The Bare Soul
October 9, 2011
Children of the Wind
John 3:8 - The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
As a runner, I am possibly more in tune with my surroundings than a lot of people. Since I've never ran with "contraptions" in my ears, blaring out music or some other distraction, I like to believe I appreciate the sights and sounds around me. Whether its children laughing, people chatting, or just the sound of a bicycle passing me on a running path, I enjoy experiencing life in close proximity. Often, I can hear the wind as it blows steadily through large elms and cottonwoods, going where it wills. Runners or bicyclists can usually find their pace quicken when the wind is at our respective backs. It pushes us along, as we may not even consider it blowing us on our way. We're often thinking about other things. However, the wind may change directions on us rather suddenly, or we might be the ones to initiate the adjustment of course. If we are moving sideways to its direction, its usually not too bad. If, however, we find ourselves running directly against the wind, then a struggle often ensues. No longer are we thinking about this or that, but our minds are concentrated on the resistance we've suddenly encountered. Our energy is now directed to what assails us. Moments before we experienced a thoughtlessness of the wind, because it was seemingly helping us on our way. Now, it seems to defy us as we fight our way against its strength.
Many of us have probably heard the line in the old Irish blessing that states, "May the wind always be at your back." Of course, the implication of this figure of speech is to wish for someone to possess few struggles -- that the wind would push them through life, allowing them to accomplish all their goals. While some would say that's an impossible accomplishment, I am of the belief that it could be more of a reality if we listened a bit closer to God's leadings in our lives, obeying what He commands. In the book of John the third chapter, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit in the eighth verse, comparing Him to the wind. Clearly, Jesus is speaking of the Spirit in this context, as John uses the Greek word pneuma when referring to the wind in the opening phrase. A synonymous usage of the word is also used at the end of the verse when Jesus states: "so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." Of equal importance is what Jesus states in the middle of this verse. He declares the mystery of the Spirit, by stating He is like the wind and no one knows His next move. Then, Jesus claims something extraordinary. He says those who are born of the Spirit are likened to this same behavior as their spiritual Father! Which leads to a thought provoking question for those of us who claim to be born of God's Spirit: Is our behavior like the Wind of God that created us? Do we move with freedom in the Spirit, allowing Him at our backs, propelling us on our way in the things of God? Or, do we resist the Holy Spirit and continue on in ways we know deep down are contrary to His leadings? In the past, many of us can attest to God leading us by His Spirit as He pushed us onward toward our goal of pleasing the Son and the Father. However, possibly we no longer feel that strength behind our backs, pushing us closer to Yahweh. Instead, we feel a resistance, like we are running against the Wind of God. This direction earlier in our Christian walk was very possibly the right way to go. However, some of us have undoubtedly ignored the direction of God's Wind and have insisted on going an old, familiar way. As children of the Wind, we will not know His peace in our lives until we can once again know He is literally behind us.
The Apostle Paul warned the early church there would be other "winds" that would seek to trick us into following their course. Winds often deceive seasoned sailors who understand a bit less than they sometimes profess. A good example is when those transporting Paul and his companions to Rome supposed they had attained their purpose of a "moderate south wind" suddenly found themselves in a hurricane of epic proportions. For over two weeks, they were buffeted about in the Mediterranean Sea until finally shipwrecked on the island of Malta (see Acts 27:9-44). Paul possessed the wisdom from the Wind Himself to know their journey would end just as it did. However, those who were supposedly "seasoned sailors" did not heed the wisdom of Paul or of the Spirit who led him. Very possibly, when Paul wrote to the Ephesians later from Rome while he awaited trial, he was reflecting on those tempestuous two weeks. He tells them to beware of false teaching that comes in the form of other winds that would seek to deceive. He states in Ephesians 4:14: As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. Paul admonished the Ephesians to no longer be as children. It was time to grow up and to attune themselves with the doctrine of God, and to be led by the Holy Spirit. The winds of the doctrines of men and devils may push us along for a season, and we may believe we've "attained our purpose." However, they will always turn on us and ultimately cause our faith to shipwreck (I Timothy 1:19).
God is calling us all to grow up in the faith, and yet we will always be His children. As children of our Father, we will always know we are His if we are led by His Wind. Do you sense God at your back today, pushing you toward your goal of the upward call in Christ Jesus? Or, do You feel like you're running against the wind. Possibly worse, do you sense another wind at your back, yet there is not the joy and peace as you once possessed? Is it a dry wind that is sucking the life out of your Christian walk? If there is not a clear sense of the Wind of God in our lives, it is time to stop until we can once again discern which way He is blowing. Then, may we all start down that new direction He provides. In a short time, the joy will once again return, confirming we are children of the Wind, always strengthened by His power that empowers us.
Holy Father, blow upon us through the Wind of Your Spirit. Lead us, guide us as children of the Wind. May we always discern Your leading and joyously comply to wherever Your Spirit takes us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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