Monday Morning Devotion-October 3, 2022
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. John 3:8
Three years ago, I wrote this devotion about the wind. With recent developments the wind has been on my mind again and dramatically so. Hurricane Ian roared through Florida and the results of the wind---Category 4, 155 mph---were certainly seen. Over two and a half million people lost their electricity. Rainfall amounts in some places exceeded 10 inches. And there were, at last count, over 20 deaths as a result.
The destructive effects of that invisible wind were certainly felt by many. While our hearts go out to many of those affected in our home state, we are very thankful that Ian’s devasting wind and rain did not reach our area. With all that in mind let’s revisit this devotion about the wind:
The strange thing about wind is you can hear it and feel it, but you can't see it. You can certainly, view the effects of the wind but you can't see the wind.
When Scarlett O'Hara was returning to Tara, her family plantation, after most of the area had been decimated by the Union troops, fearfully she would see if her beloved Tara "had gone with the wind that swept through Georgia." And "Gone with the Wind" was the title that Margaret Mitchell settled on for the book that she started writing in 1926 while recovering from an automobile accident.
She finished writing it and published it in 1936 and immediately sold 176,000 copies. When the book won the Pulitzer Prize sales jumped to over a million. Then book sales exploded to over two million when the movie, based on the book, won 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture. The book was translated into 16 languages.
Now, over 90 years later "Gone with the Wind" sells around 75,000 copies per year and has sold over 30-million in all. Its popularity has certainly not gone-with-the-wind at our house where Susette and our daughter Missi watch it together each year when she comes East during the holidays.
The wind can be pleasing especially when you get those summer breezes. Yet, the wind can be something to be feared as folks living in Florida's Panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico found out on October 10, 2018. When Hurricane Michael hit land near Mexico Beach, FL, it was packing top winds of an incredible 160 mph. Not much will be left standing in the face of those winds.
The area with its beautiful beaches was almost totally destroyed and was still in a recovery mode eight months later. Damages were estimated at $25.1 billion.
The wind can be our friend or our enemy. One thing about it is the wind does its own thing. There is no controlling it.
In the Gospel according to John, Jesus likens the Holy Spirit to the wind. Like the wind, the spirit is invisible. A person cannot see the Spirit move or work. Yet, one can see the effect of what the Spirit does. One can see how it acts on things---just as the wind going through a tree full of leaves. It is the same with the Spirit. The Spirit moves, and we then can see people react. People do things. Work gets done. What we see is not the Spirit itself, but the Spirit's fruit. (www.bibletools.org)
In Galatians Paul writes about the work of this invisible Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." (Galatians 5:22)
Sara Young in "Jesus Calling" relays what Jesus had in mind concerning the work of the Spirit: "I am creating something new in you; a bubbling spring of Joy that spills over into others' lives. Do not mistake this Joy for your own or try to take credit for it in any way. Instead, watch in delight as My Spirit flows through you to bless others. Let yourself become a reservoir of the Spirit's fruit."
Young writes: "Your part is to live close to Me, open to all that I am doing in you. Don't try to control the streaming of My Spirit through you. Just keep focusing on Me as we walk through this day together. Enjoy My Presence, which permeates you with Love, Joy and Peace." Sounds like a good plan to me.
Just as we can only go whatever way the wind is taking us, so it is with the Holy Spirit. Except the Spirit is with us to do good in our lives. The Spirit will help us do the will of the Lord if we commit ourselves to follow.
We received the Holy Spirit when we became a Christian. So, what does the Spirit do? Since the Spirit is invisible and works quietly, what is His role in our lives? "We need to continually ask the Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us, to help us do the things God wants us to do. When we're growing as Christians, we should allow the Spirit to take control over more and more areas of our lives. "
The Holy Spirit plays many roles. In John 14 Jesus says the Holy Spirit will comfort us when we are hurting. The Spirit will bring us peace.
Jesus also says the Holy Spirit will help us recall the things we've learned about God. (14:18)
In John 16 Jesus points out that the Holy Spirit is a "Counselor" who will guide us in our everyday lives. He will also convict us of sin. That's good because God wants us to get rid of the things that displease Him, and we learn about them when the Spirit convicts us (makes our conscience aware) of them.
Romans 8 tells us that the Holy Spirit will help us stop sinning and do the things that please God. Also, the Spirit helps us pray especially in the times that we just don't know what to pray for or how to pray at that moment in time. (Christianity Today International: What Does The Holy Spirit Do?)
Therefore, even though the Holy Spirit works quietly and invisibly the effects of His work are felt. Just like the wind: you can't see it, but you will experience the results.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives even though we can't see the Spirit, like the wind we are affected by His loving presence. Help us to always stay in touch with His transforming works. Amen!