Have you ever needed to know which way to turn—what choice to make? Have you ever felt caught in that awful position called transition, where you wonder if things will ever move forward and change?
Don't you sometimes wish a complete guidebook or DVD would just drop down from heaven's storehouse, into your lap? Have you sometimes wished for a personal appointment with the man Christ Jesus, so He could tell you everything you want to know?
But Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). Jesus, the Son of God, who cannot lie, told His disciples that it is better that the Holy Spirit come and be with them than for Him to remain.
Jesus had more things to say to his disciples, but they could not bear them right then. He knew ahead of time that they would need some ongoing coaching. He also knew He would have a lot more disciples to tutor in the centuries to come.
So the Master enacted a grand plan: He would go back to His Father, and they would send the Holy Spirit to the 12 disciples, to the other believers who were with them and to all subsequent disciples.
God has promised in His Word that He will take care of us and never leave us or forsake us. He knows that when it comes to walking into the shadows of the unknown, we much prefer to hold someone's hand and be guided by the voice of a wise and strong guide.
That is why our Father gave us our very own personal tutor—His precious Holy Spirit.
The Tutor of God's Personal Touch
The Holy Spirit is our counselor and our teacher, yet he is more than a teacher. He is more like a tutor—but He is not just any tutor. The Holy Spirit is the kind of tutor who truly loves to spend individual, personal time with each of his students. He is like that rare kind of guidance counselor who actually becomes a friend. He is like the teacher who becomes a personal mentor.
To help us gain a little more insight, let's glance at how the word "tutor" is described in the dictionary:
"tutor n: a person charged with the instruction and guidance of another as a private teacher"
"tutor vt 1: to have guardianship, tutelage, or care of 2: to teach or guide usually individually in a special subject or for a particular purpose : COACH ~ vi 1: to do the work of a tutor 2: to receive instruction especially privately"
This is the special kind of relationship we can have with the Holy Spirit. As a personal tutor, He is also a personal coach who can help us win out on the playing field of life.
He is not like an ordinary tutor or teacher who clocks in and out. As we graduate from one level of spiritual development to the next, He remains our lifelong personal tutor. All along, He instructs us as to what life lessons we need to learn, and He even helps us know in what order to take them.
When asked the question, "What one person in your life has influenced you the most?" often people answer with the name of a special schoolteacher or coach they had when growing up. I know what my answer would be. Besides Jesus Himself, the Holy Spirit has made more of an impact on my life than any person has.
The Holy Spirit leaves an immeasurable impact upon our lives. He is able to teach, influence and comfort—all at the same time, always with the most careful love. We know God loves us, but the Holy Spirit shows us that God even likes us! God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, likes hanging out with us, and we with Him.
The quality of time we spend fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit has everything to do with hearing God's voice. I love to ask Him questions. My mother always said I was a very curious child. With God, we all can be curious cats. Go ahead and ask him questions. The more specific we become in our asking, the more detailed His answers to us will be.
In fact, pause right now and ask God a question. He will answer! Watch out, though. The Holy Spirit might turn around and ask you some questions, and perhaps even give you some tests to take.
The Teacher of Many Classes
God offers tremendous classes in His school of the Spirit. Our personal tutor specializes in teaching subjects not found in worldly institutions—because He has something more in mind than merely imparting knowledge to us. He tutors to transform lives! He offers classes like Holiness 101, which, of course is followed by Fire of Holiness 102. After we get a fresh grip on holiness, (or it gets a grip on us!), we jump up into Victorious Living 201 and Miracles 202. Maybe, eventually, we will graduate into upper-level classes, such as Humility 301 and Death to Self 302.
Another dimension of the Holy Spirit's instruction in His school is that we will be impacted by His revelatory teaching grace. With Him at our elbow, we learn to dissect the Word of God instead of frogs. Instead of learning how to diagram sentences or describe verbs and their tenses, He introduces us to the Author of the Word of God, launching us on an eternity-spanning exploration.
One of His tutorial specialties is one of my favorites: a class on foreign languages (the gift of speaking in tongues). Admittance is open to anyone who has taken the prerequisite class, Salvation 101. After that we have another related course, called Interpretation of Tongues 102, where our Guide not only enables us to pray in a language we don't have to study in the traditional way, but also gives us ongoing help to translate what we have prayed.
The Holy Spirit also teaches history classes which are entirely accurate, with no bias or favoritism to any one economic group, nationality or political view. Through these history classes, He teaches us how we fit into the big picture. The Holy Spirit builds our personal history with God. While meeting our needs for the present moment, He establishes something permanent in us for the future in His unshakable Kingdom.
Thus, we are prepared for the real world, the eternal world, where things that really matter include faith, hope, compassion and, above all, true love. We learn that holiness, righteousness and honesty are far more important than reading the stock market and that sacrificial giving is foundational if we want our life story to show that we have followed in Jesus' footsteps.
So it goes. Furthermore, all of these lessons hone our study skills. We get better and better at hearing the voice of God today. As we hold his hand in a posture of trust and dependency, we can successfully walk the path less chosen, the one on which we are led by His Holy Spirit in every detail of our lives—yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Prayer to Receive Instruction from the Holy Spirit
Isaiah the prophet declared, "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left" (Isa, 30:21). Let's begin to tune in to hear His voice today:
Father, I present myself to You in Jesus Christ's name. I declare that the Holy Spirit is alive and active in my life today. Draw me closer to Your heart so I can hear what the Spirit is saying. I ask that the Holy Spirit be my personal tutor, guide and teacher. I want to take more classes in Your school of the Spirit. Lead me. Guide me. Teach me how to listen more effectively, in Jesus Christ's name. Amen and amen.
Dr. James W. Goll is the founder of God Encounters Ministries, an award-winning author and communications trainer and has ministered in over 50 nations. For information on his webinars and online classes, visit godencounters.com. James continues to live in Tennessee and is a joyful father and grandfather today.
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