When Jesus left our world He didn’t leave us alone, expecting us to live holy lives without help; He knew we couldn’t do it. Who can forgive when hurt, love the unloveable, keep bitterness away, or work without acknowledgment or praise? That’s Jesus’ point.
Only John records Jesus’ final, intimate words to His disciples before leaving this earth. In chapters 14-17 we find a name or character trait of the Spirit given three times: Spirit of truth. Jesus knew that people lie to themselves, for various reasons, but He promised to send us help to expose those hidden lies and lead us into revelation and honesty. If He was here I think He’d say, “I’m going to help you tell yourself the truth.”
The Spirit of truth operates as a tour guide in a believer’s heart whether we want Him to or not:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth … John 16:13a ESV
You may be tempted to cover a hidden motive, rationalize your responses, or defend yourself against opposition but the Spirit of truth will always expose those heart conditions and guide you into telling yourself the real truth. He doesn’t leave us in dishonesty; He loves us enough to push us into true honesty. Whether or not you heed His call, listen to His prompting, and repent is totally up to you. King David chose the higher way:
“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalms 51:6, 10-11 ESV
I might paraphrase, “I’m sorry for my dishonest attitudes, allowing bitterness to grow in my heart, or ignoring Your voice. I need Your guidance and direction; don’t take it from me but help me listen and obey.”
The Spirit of truth will also declare the facts; Jesus said,
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26 ESV
We don’t use those words bear witness anymore but we do know about the confirmation of events or facts: like being on a witness stand. The Holy Spirit tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth whether we want to hear it or not. We may say we’re Christians, Christ-followers, and then the Spirit of truth reminds us of Jesus’ teachings: forgiveness, love, generosity, mercy, and grace. The Spirit takes our bad attitudes or wrong motives and compares them to Jesus’ words; He is the Spirit of His Son (Gal. 4:6) sent to bring us back into honesty and sincerity.
We’re not walking alone, just doing our best, but we are filled with the Spirit of truth to help us look more like Jesus.