The Spirit of Truth

It took me a very long time to read the Bible. 
 
Sure, I read stories in Sunday School as a kid, but the few times I set out to read the whole thing, cover to cover, my eyes always seemed to glaze over somewhere between Moses receiving the Ten Commandments and the instructions for priests examining a boil.

I didn’t read through the entire Bible until I was in my mid-30s, and it was the Holy Spirit’s work that made it possible. 
 
Back then, John and I had been going to Redeemer in the city for years, but we’d never really gotten plugged in. In our early years together, we bounced around to different services. Later, once we’d settled on going to Redeemer Downtown because of their great children’s program, we still just went to service and left straight after without really talking to anyone.
 
That changed one Sunday when we stayed late for a parents’ lunch. Waiting for Johnny to come back with the kids, I sat down alone at a table for 10, and a Korean dad sat down across from me. He introduced himself as Kyun and asked if I had joined a Growth Group yet. I told him that while they sound good, we just hadn’t found one that fit, since we have small kids, work a lot and live in Brooklyn. “For it to really work,” I said, as if I were about to spell out the impossible, “we’d need to find a group that meets right after church, welcomes toddlers and gathers right in this neighborhood.” He laughed and told me that his family runs a group two blocks over, right after church, and several little kids already attend. 
 
Well, OK, then.
 
We joined Kyun’s group, and that small step changed every part of our lives. We became friends with the whole group, which was lovely, but more importantly, we learned to live in a community of believers. We prayed, ate, served and played together. We celebrated birthdays, sang hymns, wrestled with the sermons. Yes, I even started reading the Bible. It took me nearly two years to finish a one-year reading plan that the group had recommended, but when I finished, I started over, and I’ve been reading the Bible annually since then.
 
I believe the Holy Spirit opened that door for Kyun and I to talk that day, and He helped guide John and I into walking closer with the Lord, showing us how our lives could be so much more full and beautiful when we do.
When Jesus was describing the Helper that the Father would send to us, he said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13 ESV.
 
I have seen the Spirit working in my life in other ways, too, though I know he works in many that I can’t detect. One of the most common encouragements I receive from the Spirit is an echo of the Word. It happens regularly, where someone who is not reading along with my annual Bible plan will reference a verse from a chapter I read that exact day. 
 
It happened just a few Sundays ago, when Pastor Peter was preaching on 1 Corinthians 9 but he threw in references to Leviticus 8 and 9, where the Old Testament law describes how some of the offering meat should be set aside to feed the priests and how the fire of the Lord would consume the offerings. Yep, my reading put me right there in Leviticus that day.
 
And it’s not just Pastors Peter or Steve. When I visited California last month, the Sunday School at our friends’ church just happened to spend time on Moses and the passover, specifically calling out the language in Exodus 12:38 where they describe “a mixed multitude also went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds.” That phrasing had caught my attention during my morning read, and my ears pricked up when the Sunday School teacher called them out just a few hours later.
 
Being in the Word allows the Holy Spirit to work this way, and I just love it. 
 
It’s my lived experience of this beautiful verse: “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:25-26 ESV.

Elisabeth Cordova and her husband, John, joined GRC in 2017 and help oversee the meals ministry. She’ll be in Joshua all week.