Scripture : John 3:8
” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Born of the Spirit – The Greatest Change
The Lord Jesus describes the new birth or being born of the Holy Spirit as the wind that blows where it wishes. We hear the sound of the wind, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. The new birth produces the greatest change or transformation of our lives; we become a new creation in Christ. Old things pass away and all things become new (2 Cor 5:17). However, this radical change is possible because the wind of the Spirit blows in our lives.
The Change Questions
Now, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have been born of the Spirit. We have become a new man or a new creation in Christ. After we are born again, what is next in God’s plan for us? He wants to change us more. From the very beginning, His whole plan is to change us into the image of Jesus Christ, His Son (Rom 8:29). Here, we need to ask a few questions. Who actually changes us, ourselves or God? Are we able to change ourselves? Can we change ourselves whenever we want to? How does the real change take place in our lives?
Real and Lasting Change
As with the new birth, the real change in our lives takes place when the Holy Spirit is actively involved. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot change ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Our will power is just not strong enough to produce real and lasting change in ourselves. Many times, we think we have changed ourselves only to find out later that the change is temporary and not real. Immediately, we go back to the previous state; to our old nature, our old habits and old ways.
Wind of Change
Real and lasting change is not something that we can produce anytime. We wish we could change ourselves whenever we want to. But in reality, we just cannot simply do that. There are certain conditions which is required before real and lasting change is possible in ourselves. These conditions are produced by the wind of the Holy Spirit.
1. Painful Wind of Change.
There are some things in our lives that we just do not want to change. Some habits or some ways that we like so much that we never even think of changing them. What we do not realize is some of these habits and ways are not good, and even detrimental for our well-being. God loves us and cares for us so much that He will not let us continue in the habits and ways that He knows will eventually destroy us. Therefore, He will cause the wind of the Spirit to blow forcefully to stop us. This will bring us to a painful realization of our stubbornness. As we finally come to terms with the fact that this painful situation is the result of our own habits and ways, we realize that we must change lest worse things happen to us. “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart.” (Prv 20:30) The result is the breaking of our own stubborn will. Simon Peter was the clearest example of how he was changed from being very impulsive to being meek after his denial of Jesus.
2. Gentle Wind of Change.
There are things in our lives that we want to change, but we do not know how to do it. We want to love God more, we want to know the will of God, we want to overcome our sinful habit, we want to control our anger, we want to have a better marriage or to become a better parent, etc. We know what we want to change in our lives, but our problem is we do not know how.
Real and lasting change only happens in the presence of God and by the word of God. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of God (2 Cor 3:18). All Scripture, the word of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). As we receive with meekness the implanted word that it renews our mind (Rom 12:2), and be doers of the word, our lives will be changed (Jms 1:22). This change is a gradual change into His likeness and it happens as we respond to the gentle wind of the Spirit that blows everyday prompting us to come into His presence and to get into His word and apply it in our daily lives. The result is the enlightening of our mind with spiritual understanding.
3. Supernatural Wind of Change.
There are things in our life that we want to change and we do have some understanding of how to do it, but we find ourselves helpless to make the change. In this kind of situation, what we need is a supernatural change and it can only be produced by the love of God. No amount of determination or knowledge can replace it. When the wind of the Spirit blows and His love rain is poured out in our heart (Rom 5:5) and we feel so loved, we become so surrendered that it is easy for God to change us. The love of God in Christ compels us that we do not live for ourselves anymore, but for Him who died for us (2 Cor 5:14-15). The result is the overflowing of our emotion with His love. We do not really change ourselves, but we are changed by God, supernaturally and instantly. Paul the apostle is the prime example of how the love of God completely changed him from being a persecutor of the church to the most prominent builder of the church.