In short, I’d like my decisions to be based on the Holy Spirit being my “Paraclete.” This was the Greek word Jesus used in John 14:16 when he told his disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (NIV translation).
“Counselor” is the word used in several other Bible translations for Paraclete too, but words like “Advocate,” “Helper,” and “Comforter” pop up as well. Surprising for me, though, was how many translators went for the word “Advocate.” And there’s no doubt the Greek means that, but what does it mean in English?
So on the hunt I went and discovered in a vote on synonyms for the word “Advocate” that the top choice was “Intercessor,” expressed rather nicely in this statement I read, that “When important decisions are being made about your life, we (your Advocate Intercessors) will stand by you to help you to understand the important issues, understand your rights and take control of your life.”
I had a bit of trouble with the “take control” part, but Romans 8:6 does say “the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace,” and in verse 9, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.”
As my Advocate, then, the Holy Spirit has full control of my life, but as Paul wrote in verse 14, “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” As “God’s children,” then, verse 16, we look forward to sharing the same life and glory as THE Son of God, verse 17, but in the meanwhile, while “we wait eagerly” for that to happen (verse 23), the “Spirit helps us in our weakness” and “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express,” verse 26.
As God’s children, then, we have an ever present Advocate “helping” and “interceding” for us. Imagine having a lawyer like that, who takes us that seriously, making absolutely sure our case and voice are heard and fully respected. But that’s exactly what we’ve got. As children of God we have a champion in the Holy Spirit, a backer and promoter, supporting us at all times, advising us, reminding us, guiding us, mentoring us and empathizing with our every need, and it’s happening all the time “for he lives with you and will be in you,” Jesus said in John 14:17. It explains why some translators use the words “Counselor” and ”Comforter” for Paraclete too, to express how intimately involved the Spirit is in our lives, and what he’s in us and with us for.
So rather than fear the decisions that may have to be made we have a Paraclete in total control of the best outcome. He is the master of timing, the great orchestrator of bringing people together who can share and care and help each other. He can direct our thoughts when tricky situations arise, or the world is driving us crazy.
He settles us down, helps us see sense, gives us the right words to say to cool a heated exchange or heal a relationship, and he comforts us when we’re feeling helpless. He gives us the humility to admit we’re wrong and receive correction. He’ll make it obvious when we need to stand up and be counted, and when to keep quiet, so in all these things we can look back on a year of decisions that help us “know” he’s been with us (John 14:17 and 1 John 4:13).
So here we are with another year and another chance to prove it.