Episode #26: One way the Holy Spirit helps us that we tend to forget about. Plus a book recommendation and a recipe.Mar 23, 2021
As business owners who want to integrate our faith with our work and who understand that even a financially successful business outside God’s will isn’t truly successful, we should avail ourselves of all God’s help available to us, right?
But do we?
This week we’re focusing on God’s daily help available to us -- this is the help we so desperately need and, I think if we’re honest ourselves, we forget about and then, of course, we try too hard to do things in our own strength.
The Theme of the Month is Burnout and the Word of the Week is renew. Following is the corresponding devotional -- the text version of the podcast segment. Mentioned resources and links from the Desk to Desk audio only segment are at the end of the devotional.
God helps us.
David knew this when he wrote: I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. - Psalm 121:1-2
Samuel knew this when he “took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer and said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” - 1 Samuel 7:12
Paul knew this when he wrote, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
And I knew it when I stood in front of a class mostly made up of male seminary students getting their PhDs and gave an oral presentation on the life of John Donne. I was as nervous as I had ever been -- how I got into this situation is a story for another podcast -- but I had been up all night, made myself sick over it and was feeling pretty raw when I threw myself into the Lord’s hands and confessed I needed His help because I couldn’t do it myself. And help me He did. I felt an immediate calm and found myself delivering my presentation and enjoying it. I knew it was only from the Lord.
And if you’ve been part of God’s family for any length of time at all, you likely have a similar story that’s very clearly supernatural. A time you remember you were completely at the end of your rope and in a place where only God could help and He did.
But for the remainder of our time today -- for just a few more minutes -- I want to focus on one of the ways God gives you help that isn’t always so obvious.” It’s not like one minute you’re shaking and the next moment you’re having a grand ole time doing something you never thought you would ever be doing but it’s just as amazing. And it happens every time you pray. And I suspect even when you’re not.
Let’s go to Romans 8 again and review those words again from Paul where he wrote about the Spirit helping us in our weakness -- this time with a little more context from the verses before and after.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Now, those last two verses are placed in another subheading in my Bible but since the paragraph breaks aren’t inspired I threw those in this section because it works.
So the rest of this week and beyond I want you to be encouraged with the knowledge that the third person of the Trinity -- God the Holy Spirit -- is helping you by interceding for you with perfect knowledge of the will of God.
The word for help here in the original Greek is only used one other time in Scripture and that, interestingly, is found in the account of the sisters Mary and Martha when Jesus was visiting.
In Luke 10 we read, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
That’s the same kind of help the Holy Spirit gives us in our weakness according to Romans 8.
Reading on in Luke 10,
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
So here we have Martha busy in too much activity -- the kind that easily leads to burnout -- not bad activity, not wrong activity -- preparations still needed to be made, dinner needed to be fixed and served -- but clearly she was concerned with what Jesus says are “extras.” Maybe decorating the table just right or extra fancy menu items that take extra time to make -- and she asks for very specific help. And the Lord gives her another kind of help.
Now jumping back to Romans 8, let’s take a closer look at this kind of help that the Holy Spirit gives us. Three points I want to make here:
- He helps us by praying for us -- on our behalf before God the Father.
This is pretty significant. James 5:16 tells us, “ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Now if the prayer of a righteous yet flawed person has great power, can you imagine the power of the Holy Spirit’s prayer? Of course as we read here, the Holy Spirit’s prayer is happening at the same time that the righteous person is praying so that’s a pretty big piece of the puzzle -- but you get my point here. It is incredibly significant that the Holy Spirit is praying for us.
- He helps us not just by praying for us, but by praying for us the right way when, because in our weakness, we pray the wrong way.
Remember, Paul asked for the thorn in his flesh to be removed when the right thing to pray was for God’s strength to carry Him through.
And Martha asked the Lord for pretty specific help from her sister in the meal preparations -- when Jesus had something better in mind.
- He helps us by praying prayers guaranteed to be answered in the affirmative.
Every request the Spirit makes for us -- God grants -- because He is praying in God’s will.
Verses 27 and 28 say, “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God’s purposes will not be thwarted -- even by our prayer. As Christians, we know that God’s plans are always and infinitely better than our plans -- if we could see into the future, that’s exactly what we would pray for.
But it’s okay that we can’t see into the future because the Spirit can and He prays for us better than we could ever pray for ourselves.
Remember, Romans 8:31 and 32 -- if He is for us, who can be against us?
One final thought to take with you this week from Romans 8: 31-32 , He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
The same God who saved you is the same God who helps you. He is gracious. He is good. He is generous.
Desk to Desk Links and Resources:
The question of the week is:
- How do you or your family prepare your hearts for Resurrection Sunday?
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