I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:25–27)
Have you ever asked for help? You may think I’m expecting you to say, “Of course I have.” But, if you and I were chatting over a cup of coffee, and I asked you: “Have you ever asked for help?” and you responded, “No, in my adult life I really haven’t,” I would not automatically assume you were lying. Why? Because if I’ve learned anything it’s that sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing to do.
During the years that my wife and I lived in Denver, we lived in several different apartment buildings; one of those being on the third story…no elevator. And, of course, in my own stubbornness I didn’t need anyone to help me move in. So, I spent days carrying all of our furniture, belongings, everything we owned, down from a second-story apartment and up to a third-story apartment in a different building. Then, it came time to move our mattress. It was certainly not the heaviest thing I had lifted (try an upright dresser with drawers), but it was the largest and most awkward. I tried putting it on my back, lifting it from the middle, inching it up the stairs and anything else that was humanly possible. The one thing I didn’t try was asking someone for help. As it turned out, just about the time I had the mattress good and wedged on the first flight of stairs, my new neighbor came out of his apartment, looked at me with an odd glance, thought about walking away but instead asked, “Can I help?” I (hesitantly) accepted, and in about 45 seconds, we had the mattress to the top of the stairs, in our new apartment and placed in the bedroom. Another 90 seconds, and we had the box spring in the same location.
As silly as that was, it revealed something in me. It is hard for me to ask for help. And yet, here is Jesus, the last time that he spoke with his disciples prior to his arrest, and the words he left with his followers were: “I am about to go away, but I’ll send a helper. I won’t abandon you as orphans.” (John 14:16–17) I don’t doubt that many of us struggle to ask for help, not because we don’t know how to pronounce the four-letter word, but because we want to do everything on our own. And, if we do this in the little (silly) things, we certainly are going to be tempted to do it with the larger things of life as well.
Being a Christian entitles a person to an incredible heavenly inheritance that Jesus Christ assured, deserved, earned and secures for us. But it is also a responsibility to now share this message of hope, truth, love, sin, righteousness and judgment, and to make disciples of all the world. (Pause now, and read John 16:8-11 and Matthew 28:18-20.) Being a Christian means admitting our desperate need for God’s help, and living as a Christian in the world also means that we must ask the Holy Spirit—our Helper—to teach us, guide us, and make known to us the truth of Jesus every day. And, the Holy Spirit does this for us because he is not a force or a power or an impersonal “thing,” but he is a person, he is God, he is worthy of praise, and he is able to help us; the Holy Spirit is a “he” not an “it.”
So, even if you’ve never asked for anything in your life, or if in your asking for help you always try to manipulate the person to give you what you want (and not how they want to help you), let me exhort you to admit your inability to God, and ask him to help you through the working of the Holy Spirit in your life. The Holy Spirit can teach us, guide us and equip us to be the people that God desires for us to be. Let’s receive his help rather than trying to manipulate him to achieve the things that we want ourselves. Let’s ask for help. God will not fail us. And, let’s not try to fool ourselves; God doesn’t fall for our attempts at manipulation.