Last week was PILAT week. PILAT is a language acquisition program in which we had the privilege to participate. It was a long week, but a good week. It helped us to better hear and produce different sounds. It also gave us many different tools to help us acquire another language. Then, we got to put what we learned into practice. I was in the group that learned Portuguese for two days. I was amazed at how quickly our brains were able to retain and reproduce the languages.
One big distinctive of the PILAT program is it’s emphasis on a language helper. A language helper is someone that you can find around your same age, status, and gender with whom you can learn the language. The time spent with the language helper is propelled by the learner. The idea is that a language helper is the expert on the language and therefore the language can be best learned by the language helper. Ideally, you find a language helper as close to the context of which you will be living and working to learn the language according to that community or people group as accurately as possible. Similarly, we talked about the importance of a cultural helper who assists you in know how the culture acts, thinks, and behaves.
During this time, I read in John 14:16 about how Jesus would ask the Father to send us a Helper who would be with us forever. Wow. All of the sudden I saw the similarities and distinctives with all we had been talking about a language helper. Like a language helper, The Helper, The Holy Spirit who God would send, is from the country that we are seeking – The Kingdom of God. Therefore, The Helper, just like a language helper is the way in which we can most accurately learn about The Kingdom of God because not only does He come from there, but He is God Himself. We can’t get any closer to the Kingdom than through the ways in which God has revealed Himself to us, through His Son, the Bible and His Holy Spirit – The Helper. The Helper assists us in acquiring the Kingdom of God here on earth. The Helper lets us know how to act, think, and behave in the culture of the Kingdom of God.
Yet, I see three big distinctives. First, it’s not us that begins the relationship, like it is with a language or cultural helper. Instead, it is the Holy Spirit’s work. Jesus said that He would ask His Father to send a Helper. It’ts not depended on us. Second, where a language helper relationship is dependent on the learner, us, to initiate and work hard; our relationship with The Helper is completely and wholly dependent on the Holy Spirit’s work of God’s Grace in our lives. Third, a language helper would last until we learned the language well enough to function within the language / culture. However, The Helper, the Holy Spirit, will be with us forever. He will never leave us.
I find this encouraging and convicting. I am encouraged because I have access to The Helper who can enable the Kingdom of God to be present in this world through His work and change in my life. Yet, I am convicted, because I realize how easy it is to pass up, forget about, and just simply ignore The Helper in my life.
How are you encouraged or challenged by these truths about your Helper – The Helper? It is my prayer that we might have heightened awareness of The Helper with whom God has gifted us. So that we may be a better advocate in ushering in God’s Kingdom and culture here on earth.
Seeking this with you,