Last week I talked about how sin, by separating us from God's will, can cause the Spirit within us to go silent. This week, I just heard a sermon that dovetailed with this, as far as the why of it. David Jeremiah explained how the Holy Spirit- the Paraclete- is by name and nature our encourager. Thus it makes sense that when sin causes the Spirit indwelling you to shut up for a time (until you are again willing to listen), it would be natural that you might find yourself... depressed, as I was. Short sermon, eh?
Not really. Because just like there are more layers to depression, and sometimes it is the physiological as well as (or instead of) the spiritual, the other end of things also has a few additional layers.
What I am trying to get at is, do we look to the Holy Spirit for our encouragement? Do we see that as His purpose?
John 14, Jesus speaking: 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
The word here called helper is also translated comforter, advocate, or counselor. It is the word parakletos, which means, "to come alongside". Do you see the Spirit as any of those things, or just as a divine "addendum" to the conscience? Do you come to Him when you need help, whether in praying (I do that a lot) or in some physical need (not so much)? Do you turn to Him to bring you out of a depression, or even just to help you read the evening news without going nuts? Do you turn to Him as an advocate, taking advantage of Romans 8:
In the same way, the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself intercedes with groans too deep for words, and the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to God's will. Rom 8:26-27
Do you come to Him for advice, or just expect Him to line things up so that you can't help but do the right thing? How do you approach the Spirit, and does it make a difference?
Consider this: the effect, as I said, on my life of the Spirit's silence was a depression and a discouragement with the world. But is it only a personal thing. Regard this passage:
2 Thessalonians 2: 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
"He who now restrains it." Look at the world. We who are Christians can agree that things are falling apart so much more rapidly in our lifetimes. Now, follow me on a logic path.
First, if we allow sin to cloud the Spirit in us, depression and discouragement follow.
Second, the apocalypse will follow once the Spirit is removed from earth.
Then is the current falling away, the "rebellion", due to a LOT of us silencing the Spirit?
Do we as a Christian body silence the Spirit by our attitude to Him, draining the Church of encouragement, causing a partial "moving out of the way" of the Spirit? I don't know. But I've rarely seen a "it's just me" problem that actually ended with "just me". Perhaps we all need to examine whether we are allowing the Spirit to be all He wants to be for us.