragged before magistrates, even being tortured for His name.
Yet I doubt that many — if any — of those disciples truly heard or understood Jesus’s immortal words: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” He was saying, “I will never turn you over to the clutches of Satan! I will never let you fight your battles alone. I know what you’re going to face — but I know Father’s wonderful plan for you. If you knew and understood it, your hearts would rejoice! You would be leaping for joy, because I am going to My Father.”
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever… he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17) Jesus was saying, “I leave you as one man — God in the flesh — and I will return to you as Spirit.” And indeed the Holy Ghost is, in essence, the very Spirit of Christ.
You may ask, isn’t the Holy Spirit sent to all mankind? Don’t the scriptures say He will be poured out upon all flesh in the last days?
Yes — He is sent to the world, to the sinner, for one purpose: as convicter and convincer of sin, righteousness and judgment. “And when he is come, he will reprove [convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).
First, He convicts of sin: “Of sin, because they believe not on me” (verse 9). The Spirit reveals that all sin is based on one foundation: unbelief. This means, simply, unbelief in the power and blood of Jesus Christ to save and deliver from sin.
Second, He convicts of righteousness: “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (verse 10). As Jesus looked out at His disciples, He was saying, “You who see me ascending to heaven bear witness to my righteousness — for God would not translate an unholy man. The Holy Spirit will say through you to the world, ‘You called Him a devil, a glutton, a winebibber, an imposter. But how do you answer His being taken into glory by the Father?'”
Third, He convicts of judgment: “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (verse 11). The Holy Spirit testifies to the world that there is now freedom for all men — because Jesus Christ judged and destroyed the power of Satan at the Cross.
Yet even though the Holy Spirit is poured out upon all men in this way, right now He is not living and abiding in the whole world. No, at this moment He lives only in those who are truly born again, who walk by faith in the finished work of the Cross. And He longs to make Himself fully known, both in them and to them.
The Holy Spirit was not sent to us as a passive, weak influence. Many Christians picture Him as some kind of sweet, innocent mist sprayed over the earth — a soothing, divine ether that fills their lives. Some believe all they have to do is simply “breathe Him in”!
No — The Holy Ghost is a person, with a personality! He is as real in Spirit as you are in the flesh! He has a mind, eyes, ears and feelings. You can’t picture Him in human form — but He hears and talks.
If Jesus were to suddenly appear alongside you, walking with you, would you talk to Him? Would you have any questions for Him, any requests? Would you unburden your heart to Him and tell Him all you are going through? Of course you would! And God has sent the A Holy Spirit to us on earth to be that personal to us!
I recently said to the Holy Ghost, “I read in the lives of the disciples that You spoke clearly to them. Holy Spirit, if You ever talked to any man after the Cross, then talk to me too!” He answered me, “I will, David, if you will acknowledge how personal I am to you.”
As I prepared this message, this sad truth exploded in my heart: We believe the Holy Ghost has been sent to the world. But we have a harder time believing He has been sent to us as individuals — that we can say, “He is mine!”
When the Holy Spirit Enters Our Hearts,
He Personalizes Our Relationship
With God the Father and Jesus.
The Holy Ghost has a way of simplifying our relationship with God the Father and Jesus. He is the One who teaches us to say, “Abba, Father.”
This phrase refers to an oriental custom of Bible days, regarding the adoption of a child. Until the adopting papers were signed and sealed by the adopting father, the child saw this man only as a father. He had no right to call Him Abba, meaning “my”.
Yet as soon as the papers were signed, registered and sealed, the child’s tutor presented Him to the adopting father — and for the first time the child could say, “Abba, Father!” As the father embraced Him, the young one cried, “My father! He’s not just a father anymore. He’s mine!”
This is the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He tutors you of Christ. He presents you to the Father. And He keeps minding you, “I have sealed the papers. You are no longer an orphan — you are legally a son of God! You now have a very loving, wealthy, powerful Father. Embrace Him — call Him ‘my Father.’ I have come to show you how much you’re loved by Him! He wouldn’t have adopted you when you were wild, sinful and rebellious unless He loved and wanted you!”
Think of the millions who are going to hell every day. But God chose you. And not only did He choose you — He also adopted you! He signed and sealed the papers by the Holy Spirit, so you could call the Father yours — so you could cry out, “Abba, Father!”
This cry should be one of exceeding joy and thanksgiving. The Spirit in us literally cries out, “You are an heir, an inheritor of all that Jesus won. And what an inheritance you have, because your FATHER is the wealthiest in the whole universe! Do not shy away from Him. He’s not mad at you. Stop acting like an orphan who’s poverty-stricken, lacking joy and spiritual victory. You are not forsaken — so enjoy Him!
“He is your Father. Jesus is your Lord, your brother, your friend, your Bridegroom. And I too have been sent just for you, to guide, defend and keep you. I am yours! I live in your heart, and I want to be intimate with you. We must walk and talk together!”
Beloved, I have found I no longer enter my prayer closet condemned, because I have this knowledge. I know my sins are under the blood. I know the Holy Ghost has given me strength to walk in His holiness and righteousness. And I can walk into His presence and say, “Holy Ghost, I know You fill the entire world — but You’re mine. You’re living in me! Jesus died for the whole world — but He’s also my Savior!”
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, FATHER. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God… heirs of God… joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:15-17).
Have you caught a glimpse of your own “adoption papers” yet? They’re right in front of you — in your Bible! And the Holy Spirit is the seal that says, “You have been adopted by the heavenly Father!”
The Holy Spirit Has Been Sent
To Us on a Love Mission.
The Spirit’s mission is to comfort Christ’s bride in the absence of the Bridegroom, Christ. “He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost” (verse 26). “When the Comforter is come” (15:26).
“Comforter” means one who soothes in a time of pain or grief — one who eases pain and sorrow, brings relief, consoles and encourages. But I like this definition from the Greek: “One who lays you down on a warm bed of safety.” During the cold, dark night of your soul, He lays you down on the soft bed of His comfort, soothing you with His tender hand.
By calling the Holy Spirit the Comforter, Jesus made an infallible prediction. He was predicting His people would be suffering discomfort, and would be in need of comfort — that there would be a lot of pain and suffering among His people in the last days.
Before Christ, the Spirit had come to earth at divine, appointed times — as Creator, as Revealer of divine truth, as Worker of great miracles. But only to us who live in the last days has He been sent as the Comforter!
You may say, “I’ve heard all my life that the Holy Spirit comforts me. but how does He comfort me? I need it now, because I’ve got problems and difficulties.” His answer to you is contained in two simple sentences:
“You Are Loved.
And You Are Leaving!”
First of all, the Holy Spirit brings comfort by reminding you that He lives in you with all the power of God inherent in His being. And that’s why you can say, “Greater is He that is in me than all world powers combined — greater than all demon powers!” God sent the Spirit to use all His power to keep you out of the clutches of Satan — to lift your spirit, drive away all depression and flood your soul with the love of your Lord.
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience… and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3,5).
The New American Standard version says God’s love is “poured out within our hearts,” into every nook and cranny of our being. That means when you’re in trouble… when persecution comes… when you don’t know which way to turn… in your most troubled, disturbing moments — stop everything! Talk to the Holy Spirit within you. Ask Him, “What do you have to say to me about this, at this exact moment?”
Do you think He’s going to stand by and do nothing? Would He watch passively as you’re being torn apart — when He’s the One who was there to number your parts as you were being formed in the womb?
No! During those times, He’ll say to you, “Take a big drink of God’s love!” The Holy Ghost is constantly pouring out the Father’s love in your heart. Will you receive it?
It is an absolute affront to the Holy Spirit for you to continue living day after day, year after year, as if you were a powerless, helpless orphan. It is frightful unbelief to remain fearful and anxious about tomorrow, fretting as if the Holy spirit within you is away on some journey and out of touch with your needs.
No, the Holy Ghost never takes a journey — He’s come to abide! He brings comfort in your tribulation, and He speaks loud and clear in you time of testing: “Don’t be ashamed of your trials and tribulations. Keep getting up! God is working patience in you, He is building experience in you. And He loves you in the midst of your pain!”
Yet the Holy Spirit comforts us in yet another wonderful way. He whispers to us:
“By the way, your suitcases are packed. You are an heir, and you’re not here for very long. Why get worked up over all this? You soon will leave all these troubles behind! So rejoice — you have a place prepared in glory. You’ve got an appointment, an eternal purpose. And I’m here to see that you get there!
The Holy Spirit Will Flood You With
The Knowledge That God Loves You!
It is at this point that multitudes of believers fail God. They are willing to be convicted of sin and failure, over and over again. But they will not allow the Holy Ghost to flood them with the love of the Father.
The legalist love to live only under conviction. He has never understood the love of God or allowed the Holy Spirit to minister that love to his soul. He will accept conviction, but he won’t let the Spirit bathe Him in the love of God. The result is that he never feels loved. And he lives under constant bondage of having to prove his love for the Lord!
We at Times Square Church have taught that the righteous person, the true lover of Jesus, loves reproof. He learns to welcome having the Holy Spirit expose all his hidden areas of sin and unbelief — because the more he deals with sin, the happier and freer he becomes.
Yet the attitude I see in many Christians is: “Keep on judging me, Lord — convict me, beat me!” This is not the same thing as true conviction. For example, I see this in many responses to my newsletter messages. When I write a message that thunders with judgment, I get overwhelmingly approving responses.
Yet when I share about the sweetness and love of Jesus, I receive letters saying, “You’re not preaching the truth anymore!” It is as though these people are saying, “If you’re not reproving, then what you’re saying can’t be the gospel.” Such believers have never entered into the great love-mission of the Holy Spirit!
My daughter Bonnie is married and has two children. Right now she is in a time of deep testing, fighting cancer with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is probably the worst moment of grief in my relationship with her, as I watch her suffering.
In the midst of all this she said to me, “Dad, I’ve always given you a hard time, haven’t I? I was never the kind of daughter I should have been. I’ve given you so much pain.”
Oh, how wrong she was! That wasn’t true at all — I never saw her that way growing up. I saw the good in her, the love. She was always special — never disappointing.
Yet this is the way so many children of God see themselves today. They feel like an orphaned child who can never quite please their father — one who is always slipping of failing Him.
How that hurts God! And if you feel that way, it’s an affront to the Holy Ghost — because you’re not seeing that part of His work is to comfort your heart. He comforts you with the knowledge that you’re loved, that you’ve been adopted — and that He is with you to see you through your troubles and problems.
This is where you must learn to walk in the Spirit — and not by feelings! I wrote in my last message that walking in the Spirit means allowing the Holy Ghost to do in us what He was sent to do. And that means allowing Him to flood your heart right now with the love of God! “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).
Perhaps you have been robbed of the love of God because of legalism. You go to church and sit in bondage and fear because, like my daughter Bonnie, you think you have dirty hands, that you’re the black sheep. You don’t know how to say, “My Father — Abba, Father!”
May God deliver you from that today! The Holy Spirit didn’t come to condemn you — He came to convict and judge the world! He came to show you you’re adopted by the Father, and that you are dearly loved!
The Holy Spirit Will Say to You This Very Day,
“As One Whom His Mother Comforteth, So Will I Comfort You.”
Isaiah said, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you: and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:13). Isaiah was writing to a stubborn people of God who “went on frowardly [backsliding] in the way of [their] heart” (Isaiah 57:17).
Tell me — how long would a teacher stick by a stubborn, obstinate student who refuses to heed advice?
Not very long! But the prophet Isaiah takes one of the highest images possible among men — that of a mother’s love for her child — and show us something of the love that our Father has for us.
I’ve seen many pictures in New York City newspapers of a mother walking into court alongside her accused son. She sits there faithfully throughout the trial, yearning over Him. She hears the evidence piling up — and she weeps. She is there when he stands to be sentenced. And as he is led away and turns to wave good-bye, she throws Him a kiss and cries as he is taken to prison. But she never gives up on Him!
One mother in our church takes a whole day to visit her son in an upstate prison. She gets on a bus and rides for hours, just to see Him for a short while. Such a mother will look across at her son in that drab uniform and see the agony in his eyes — and each trip she will die a little more inside. But she never quits on Him. He is still her son!
Dear saint, this is the kind of love the Holy Spirit wants you to know God has for you! He comforts us by telling us, “You once said you gave your all to Jesus. You gave Him your love, and He still loves you. And now, neither will I let you go. I’ve been sent by Him to do a work — and I will keep doing it!
There is no true comfort for anyone on this earth except that of the Holy Spirit. People run to counselors, psychologists, friends, priest, books, tapes, lectures, seminars, group sessions. But how much comfort do they get? Not enough to last them the trip home! It’s all in vain; the pain keeps coming back. No, the world has nothing to offer a hurting spirit: “The world knew Him not” (John 1:10).
This is why you need the Holy Ghost abiding in you. He alone can lay you down at night, as in a warm bed, and fill your heart with perfect peace. He alone can truly comfort you in times of pain and sorrow. He is the one who will assure you, “This comfort is not just temporary — it is eternal!
Have you been asking for the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit? Then don’t look for signs — just hunger for more of Jesus. Simply say, “Jesus, come and enrapture my heart; Holy Spirit, come and possess me. Be my comfort, be my guide.”
Simply pray in faith, believing — and trust that God, your loving, heavenly Father, will not give you a stone when you ask for bread. He will send the Comforter!