Although I’ve taught about the Holy Spirit for years, recently the Lord has given me fresh light on His ministry. It’s a simple but vital fact: to operate in something, we need a revelation of how it works.
When it comes to natural things, that’s obvious. You could have a lawnmower sitting in your yard, but if you don’t know what it can do and how to turn it on, it’s not going to help you. The same is true in the realm of the spirit. As believers, we can possess powerful God-given resources, but if we don’t know what they are and how they work, we can’t operate in them.
That’s why I’m constantly searching the Word for revelation about the Holy Spirit. I know He’s living inside me and has the power to propel me into victory. I believe He can mow down every obstacle that threatens to stop me from fulfilling God’s will. And I’m determined to learn everything necessary to release His abilities in all their fullness in my life.
Although I’ve taught about the Holy Spirit for years, recently the Lord has given me fresh light on His ministry. A friend gave me the book, New Testament Words by William Barclay, and it’s opened my eyes to aspects of the Paraklete that I’ve never understood. If you’re not familiar with the word paraklete, it’s the Greek word translated “comforter” in the King James Version of the Bible. It’s the word Jesus used when He told His disciples:
• I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16 KJV)
• …the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (v. 26 KJV)
• I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7 KJV)
To me, the word comfort has a very narrow definition. I’ve always thought of it as consolation or sympathy in the midst of sorrow or distress. But according to Mr. Barclay, it actually means much more. Derived from the Latin word for fortress, the term comforter was chosen by the first translators because it refers to a person who is brave, strong, and courageous, like a warrior who meets challenges with a strength that defies all odds. It speaks of someone who is lionhearted or tough or a force that dominates and subdues.
Do those descriptions fit the Holy Spirit? Absolutely! Time and again throughout the Bible, He reveals Himself in exactly that way.
A Mighty One-Man Army
Take how He operated through Samson, for example. One of the most famous Old Testament heroes, he had a mission to fulfill just like you and I do. He was called by God to singlehandedly deliver the Jews from the nation of the Philistines.
No matter how many hours a man might spend in the gym, such a mission is impossible! There’s no way any human being can defeat an entire nation all by himself. But then, Samson wasn’t alone. He had the Comforter working through him to provide him with the supernatural strength that defies all odds.
He initially discovered what that strength could do when the Lord sent him on a kind of practice run. He was on his way to the land of the Philistines (to introduce his parents to his girlfriend) when he encountered a lion. The “young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid; but he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done” (Judges 14:5–6, Amp.).
Tearing apart a lion with your bare hands is amazing enough, but for Samson it was just the beginning. Once he got down to the real business of conquering the Philistines, he performed even more remarkable feats. He “found a still moist jawbone of a donkey…and slew 1,000 men with it” (Judges 15:15 Amp.). Then He went to Gaza and “took hold of the doors of the city’s gate and the two posts, and pulling them up, bar and all, he put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is before Hebron” (Judges 16:3 Amp.).
Can you imagine such a thing? The Gaza gate must have been massive! Yet, empowered by the Comforter, Samson was able to tear it loose from the city walls all by himself and carry it for miles.
Because of some foolishness on Samson’s part, the Philistines eventually captured him, gouged out his eyes, and put him in prison. They thought they’d put an end to God’s one-man army. But they were wrong. As they made sport of Samson in an arena filled with 3,000 people, he put his hands on the pillars that supported the structure and literally brought the house down. “So the dead whom he slew at his death were more than they whom he slew in his life”
(v. 31 Amp.).
According to the Bible, Samson did all those mighty deeds by the help of the Holy Ghost—the same Comforter who lives inside us today!