“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you. . . .”
Keeping Jesus’ commands means obeying what Jesus tells us to do. That’s simple to understand. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to do.
The main command Jesus has in mind here is “Love one another” (John 13:34). That’s a great-sounding command, and I really want to keep it. I think of myself as a loving person. But then I hear or read the daily news about all kinds of crimes and war and people’s abuses of one another. Suddenly I’m struggling to love. How do we love criminals? How do we love oppressors? How do we even love people who simply disagree with us?
We also realize there is more to keeping Jesus’ commands than simply obeying. Part of keeping commands means that we hold on to a command even when we have recently broken it. It means that we should try again. And again. And again. Because of God’s forgiveness, we’re not lost forever when we fail. But we must also keep trying.
Thankfully, Jesus provides us with the help we need. Jesus promised an advocate—an encourager. Someone who will put his arm around us when we need comfort, and someone who will spur us on when we need to try again and keep trying. The advocate is the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent him to live in us so that we will never be alone in trying to keep Jesus’ commands.
Dear Jesus, with your Spirit in me, help me to sense your grace over my failures and your power to help me obey. Amen.
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