by on May.17, 2010, under Articles
WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND? AN INCREDIBLE GIFT
By Jean Jantzen
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
Christina Georgina Rossetti
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.
When I feel the wind on my cheek on a hot day and appreciate how refreshing it is, I think about the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who are called and receive this gift experience a miracle. It made me think back on the Church in the Wilderness and the problems they were not able to overcome because of a lack of this extraordinary gift.
The Israelites were rescued from the drudgery and horror of slavery, they witnessed the ten plagues on Egypt, the leading of millions by the cloud during the day and the pillar of fire by night, the escape from the Egyptian army at the parting of the Red Sea, the miracle of water from a rock, the miracle of manna. They should have been without excuse. We could go on and on, yet these people did not get it; they did not have God’s remarkable gift to mankind. They were exposed to God and His law, to God’s message and to God’s miracles. They saw, they heard, they experienced, yet they did not get the message.
“But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus … I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known” (Zechariah 7:11-14).
What did they lack? God’s Holy Spirit. That is the key! Evidently that is all the Israelites lacked. God wanted the world to know that without Him they cannot be holy, they cannot be His children.
We can sit in church every day and read our bible daily, nevertheless, it takes the Spirit to open our eyes; it takes that remarkable gift to discern between truth and untruth. It gives us understanding. It guides us in every way through the potholes of this human life. It let’s us know when we’re about to do the wrong thing. It’s a small part of God living within us, but it is the divine that makes all the difference. The apostle Paul declares that the Holy Spirit and the human spirit bear dual witness to the fact that we are children of God. (Romans 8: 16)
So even though the Israelites saw the miracles, were delivered from bondage—it says the word preached to them did not profit them. (Hebrew 4:2) God knows what He is doing. He calls those He knows can make it. God doesn’t make mistakes in those He calls. The question is: “Would we give up so easily if we had God’s Spirit?” Repentance, baptism is serious…we need to take the gift of the Spirit seriously, to treasure and not neglect it, to ask God for more of it, to stir it up, to listen to its guidance, to yield ourselves to the divine part of ourselves.
The Church in the Wilderness heard God’s voice thundering the Ten Commandments… and still they did not get it and God knew they wouldn’t. They had human nature and were missing that crucial ingredient that was holy and could make them holy. Now is a different story…we have access to God’s throne through his Spirit. We should never take Christ’s sacrifice, nor his gift of the Holy Spirit lightly.
I don’t know if we stop on occasion to realize and get on our knees and thank God for the gift of the miraculous transforming power of the Holy Spirit or if sometimes we take it for granted. The most important thing for us to learn is to treasure what an awesome gift we do have, that the Creator God of this great universe died in order that we may have it, and that inside each of us is a part of the Divine. God’s Spirit is the power that liberates us from being “slaves of sin” (Romans 6:16-18). Indeed, God’s Spirit profoundly changes people! Paul wrote that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Anyone should be really serious about taking that first step of baptism and to count the cost before they commit themselves to this way because God tests us continuously to see if we will obey His voice. Never take lightly the incredible gift we have been given. (Read Romans 8 God’s Spirit in us.)
“If you love me, you will do as I command. Then I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you. The Spirit will show you what is true. The people of this world cannot accept the Spirit, because they don’t see or know him. But you know the Spirit, who is with you and will keep on living in you” (John 14:15-17).
“I tell you for certain that before you can get into God’s kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don’t be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God’s Spirit gives new life” (John 3: 5-8).