“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
I love these words from the lips of Jesus as he speaks with an enquirer, Nicodemus, about spiritual life. I suppose I have made the assumption that anyone reading this blog will already be a signed up Christian. I am not sure why I have assumed that, as there was a time I was not a Christian myself. How did I become one? Well, I could tell you that story and may well do so sometime in a future blog, but all I know is that God did it.Yes, there were choices and decisions to be made, and people involved, but ultimately God did it. I cannot think of a better picture of spiritual birth than the one Jesus uses here. It tallies with my experience. In a way that I cannot fully understand the Wind of the Spirit of God blew upon me. I couldn’t tell particularly when that blowing had begun or all that it would lead me into from that point on, but I knew the effects upon me.
Let me be very simple: If you are a person who has not yet found bread for your soul but are aware of the hunger ,let me ask you this question: “Who put that hunger there?” I would encourage you to believe that hunger is the movement of God’s Spirit upon you. I simply pray that the Wind would continue to blow with the strength that God knows is right for you; that enthusiastic Christians won’t rush you or put you off in your search or make you abandon your hunger for your own experience of God. I pray that your experience will be so much one that God nurtures and brings about that you will never understand it fully, but ultimately will say, “God did it!” My own personal belief is that well meaning human beings can get in the way of God. It is not that human beings, their witness and sharing the good news are not something that God uses, but the apostle Paul said that he wanted people’s faith to rest in the power of God, in something that God himself had done, rather than in the persuasive words of a human being whether that was Paul himself or some other sharer of the Good News of Christ.
So, I encourage you to pray quite simply for the Spirit of God to blow upon you. But, I also want to encourage those of you who are believers who have found the Bread that is Christ, to pray the same thing for your family, your friends, for al those whom God puts upon your heart.Pray it for your church, for the church at large. Pray it for your own self. Our prayers, sharing, loving, caring, all of these things are good, but I love what Dr. R.T. Kendall said once at CLAN Gathering, a conference in Scotland: He said that he regarded his ministry as an experiment to see if the Holy Spirit could get past him! Let’s learn to do our bit but not do the work of God that only the Spirit of God can do.
So I pray that some reading this might know the blowing of the Wind of the Spirit, perhaps recognising and naming His felt presence for the first time. But I pray too for those of you who have been feasting on the Living Bread for many years now. Will you too think of the imagery of the Spirit blowing like the wind? Has your experience of God become too tame? Is it a long time since He surprised you? Are you too much in control of your spiritual life, or indeed your life in general? Self control of course is a fruit of the Spirit but have you also put some sort of limit on the Holy Spirit so that, yes, you can think with thankfulness of the fruit of His presence,on your life, and be thankful for the power to witness and serve that He has given you. But what about being picked up by the Wind and blown away from all that is familiar, being set down in a different place? What about adventure in God? Have you relegated the Holy Spirit to safe devotional practices, or are you alert to the blowing of the wind, whether as a breeze or hurricane, blowing upon you unexpectedly? Can I encourage you too to pray that the Wind of the Spirit will blow afresh upon you? Are you ready for that? He may well blow gently but He may well blow violently in a way that will alter the direction of your life. There is a risk when we say, “Holy Spirit, blow upon me afresh, fill me anew.” But remember that Jesus told us the Holy Spirit is the good gift of a good Heavenly Father to his children, a Father who longs for your life and mine to be filled with good things, not with destructive things.
I simply want to say the breeze is real and so is the hurricane. There can be experiences of the Spirit that are simply like the warm breath of Aslan around us, when the air becomes, as it were, filled with the beautiful fragrance of his mane. But at times, as on the day of Pentecost recorded for us in Acts Chapter 2, a violent wind can blow and another lie bites the dust that God is a gentleman who would never do anything we would not want Him to do. According to my bible, when the Spirit of God blows, buildings are shaken, people are changed without permission being asked. God is God. He can blow with tender reassurance to whisper deep within, “Shh! Be still dear one, all is well.” He can pick you up, turn you around so that you wonder how on earth did I get here. He can even do that physically, pick you up and set you in a different place. He did that for someone in the bible called Philip. He did it for me…. but that is another story for another time….