What We Need Around Here . . .
The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8)
I won’t pretend to understand how the Holy Spirit operates. He’s Someone so outside my ability to fully grasp and is therefore worthy of great honor and my deepest respect. John 21:25 says, if everything Jesus did was written down, the whole world couldn’t contain the books. The same goes for the inexhaustible, extraordinary, and oftentimes undetected activities of the Holy Spirit.
But that doesn’t stop me from asking for increased measures of revelation and experience in walking with Him. Nor does it stop me from tracking along with what I hear and see Him doing now and what I read about Him in the Word. Especially when it comes to how He goes after the unsaved. What we need around here is more inescapable, internal workings of the Holy Spirit upon lost hearts.
I’ll never forget the Sunday twenty-years ago when my younger sister called me out of the blue and asked if she could go to church with me. This was my sister, my best friend, my old drinking buddy! Since accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior, my persistent and perhaps excessive efforts to convince her to do the same had failed. In fact, the more I badgered her, the more she resisted.
But there she sat, right next to me in church. I could hardly contain my joy or stay focused; I was so busy praying and formulating a fool-proof plan to coax her to the altar when the service ended.
Thanks to the Holy Spirit, the seeds of the gospel sown into her finally hit pay dirt. I’d done my best to testify regarding the Truth, and now the Holy Spirit [Himself] was testifying along with me (John 15:26-27). Right in the middle of worship—particularly anointed worship might I add—I glanced over and saw her sobbing. Believe you me, I’d had her in my peripherals the whole time and there had been no prior indication of her budging. But there she sat, tears streaming down her cheeks. The Holy Spirit had blown right past me, had nailed my sister, and moved on. Oh, the mysterious, intimate work He does in hearts! And He didn’t even bother to confide in me while He was doing it. The wind blows (breathes) where it wills and I had no idea where He came from or where He had gone, but evidence of His presence was quite clear. My sister had heard the sound. Her heart was gripped, she surrendered, and was born again.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
It’s little wonder Nicodemus responded to Jesus’ statement with, ‘How can these things be?’. It went against the grain of everything he had learned and experienced. The intimate, intricate way the Holy Spirit interacts with us is wrapped in such mystery and wonder, it’s phenomenal. He befuddles the brain, cuts through our excuses, and reaches the depths of our being with a sound that is intensely intimate. He's amazing!
A similar situation of His inner witness happened at Pentecost. Much bigger scale, of course. The Holy Spirit descended upon the gathered disciples in Jerusalem in such a demonstrative and bazaar way that multitudes were drawn to the sound. King James says it was noised abroad. His presence caused quite a commotion. That right there fans my prayers for another great, and perhaps last, Holy Spirit outpouring that brings revival to the masses (Acts 2:16-21, Isaiah 60:1-3).
Depending on what Bible version you read, words like: marveled, astonished, bewildered, and puzzled described the crowd’s reactions. They were beside themselves with amazement. Some made a joke of it, claimed the disciples were just drunk and acting the fool. His presence was no more than an entertaining side show to them.
But for those who heard the sound—and He most assuredly knows how to speak our language (Acts 2:6)—their hearts were pricked by Peter’s gospel message. They cried out, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
The Holy Spirit is a skilled surgeon. His masterful work of cutting through all reasoning and resistance is remarkable. He convicts. He convinces. And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11). Someone described it this way . . . ‘The Holy Spirit silences all objections and prejudices of the world against the gospel’.
Of sin, because they believe not on me (vs9). He zeroes in on the sin of unbelief regarding Jesus (God in the flesh) as our one-and-only means to salvation. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more (vs10). Romans chapter 4 tells how Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. But not to him alone. [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (Romans 4: 22-23).
Of judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world is judged and condemned and sentence already is passed upon him (vs11 AMPL). The cross pronounced judgment on the prince of darkness. Principalities and powers were spoiled because sin’s power was broken. Death was thus defeated. “The resurrection proves that death is no longer our destination, but a gateway to perfect, endless life . . .” (The Gospel Coalition).
And mankind was given the choice to accept salvation through Jesus, or face the same tragic, eternal consequences as Satan and his followers.
So, what we need around here is some good old tried-and-true, heart-pricking, guaranteed-to-bring-results, Holy Spirit conviction. The wind (breath) of the Spirit blows where it wills . . . My prayers go out for those who are ripe for harvest (John 4:35). May they hear the Holy Spirit’s sound. May their hearts be pricked with conviction. May they surpass Nicodemus’s initial cry of ‘How can this be?’, and echo the born-again multitudes at Pentecost. ‘What must we do (to be saved)?’