Anne Graham Lotz: God’s Antidote to Loneliness

Anne Graham Lotz: God’s Antidote to Loneliness

The pandemic that struck our world put us in lockdown and confined us to our homes. Our excursions were limited, and when we did venture out, we wore masks and kept a 6-foot social distance from others. But what we’ve discovered is that while we’ve been protecting ourselves and others from a deadly virus, many of us have wrestled with loneliness. A deep sense of isolation. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines loneliness as being without companionship; a feeling of desolation, depressed at being alone.

Are you feeling lonely? God has an antidote. On the night Jesus was betrayed, after eating the last supper with His disciples, He began to prepare them for His departure. As the fact that He was leaving penetrated their hearts and minds, they started to grieve … and I believe a deep loneliness and fearfulness began to grip their hearts and minds. It was then that Jesus taught them about the Holy Spirit, whom the Father would send in His Name. The Holy Spirit is God’s antidote to loneliness. He gives …

Read John 16:5-16

I. COMFORT

  • From John 16:5-7, why did the disciples need comfort? Describe their feelings in your own words.

A. COMFORT OF HIS PERSON

  • What pronouns—and how many—does this passage 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), 13; and 14:26.
  • Give the dictionary definition for each name, then write out 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 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; James 1:5.
  • Which of His names is most meaningful to you, and why?

B. COMFORT OF HIS PRESENCE

  • What promise did Jesus give His disciples in John 16:7? 14:16-17? From the following verses, how would this be different from the Old Testament experience of the Holy Spirit: Numbers 11:25; Judges 14:6; and 1 Samuel 16:13 with Psalm 51:11?
  • Did Jesus keep His promise? Describe the scene in Acts 2:1-21.
  • Although Pentecost was a historical event like the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, never to be repeated, when does the Holy Spirit come into a person’s life? See Acts 2:38; Ephesians 1:13-14. Once you have received the Holy Spirit, is His presence temporary or permanent, according to these verses?

II. CHANGE

A. HE CHANGES YOU AND ME

  • What difference did the Holy Spirit make at creation? Compare Genesis 1:2 with 1:3-31. Do you think His power is less today?
  • 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 4:30 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 tell you 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?

B. HE CHANGES OTHERS

  • 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?
  • Of what three things does Jesus say the Holy Spirit convicts the world? Put each of them into your own words. Apply this to the unsaved people on your prayer list.
  • If the Holy Spirit’s responsibility is to convict the world of guilt and convince the world of truth, what would be the most effective way to bring about change in another person’s life?
  • Describe the change in Peter’s life before he received the Spirit, from John 18:15-18, 25-27 and after he received the Spirit in Acts 4:8-13.
  • If the Holy Spirit can transform Peter, why do you think He cannot change your loved one? Or you?

III. CLARITY

 A. 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?

B. CLARITY TO THE LIVING WORD

  • Who is the subject of the Bible, according to Luke 24:27?
  • 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, why isn’t our agenda the same?

Instead of giving into feelings of loneliness, let’s use our isolation as a God-given opportunity to strengthen our faith, purify our hearts, increase our knowledge of God’s Word, refresh our prayer life, motivate us to share the Gospel, and revive our hope that the best is yet to come!  ©Anne Graham Lotz

 

This article is adapted from a study originally published in October 2004.

Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, “Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion,” is available from major booksellers online.

 

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