May 1, 2023

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

-John 3:8

I was riding from Tennessee to Kentucky the other day, and when I started out, it was gorgeous and sunny.  Just a few minutes into the ride, I noticed that the wind was really picking up and I was fighting to stay upright and in my lane.  Talk about physically exhausting!  I ran into a little rain, but that wasn’t bad at all when compared with the brutality of the wind.  Now, since I was coming from TN to KY, I stopped at the Veterans Overlook, to rest.  If you’re not familiar with this landmark, it is a gorgeous location just outside of Tazewell and, unfortunately, it is right on the very top of a mountain.  

Did you know that wind does not let up the higher the elevation?  Oh no, it rages even more.  I stopped, took a moment to text my wife and let her know where I was and what was slowing me down.  Finally, I steeled my nerves and hopped back in the saddle and took off, this time heading down the mountain.  The wind pummeled me and I was absolutely wiped out by the time I arrived home.  As I have said many times over, a lot of my devotions come to me while I am out riding and just enjoying the world around me.  

I pray when I ride too, and I prayed a lot while I was enduring this terrible wind, and wouldn’t you know it, an idea started to take shape.  I’ll give you two guesses what the focus is, but you should only need one.  If you said “wind” then you are on the right track.

In the verse for this week, comes from a very famous interaction that Jesus had with Nicodemus, a notable Pharisee.  Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that one must be born again if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven.  This is recorded in John 3, verses 3 through 5.

“Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?”  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

-John 3:3-5

A few verses later, Jesus utters the words we see in verse 8:

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

-John 3:8

Jesus has made it abundantly clear in these words that this new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Being born again requires the work of the Spirit in your life.  So what is truly interesting, at least to me, is something I found while I studied this passage and looked through a couple of commentaries.  The Greek word for “wind” and the word for “Spirit” are the same word!  So, Jesus is painting a picture of the Spirit in His words, using the wind as an illustration.  The wind blows where it will, wind is a powerful thing as I witnessed on my ride home.  In the same vein, the Holy Spirit is one of the most powerful forces we will ever encounter, because the Holy Spirit is the only thing that lead us to a new birth and a life filled with the abundant grace and mercy of God.

Jesus points out that we can hear the wind.  We all know that wind is not a visible thing, but we can see its effects.  Guess what?  You can’t see the Holy Spirit but you can definitely see and feel its effects.  Your life is radically changed.

So all that is left to decide is how you respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.  Do you fight against the wind, trying to impose your own will and do things your way or do you submit yourself to the work of the Spirit in your life?

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