John 16: 8a And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.
Coaching is such a critical position. By their very position the coach demands respect and accordingly athletes put significant trust and reliance on their coach. Coaches may have many functions including technical teachers, trainers, motivators, role models, friends and often counselors. Great coaches are never abusive, nor belittling, but they are firm. They counsel their athletes with what they need to hear. Legendary Dallas Football coach Tom Landry said: “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” Some would call what coach Landry is describing as “tough love”.
Coach Landry’s description reminded me of a person in the Bible. This person has been misrepresented, mocked and all sorts of absurd behaviour credited towards him, when in reality he condones none of it. Jesus talked about him when he spoke to his disciples and he described him as a counselor. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” (John 14: 16-17a) Interestingly, like coach Landry’s description of the tough love coach, this is precisely what the might Counselor is like. Many refuse to see the Holy Spirit as a tough love coach, but what do the scriptures actually tell us about the Holy Spirit?
A few chapters later in the book of John, Jesus provides a further description of the Counselor. “But I tell you the truth: it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regards to sin and righteousness and judgement.” (John 16: 7-8) And true to Jesus’ prophecy and God’s word, what do the Scriptures say when we look to the story of Pentecost in Acts 2. The disciples, Mary and other women, and Jesus’ brothers were all in Jerusalem in an upper room and we read that the Holy Spirit came and “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”. (v 4). These tongues were real languages as it says that the crowd was amazed “because each one heard them speaking in his own language” (v 6). “Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine’” (v 13)
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter rises and addresses the crowd. The Holy Spirit prompts Peter to quote from the prophet Joel to explain that the arrival of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of prophecy (vv 17-21). Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, goes on to describe the people’s sin, the righteousness that comes from Christ (vv 24-32) and judgement (vv 33-35). “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (v 37).
Many Christians are running around the globe searching for the Holy Spirit, drawn by unexplained manifestations like shaking, screaming, barking like a dog, or mystical unions with God – all manifestations you can easily find in other religions like the Kundalini effect of Hinduism. The irony is that the Holy Spirit lives in all believers (Romans 8:9). If you are looking to see if the Holy Spirit is at work, then look for repentant hearts. This is the true miracle that comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings honour to Jesus Christ by convicting men of their sins, this includes unbelievers as we read in Acts 2:37, and also believers who require relational forgiveness from God (1 John 1:8). If you want to see a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit, watch a person fall flat on their face with tears running down their face in total and absolute remorse for their sin. Ironically the Holy Spirit causes a person to fall forward, not backward as many false teachers claim. But the story does not end there. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit picks us up. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Have you invited the Holy Spirit to search your heart lately and to convict you of sin? Do so, and experience the awesome power of our Father’s unending grace and mercy. Allow your Counselor to come into your life and deliver his tough love message.