Sweet leaves the best for last. Traveling toward the crucifixion, Jesus promised His followers of a paraclete - a comforter, helper, and guide. Upon receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit (cf Acts 2). Wherever we go, whatever we do, God's presence lives within us.
He guides in the sense of letting our conscience know the difference between right and wrong. He brings conviction when and where its needed. Our prayer should be the same as John. "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).
The paraclete also is a friend who comes along side us in life. God has said, "I will never leave you nor will I forsake you" (Dt. 31:6,8; Josh. 1:5). Even though the the Peters, Rhodas, Judas', and Jethros of our lives will let us down, the paraclete (God with us) will never be unfaithful.
Finally, the paraclete is our comforter - not in the sense that He's our slave providing a cold drink, a warm blanket, or a pillow for our weary head. The presence of God in our lives comforts us in that He goes before and behind. He protects us and provides providence. As the Apostle Paul said, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31)
Scripture calls Abraham a friend of God (Is. 41:8). The Gospel is exactly that message. Each one of us can be a friend of God. As Sweet says, "The secret of a happy life is friendship with God" (219).
Too many people believe God to be a standoffish, powerful ogre, just waiting for someone to mess up so that He can make the record straight. When we understand this most important relationship with that of the Paraclete/Holy Spirit, it reidentifies our lives in Christ. God is still all-powerful and holy. That's what makes His offer of being His friend (the Gospel message) so amazing.
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