By: Christine Wyrtzen
"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."- John 3:8
Nicodemus was religious leader, trained in the scriptures. So when Jesus used the
analogy of the wind, Nicodemus probably recalled the prophetic illustration from Ezekiel 37 which told of a valley of dry bones. With the preaching of the Word and the breath of the Spirit, the dry bones which lay across the landscape in front of him, came to life. New birth is brought about by the Word, and by the Spirit.
The Spirit of God cannot be tamed. The ways He works, and the places in which He chooses to work, are unpredictable. It is no wonder that so many churches fail to ask the Spirit of God to have free reign in their worship services. What if He really did come and take charge? The idea of that happening is frightening for most. Instead, we write the order of service in stone, relegate its parts into minutes, and worship the form rather than the One who wants to breathe new life into our midst.
Having traveled for 35 years now, both to sing and to teach the scriptures, I will tell you what I've learned firsthand about the freedom of the Spirit. I am often given a time slot in which to speak and sing. While parameters are good and necessary, rigidity about them is dangerous. I can not even count the number of times that I've been told, "You have exactly 30 minutes and then you have to be finished." Oftentimes, a big clock is place on the floor, in front of the first row, so that the speaker can see it. Worst case scenario, a 'time keeper' sits by the clock and gives you a 10 minute warning, then 5 minute, and so on.
By the time I am to begin wrapping up, it is often evident that the Spirit is moving.
There are many tears, there is a hushed silence, and I can tell that if I were free to give an altar call, even a call for women to spend some silent moments in their seats in prayer, that pivotal spiritual decisions would be made. Instead, I know that I must do the best I can in the time that remains to wrap up the talk and squeeze in the invitation.
What is the contrast? Daughters of Promise sponsors many events. For instance, every other year we sponsor a prayer retreat in the mountains for women's leaders. It is held over a 3-day period and while we provide a schedule, we make it clear that it is only a vague guideline. Once together, the Spirit of God is in charge. If one session turns out to be 30 minutes longer because the Spirit is at work, so be it. Have we ever run out of time and not finished the material? No. God works it out, miraculously.
"Quench not the Spirit," Paul urges. When this verse is highlighted and taught, it is usually within the context of our sin. But what about the times the Spirit of God stirs the hearts of people, is poised to do something dramatic, and our rigidity and preconceived ideas of how a certain meeting is supposed to go walks all over His freedom? Oh, may it never be. If ever we needed a fresh wind of the Spirit to blow, it is now.
Come, Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen.
For more from Christine Wyrtzen and Jaime Wyrtzen Lauze, please visit www.daughtersofpromise.org