11/05/2006

GOD, THE FRIENDLY SPIRIT

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Parakletos); that He will be with you forever." John 14:16

Have you ever felt discouraged, at a breaking point, or ready to just give up? I have many times, and it is at these times that I need encouragement.

Parakaleo, or, "to encourage", is a Greek word used in many places within the New Testament. It is broken down into several different definitions, the two most common being "urge" and "encourage". As you see in the verse above, I took the liberty to insert the Greek word for the Holy Spirit, Parakletos.

There are many different interpretations of this word Parakletos, but the one I find that best suits it is encourager, or urger. After all, you don't find parakaleo being used in the context of "counseling" even once anywhere in the New Testament. It just isn't there, yet modern interpretations of the word Parakletos most often attribute "Counselor" as the meaning.

Using the context in which Jesus was speaking to His disciples, I find His use of the word Parakletos to be very significant. After all, He was telling them He was leaving them for a short while, and they were in need of comfort and encouragement. Thus, the name for the Spirit of God which we know today was born; Parakletos, or, encourager.

That doesn't sound real close to "Angry God", or "Judgmental God", does it? In fact, it actually sounds like "friendly God", as in, Casper the friendly Ghost, or God, the friendly, Holy, Spirit.

Let's just drop the word "holy" for now, because we all know that God is holy. Besides, the way many Christians use the word "holy", it tends to sound awful unfriendly, and Jesus was implicit in His meaning; The Spirit is friendly and encouraging.

There was a time in my past, when all alone, with a gun at my side and a letter written, the only encouragement I was going to find was an end; or at least I thought. But from nowhere, encouragement came, and I lived. There was no one around to help me, no man, woman, or child. There was no priest, pastor, or elder; heck, the radio and TV weren't even on. How do you explain being suddenly encouraged to go on when there is no external source encouraging you?

Take a look at the first part of Parakletos. The Greek word para means "from" or "among, or "with". The friendly Spirit is so friendly, He lives with us, and is a voice encouraging us, within us. That agrees with my experience of all the times I have been encouraged without any external means of encouragement nearby.

I wonder...has it ever happened for you?

God, The Father...The Friendly Spirit. The encourager. He is sounding more and more like someone who wouldn't know anything at all about a hell as described by Christians. But if you need a friend, if you need encouragement, then God is your man. The Parakletos, the Friendly Spirit, is with us now, and with us forever, all of us; even if you say you don't believe.

2 comments:

MMM said...

And so He is. Well written, brother!

Tom Reindl said...

Thanks MMM :)