Do you remember playing hide and seek as a kid? Can you remember the comfort and relief you felt when you made it safely back to “base” without being caught? Video game designers try to recreate that feeling by placing “safe spaces” throughout a game’s world. It’s your base in Minecraft, villages in the Zelda games, and the many safe places in the Lego games where you can catch your breath because you’re fortified and protected from dangers outside.
In a world filled with bullies, abuse scandals, and snarky online trolls, I have to believe that game designers aren’t only using “safe spaces” to appeal to players’ childhood memories. They’re making the in-game emotional experience into a shelter from out-of-game troubles. Perhaps they know, at least intuitively, that feeling safe amid danger is one of the deep longings of the human heart.
Thankfully, we have a surer and better safety as Christians. When we put our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit marks us safe with Jesus.
We have a surer and better safety as Christians. When we put our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit marks us safe with Jesus.
Seal of Assurance
Question 76 of A Catechism for Boys and Girls asks, “How do you know that you are God’s child?” The answer begins, “The Holy Spirit assures me.” Paul explained it this way to the Ephesians: “When you believed, you were marked in [Christ] with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13, NIV).
The Spirit marks out believers as a part of God’s family. He guarantees all the good God has promised us will come true (Eph. 1:14). Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27–28). The Spirit acts as the means by which our Savior keeps us. The Holy Spirit protects us so we’ll never be lost. He keeps us safe and secure with Christ forever.
Champion of Truth
What the Spirit provides is better than beating the other kids back to base. He’s better than any safe place in a video game. In games, when you leave the place of safety, you’re at the mercy of your opponent who will surely come after you. But the Holy Spirit goes with us when we face danger. He’s with us whether we meet Satan’s temptations or our own sinful desires.
Whenever we’re tempted to believe Satan’s lies, the Spirit brings God’s truth to our minds. He reminds us of what we already know from the Scriptures (John 14:26). Sometimes the truth doesn’t feel safe. When we sin, the Spirit shows us our guilt and failure (John 16:8). But this doesn’t mean God is rejecting us. I love how Indian hymnist Ellen L. Goreh puts it in “In the Secret of His Presence”:
Do you think He ne’er reproves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see.
The Spirit would be a bad friend if he never told us about our wrongs. When the Spirit corrects us, it’s because God loves us and is at work to make us more like him. Through correction, as the catechism says, “[The Spirit] enables me to love God’s law and my fellow believers.”
God of All Comfort
Sometimes when I felt overwhelmed as a kid, I’d sit outside in my backyard on top of the air conditioning unit. That was a place I could go to calm down, whatever my anxieties were. Sometimes our family dog would even hop up there and curl up next to me.
Whenever we’re tempted to believe Satan’s lies, the Spirit brings God’s truth to our minds.
The Holy Spirit is that secret place of comfort and safety for the Christian. When we feel anxious and doubt God’s love, the Spirit comforts us. He reminds us that we belong to God as his sons and daughters. As Paul writes in Romans, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:16, NIV). We can even trust that the Holy Spirit will be with us when we face death.
How do you know you’re God’s child? What evidence of his love do you see in your life? In so many ways, the Holy Spirit keeps us. He’s our comfort and assurance. He ministers Christ’s presence and truth. Dear Christian, aren’t you glad you have the Holy Spirit? Find your safety with him.