John 16:8a And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.
Coaching is critical, demands respect and requires athletes to put trust in them. Coaches have many functions including teacher, trainer, motivator, role model, friend and often counselor. Great coaches 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 that “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 behavior credited towards him, when he actually 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). Like coach Landry’s description of the tough love coach, this is what the mighty Counselor is like. Many refuse to see the Holy Spirit as a tough love coach, but what do the scriptures tell us about him?
In John 16 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). True to Jesus’ prophecy and God’s word, what do the Scriptures say when we look at the Pentecost story in Acts 2? The disciples, and other believers, were in an upper room and 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; 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 rose and addressed 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?’” (Acts 2:37).
Many Christians run around searching for the Holy Spirit, drawn by unexplained manifestations like shaking, barking like a dog, or mystical unions – all manifestations you can find in other religions like Hinduism (the Kundalini effect). The irony is that the Holy Spirit lives in all believers (Romans 8:9). If you want to see the Holy Spirit at work, look for repentant hearts – the true miracle from the Holy Spirit. He brings honor to God by convicting men of their sin. This includes unbelievers (Acts 2:37), and believers who require relational forgiveness (1 John 1:8). The most powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit is when, in tears, a person falls on their face in remorse for their sin. But the story does not end there – our Father 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). Invite the Holy Spirit in today for some tough love, to search your heart and convict you of sin.