When I was 20 years old, I got an M. I. P. (Minor in Possession) at a bar in College Station, TX. My brother and I had just finished playing a 3 hour set with our band, and the bar owner gave us a free pitcher of beer, which we gladly accepted.
Plastic cup in hand, I was walking around like I owned the place when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the police, and I was busted. A few weeks later my mom and I showed up at court. Yes, mom came with me, and thankfully, she hired an attorney for me.
My defense attorney spent about 20 minutes counseling me before we went into court that morning. He knew the judge, and gave me really good advice about how to handle the situation. He instructed me that we should not try to fight the case, but that we should plead no contest. He also said that if the judge asked to speak with me, I should be respectful and remorseful. That was not a problem because I was scared out of my mind.
I think the judge was merciful to me that morning. The sentence I received was paying a $500 fine, doing several hours of community service and attending 6 classes of Alcoholics Anonymous. If I was compliant with the judge’s orders and didn’t receive any other alcohol-related citations for many months, the MIP would be wiped from my record.
Similar to the defense attorney that represented me that day in court, Jesus promised His disciples that one day after He left them, an Advocate would come to help them as well.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 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. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” – John 14:15-18
The first word in this passage that I’d like you to focus on is “another”. In the original language, the word “another” means “another of the same kind; another of similar type.” So Jesus was telling His disciples that when He left, God the Father would send another Helper who was of the same kind as Him. Jesus then calls this Helper, who is of the same kind as Himself, the “Spirit of truth.”
The second word I’d like for you to think about is “Helper”. Some translations use “Comforter”, some use “Counselor” and many use “Advocate”. The Greek word is Parakletos. Parakaletos basically carries the idea of a truthful and helpful defense attorney.
A good defense attorney will often engage in several different helpful activities when interacting with a guilty client.
My MIP defense attorney beseeched me to never engage in underage drinking again. He noticed I was freaking out, so he comforted me with a pat on the back and told me it was going to be okay. He exhorted me to apply his strategies when I went into the courtroom. He admonished me to banish all pride from my attitude from this point furthur. And finally, he encouraged me by saying that he would help me get through this situation and back on track again.
Are you in over your head today? Do you have a huge decision to make? Have you recently made a huge mistake that has brought significant unease to your future outlook? Is a former close relationship now on the rocks due to sinful behaviors? Do you just need guidance and empowerment to be who God has called you to be in the midst of the daily stressors of life?
The Holy Spirit is like a perfect defense attorney. A perfect Advocate. An ever-present Helper in times of need. And just like the early Christians found Him to be gracing them with everything they needed for life and godliness, the Spirit of Jesus offers the same help to us today.