. . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he may be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Christ Jesus. . . is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . [Nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:26-38)
These verses are a veritable buffet of sumptuous spiritual food. What God has been highlighting to me today is this: He has me covered, inside and out. His Holy Spirit intercedes for me from His home in my heart, and Jesus does the same thing from His position at God’s right hand.
When I feel weakest, least able to string together more than a “Help me (her/him/them),” the Spirit within me does the pleading for me. More than that, He shapes His intercession in accordance with the will of God. When a lawyer’s pleas on behalf of a client are in complete agreement with the law, the judgment will always be favorable. So it is with the Spirit. He understands my need and can articulate it far beyond my ability. He also understands God’s will, and makes it part and parcel of His pleas.
When the Holy Spirit is the transmission line for my prayers, they’re always received because Jesus is ready and waiting to hear them. He then turns to His Father, right beside Him, and makes the same pleas based on the same will. So my prayers involve all three Persons of the Trinity. I pray to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. How can we tell what is His will? It’s as plain as day in this passage: God’s will for me and for you is to conform us to Christ; to re-shape us to look a lot less like the world and a lot more like Jesus.
The process can move in fits and starts, and often involves a long period of softening our rigid ideas, brittle emotions and strongly entrenched motivations. The softening comes through various means; quite often they seem to be setbacks. Like clay that is hard, cracked and dry from not being worked, we require kneading to become pliable enough to be transformed into something new. The kneading bends us out of shape. In God’s hands, that’s a good thing! He uses disappointments, losses and hardships to press in on us, to help us come to the place where we know we need Him as He kneads us.
As God works to soften and shape us, Satan ramps up his efforts to prod and prickle us to become hardened and deformed. He tries to goad us into resenting the kneading; to see it as proof that God is either hateful, unreliable, or eager to punish us for being such failures. He wants to negate God’s love and grace; to make us forget that far from abandoning us, God has provided His help from the inside out.
But the truth is this: because I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord, and want to live according to His perfect will, God and I are inseparable. Though I am infinitely the weaker partner, His uncompromising love for me is more than able to overcome everything for my sake. He makes me strong enough to love Him because He loved me first. His tender yearning for my best causes me to yearn in turn to become my best for Him. The more I allow Him to shape me, the more I become like Christ. The more I become like Christ, the closer my relationship with the Godhead. It’s a win-win-win.
Father, thank You for Your own Holy Spirit to advocate for me on the inside, while Jesus intercedes for me beside Your throne room. I glory in the knowledge that we are now inseparable.