Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:7,8
The new birth is the great theme of the New Testament, the very reason why Jesus died on the cross, and rose again. While many benefits became available to us through His death, the main purpose of this amazing act of love was to recreate hell-bound sinners into children of God. In Him we live and move and have our being, for we are His offspring! (Acts 17:28)
The glory of the new creation is not in the label that we carry, in the fact that our sins are forgiven, or that we have inherited eternal life, but to actually live a different life altogether. What this means often depends on who you talk to, except that we have learned that truth is only found at the source, which, in this case, is the Word of God. The devil knows this and he works hard to keep Christians in the dark about the true identity this new being, which is the very workmanship of God.
Satan also knows that his defeat will be enforced by those who have fully stepped into newness of life, so he uses religion, the appearance of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5) to misinform believers. It is discouraging to see how open Christians are to receive teaching from all kinds of media except the Bible itself. Add to that some Christian traditions, tenets of faith of religious institutions, doctrinal statements, etc. and it is clear how the church has become fenced in to live mediocre lives, far below the standard that the Lord had in mind for us.
Jesus said everyone that is born of the Spirit is like the wind that blows where it wishes. The Holy Spirit came like a rushing might wind on the day of Pentecost and filled the house where the 120 were waiting on Him. Suddenly all limitations fell from those that were baptized in His presence, and they emerged with His power operating in and through them. Peter stood up to explain what had happened, clearly a different man from who he was before.
It did not take long for the walls of religious tradition to come down around him. Limited by tradition and the law to fellowship only with his own, Peter had no intention to take the gospel to anybody else. But the wind of the Holy Spirit began to blow and sent him to the house of Cornelius, a Roman soldier. Still hesitant and awkward, he began to tell them about Jesus and while he was still speaking, that same wind blew into that house, and all those present were filled with the Holy Spirit.
As the church at Jerusalem was thriving, persecution arose and scattered believers everywhere. Philip, one of the seven deacons, went to Samaria and preached the gospel there. The Jews and Samaritans had little appreciation for each other, but the wind of the Holy Spirit blew all those hostilities away and opened the door for the gospel there. Philip ministered with great power, just as Jesus promised, and many Samaritans were saved.
When news about the breakthrough in Samaria reached the apostles, Peter and John went there to pray that the Samaritans may also receive the Holy Spirit, but the wind of the Holy Spirit kept blowing in Philip’s life and sent him to an Ethiopian travelling on a chariot en route to Gaza. Philip joined the man and explained the gospel to him, and as the they passed a body of water, he asked to be baptized. As soon as they came up from the water, Philip was caught away and was found in Azdod where he preached the gospel in all the cities until he came to Caesarea. Here is a man who was like the wind!
Saul was a vicious enemy of the church, well known by believers everywhere, but as he travelled to Damascus to look for Christians to prosecute, he had an encounter with the Lord. While he was praying at Damascus, the Lord gave Ananias, a disciple, detailed instructions about his whereabouts, and sent him to pray with him. Ananias was scared of Paul, but the wind of the Holy Spirit was blowing through him. Fear could not stop him from obeying the Lord’s command, so he went where he would never have gone on his own, and so the most powerful of all the apostles came into the fold.
May the wind of the Holy Spirit blow again in our personal lives and the church to charge the atmosphere with His presence. The human intellect will always install barriers against the supernatural, for it makes no sense to it. When the Holy Spirit is limited, stagnation sets in, love diminishes, legalism gains the upper hand, and the spiritual atmosphere turns cold. Rules and regulations replace the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to keep people in line.
The devil knows how to create Spirit-quenchers. He is a master deceiver who knows how to make religion look like the real life in Christ.
Some warn against fanaticism and chaos in meetings where the Spirit is allowed freedom to move – and it a valid concern – but where God’s people are taught well, things will be kept decently and in good order. We cannot go wrong if we stay in the Word, bearing in mind that extremism is found at both ends of the spectrum.
Pray without ceasing,
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophecies.
Test all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21
The world is on a path of self-destruction, and the Word warns us that there will be a great falling away in the last days, as can already be seen everywhere. Entire churches are slipping away from the truth, opening the way for more worldliness, celebrity pastors and an easy life. Taking up our cross made room for self-promotion, and having your best life now. With the intellect of pastors as their only strength, and their ambition to look successful in the eyes of the world, the church has come to the point of spiritual bankruptcy.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit who never changes; He still does His work as He did in the book of Acts. There is hope, and a promise for all those who are thirsty for His personal involvement in their lives.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39
Are you born again? Are you thirsty? Do you desire spiritual gifts? God’s promises will be fulfilled to you!
The promise of the Holy Spirit flowing like rivers of living water out of your innermost being is for those who are thirsty. Paul says we must desire spiritual gifts.
May we experience a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit in the days to come, and may He blow through all the carnal barriers, fences and walls to bring times of refreshing to God’s people everywhere!