His Nearness in My Loneliness
April 26, 2011 - If you feel alone and desolate, Jesus understands. His nearness can bring you comfort, change and clarity.
by Anne Graham Lotz
Teenage suicide victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, divorcees, widows and widowers, singles, juvenile delinquents, prison inmates, cancer victims, and the eleven disciples of Jesus on the Thursday evening before the crucifixion—they all have something in common. What is it? It’s an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
In our overpopulated world, with people ...
walking on crowded sidewalks,
riding crowded buses,
living in crowded housing,
driving on crowded streets,
shopping in crowded malls,
vacationing in crowded resorts,
backpacking in crowded parks,
eating in crowded restaurants,
working in crowded offices,
dying in crowded hospitals ...
Many are desperately lonely. The dictionary defines loneliness as being without companionship; a feeling of desolation; depressed at being alone. When have you felt lonely—even in a crowd? Desolate? Without companionship to the point you were depressed at being alone?
Does your loneliness stem from the fact that you feel unknown? Misunderstood? Ignored? Then you need Jesus—and you need more of His nearness in your loneliness, because Jesus knows you. He understands you. And you have His undivided attention through the Person of the Holy Spirit.
HIS NEARNESS BRINGS COMFORT
Read John 16:5-16
In John 16:5-7, why did the disciples need comfort? What do you think they were feeling?
Comfort of His Person
- What names does John 16:5-16 use in speaking of the Holy Spirit? What does this teach you about the Holy Spirit?
- What do the following passages tell us about names in Scripture? Genesis 32:27-28; Matthew 1:21; Matthew 16:17-18.
- List four names for the Holy Spirit from John 16:6-7 (KJV); John 16:13; and John 14:26.
- Give the dictionary definition for the key word of each name, then write in your own words how it describes an aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work or character.
- Assign each of the following verses to one of the names of the Holy Spirit, and apply each verse to your own life: 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; James 1:5.
- Which of His names is most meaningful to you? Why?
- What promise did Jesus give His disciples in John 16:7 and John 14:16-17? How does His promise differ from the Old Testament experience of the Holy Spirit in Numbers 11:25; Judges 14:6; 1 Samuel 16:13 and Psalm 51:11?
- From Acts 2:1-21, describe how Jesus kept His promise.
- Although Pentecost, like the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, was an historical event never to be repeated, when does the Holy Spirit come into a person’s life? See Acts 2:38 and Ephesians 1:13-14. Once you have received the Holy Spirit, is His presence temporary or permanent, according to these verses?
Compare Genesis 1:2 with Genesis 1:3-31. What role do you think the Holy Spirit had at Creation? Do you think His power is less today?
He Changes Me
- From the following verses, how does the Holy Spirit bring about change in our lives? 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 7:6, 8:5-6; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; Ephesians 6:17-18; Philippians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:5; Jude 20; Revelation 2:29.
- What command does Ephesians 4:29-31 give us in reference to the Holy Spirit? Explain this command in your own words. (If we only grieve for those we genuinely care about and love, what does this imply about the Holy Spirit’s relationship with every believer?)
- What command does God give us in Ephesians 5:18? Give phrases from Ephesians 5:1-2, 10, 15, 17 and 20 that help us understand how to obey this command.
- From Galatians 5:22-25 and Acts 4:31, what evidence of the Holy Spirit’s filling should others be able to see in our lives?
- How does the Holy Spirit change others, according to Jesus in John 16:8-11? Based on these verses, do you think guilt is a good or a bad thing?
- The Holy Spirit will convict the world of guilt in regard to three things. What are they? Pray that the Holy Spirit would do this in the lives of the unsaved people on your prayer list.
- If the Holy Spirit’s responsibility is to convict the world of guilt and to convince the world of truth, what would be the most effective way to bring about change in another person’s life?
- From John 18:15-18 and John 18:25-27, describe the change in Peter’s life before he received the Spirit. From Acts 4:8-13, describe Peter’s life after he received the Spirit.
- If God the Holy Spirit can transform Peter, do you think He can change your loved one?
Clarity to the Written Word
- Apply John 16:13 to a person’s struggle to understand God’s Word.
- According to Ephesians 1:17-19, what can you do to help someone who is struggling to understand God’s Word?
- Who is the subject of the Bible, according to Luke 24:26-27?
- Without the Spirit’s clarity, how does the world view Jesus?
- What is the Holy Spirit’s agenda, according to John 16:14-15? If you and I are filled with the Spirit, what should our agenda be?