If you’re a theology geek like me, you might hear the word “advocate” and think “lawyer.” It usually goes something like this: Jesus is our advocate, who represents us before the Father in His perfect court of judgment. And that’s true; it’s a good way to think about God.
But there’s a difference between thinking about God as the advocate and feeling the Holy Spirit as my advocate. And all of that has been swirling around me for the last week or two.
The Battle for Joy
My wife and I have seen Pixar’s hit “Inside Out” several times since it came out. Recently, she pointed something out to me about how Joy is always fighting for the person whose head she inhabits:
Everything she does is for Riley. She’s always talking about how Riley needs to be happy, and she wants the best for Riley. And when a day falls apart at the end and a bad dream starts, she says “we are not going to end the day like this” and gives her exactly what she needs: a happy memory. She knows what Riley needs, and she gives it to her.
Joy is one-hundred-percent on Riley’s side—even when Riley isn’t on her own side. And even though she sometimes goes a bit overboard, her desire to make Riley happy is her overriding characteristic.
When my wife told me about this, she also mentioned that the thought made her a bit melancholy. “I wished I had someone in my head, fighting for my joy.”
“And then I realized…I do!”
Nowhere to Turn
A while back, our family faced a medical problem. A serious one, with serious consequences. After seeing multiple doctors at multiple offices, we were left with…multiple answers. No one agreed on how to proceed, or even what the problem was. And although I fancy myself a fairly intelligent guy, my pharmacy technician training was useless in figuring out what was wrong. We were lost, at the end of the proverbial line, waiting for medical professionals to come to some sort of agreement.
It was a confusing, worrying time. It was a time of stress and concern. And it was a time of fear: a fear that festered in the absence of the answers I couldn’t find.
“I’m going to get to the bottom of this for you.”
It was a revelation that nearly made us want to cry. The doctor was going to bat for us; she was going to figure out the truth.
She was going to be our advocate.
A couple of Sundays ago, the sermon at our church was about our Advocate, and I was reminded of how my fears are self-perpetuating; how they lie, how they don’t fulfill me.
I was also reminded about the One that Jesus sent to dwell with us as our Champion, who advocates for us (even against ourselves), who fights for us when we have nowhere else to turn, who reminds us of our true selves.
The One who, when we need it the most, declares that “we are not going to end the day like this,” and fights for our joy.
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