All of this I have told you, so that you will not fall away.”
The Lord knows that we are susceptible to doubts and fears. Just as a burning ember removed from the fire quickly cools, when we are left alone we lose our spiritual fervency. This is why the individual believer needs the church fellowship, and this is why the entire church fellowship needs the sustaining presence of the Spirit.
Specifically, the teaching of John 14-16 that the Lord gave his disciples would sustain them during the time His body was in the tomb, and during the ten days between His Ascension and the Coming of the Spirit. He told them these things that would happen to them later through the Spirit’s presence within and among them, so that they would not lose heart and fall away. Yet the words also explain another important function of the Spirit, that the Spirit sustains the people of God in their witness, in their life, and in their community.
We are mere flesh and blood, members of the race of Adam of whom God said, “The imaginations of their hearts run to evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). The image of God that was stamped across the human race at creation has become so twisted and marred that often it is hardly recognizable. How can we follow Christ in ourselves? How can we learn of His truth in our heart of hearts? How can we provide a witness that will bring others into the fellowship of faith? How can we remain faithful when others fall away, when persecution or rejection comes, and when the problems of life seem to swallow us up?
God had a plan from the beginning, that His Spirit would abide within us to sustain us in all of these areas. What a Friend and Counselor we have in Him! There will not be a single road we walk down in life without His presence, never a room we enter without Him being with us, never a temptation to come to us except that He is there, never a discouragement that He cannot lift from our hearts. He sustains us in our love for Him, for the Spirit bears witness in our hearts that we are His children. He enlivens our prayers, gives us hope in darkness, makes the bright days still brighter, opens our minds to understand and our hearts to receive.
As followers of Christ, we are more than just ourselves. We are sustained by His Spirit. Circumstances are no longer overwhelming for us, for God is within us and will enable us to stand.
Thank You, Lord, for Your sustaining presence in our lives. We give You the praise the the glory for our faith and our witness. Teach us to stand in Your strength and love, and not in our own efforts in the flesh. Amen.