Imagine sailing in a boat on a serene blue sea… Pure bliss! Letting the wind beneath the sails steer the direction… In order to do this, the sails needs to be hoisted and the stuff in the boat that we are taking along with us needs to be light… not weighed down with loads and loads of baggage. Then it’s all smooth sailing.
Well, THAT depends on the wind too… For a little while it will be ok to “relax” to let the wind take its course. However after a short while we will get panicky:
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails” – William Arthur Ward.
Imagine drifting along for a while with no land in sight… Sitting still for long periods of time doesn’t come easy to us. We need our plans mapped out. Anxiety kicks in, “where are we heading?”. What if a storm kicks in? The first thing we would want to do is row row row your boat not gently but ever so forcefully to get out of there. Would we dare waiting it out?
This boat scenario is not much different to our relationship with God and many analogies can be drawn from it. But first let’s understand the “wind beneath our sails”:
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 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 3:6-8
Jesus makes it very clear in the verse above that we must be born again of the Spirit. It’s not an option. He likes the leading of the Holy Spirit to that like the wind. We don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.. Likewise we don’t know where God will lead us and it takes surrender… Abraham is one classic example and his faith was rewarded:
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going – Hebrews 11:8
(Interestingly I started to draft this post yesterday and today I saw the image that I have featured here in my FB newsfeed! Confirmation eh!).
In order to obey and respond to the wind that is beneath our sails, we need to be prepared.
“The wind of God is always blowing … but you must hoist your sail” – Francois Fenelon.
- What is the state of your sail and ropes?
We need to indeed set the sail and let God be God. Many of us claim to be led by the Holy Spirit. We even speak the ‘right jargon’. However, we fail to set the sail to let God’s direction take over. We have loads of baggage in the boat.
“If we are full of pride and conceit and ambition and self -seeking and pleasure and the world
there is no room for the Spirit of God,
and I believe many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else” – Dwight Moody
- What are you full of today and what are you praying to God for?
We need to be not pessimists, nor optimists, nor realists but men and women of faith… It’s best for us to adjust our sails trusting the Holy Spirit to be the wind beneath our sails to lead us in God’s perfect plan. The acts of our flesh prohibit us from being filled by God. In addition to the like of what Moody lists above, negative emotions such as anger, bitterness, hurt also form a big block of baggage.
But to let God be God, we need to be still… and respond to His gentle nudging as and when He leads.
We cannot sit still because we would rather be “doing” and feel important. It takes a lot of faith to be still and know He is God.. it takes a lot of faith to not know where we are going but yet – like Abraham – to do so knowing that we are in the best of hands. It takes a lot of faith to allow the Holy Spirit step in and let God be God.
“The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a guest in a house. He invades everything” – Oswald Chambers.
- Are you willing to not just invite the Holy Spirit with your lips but also to totally surrender to let Him invade EVERY thing?
- What is it that you are holding back from Him or what is it that you are holding onto that doesn’t give Him the permission to step in as there is no room for Him?
“It is extraordinary how things fall off from a man like autumn leaves
once he comes to the place where there is no rule but that of the personal domination of the Holy Spirit” – Oswald Chambers.
How often do we Christians enforce religion with its rules and regulations over powering or prohibiting what really counts – RELATIONSHIP for which the Holy Spirit domination is important as that convicts us of whatever is in the way of our intimacy with our Heavenly Father and leads us through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. We are not under law and religion but under grace and relationship.
“The life of obedience to Jesus Christ means living moment by moment in the Spirit of God, and it will be so different from your former life that you will often be considered strange. In fact the life in the Spirit is such a different life that some of your former associates will probably discuss the question of whether or not you are mentally disturbed” – A.W.Tozer
Not only “former associates” but even those who belong to the religious institution boxed in with legalism may have that question too! Our pride and/or longing for belonging often leads us to do it the way of the world, the way of the community, the way that perhaps the religion of Christianity does things…
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ – Galatians 1:10
Our sails are not identical.. Our purposes are not identical… If we need to be able to let the Holy Spirit be the wind beneath our sails to lead us in the direction of our Heavenly Father’s perfect plan for us, we need to throw away everything – including the desire of approval of others – to be able to surrender.