EMBRACE THE POWER IN John 3:8

In John 3:8, Jesus touched on a powerful secret regarding who we are. When this revelation is understood and applied, there is no telling the transformation we will experience. Unfortunately, the main point of the passage is often overlooked. My purpose today is to shed light on John 3:8, pointing out its implication for your life. Hopefully, this will awaken in you the impetus to embrace your true nature, the God-nature. The passage reads,

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” (NKJV).  

It is important to note from the outset that Jesus is not talking about the Holy Spirit. In the passage, he is describing people who are born of the Spirit. Those people, he says, are as the wind. To be “born of the Spirit” means to awake in consciousness to the truth that you are the offspring, not of flesh, but of Spirit. This awakening is the beginning of true spirituality, a point Nicodemus struggled to understand.

Let me now show you what Jesus says about you in John 3:8.

The wind blows where it wishes”: You are as the wind. It is natural for you to blow with great power. It is natural for you to travel great distances effortlessly. You can manifest yourself wherever you want, because, like the wind, you are universally present. Your presence coincides with the presence of God. Time and space cannot limit your presence and activity.

Take, Elisha, for example: “When he [Gehazi] went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? (2 Kings 5:25-26; cf. Col 2:5). This ability is not unique to Elisha. It is our common nature.

You hear the sound of it”: You are irresistible. You have the aura of God. It is your nature to be influential. You were born to be known and recognized. Your presence is to be felt. You were born to get the attention of the world. This is your true nature.

Cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes”: Where God comes from is where you come from; where God goes is where you go. You are mystery. Your life is a wonder. You are beyond definition. You are the master of your goings and comings. No one can contain you. You are the embodiment of freedom. In essence, you are just like the God who gave birth to you. This is your true nature.

I will conclude here, but this is by no means the end of what Jesus left us in John 3:8. As you pray and meditate, you will receive more insight. I hope this brief reflection has given you more reasons to appreciate the beauty of being born of the Spirit.

Do not be afraid of who you are. Embrace your true nature.

In light & love

Ogoe

Paul: The Chief of Sinners? (Pt 6)

Daily Devotion | Day 350

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2, NKJV).

Today’s opening Scripture is a continuation of what Paul has been saying in the preceding chapter in his Letter to the Romans. In 7:13-25 he described the guilt, condemnation and helplessness associated with bondage to sin and one’s inability to submit fully to God’s law. After crying for someone to deliver him from the body of death, he exclaimed, “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25).

From chapter 8, Paul explains at length why he is grateful to God. He is thankful because the experience he described in 7:13-25 is over. That was his former life under the law, before he became a new creation in Christ. He was not describing a Christian’s struggle with sin; rather, he was describing the sin struggles of a Jew under the law, a man who had not experienced redemption in Christ yet. Therefore, it would be a mistake for Christians to quote from Romans 7:13-25 either: (a) to show that Paul (the Christian and Apostle) was a sinner or (b) to explain why Christians today continue to commit sin.

Paul dedicates the whole of chapter 8 to explaining the new found freedom in Christ and its implications for the believer in this world and in the next. Chapter 8 is a description of the born again life. Paul now has found a deliverer and a savior in Christ. His sins have been washed away by Jesus. In addition, he has received from Him power not to fall into sin and condemnation again. The new Paul walks in victory over sin, as all Christians should. Freed from the dominion of sin and filled with the power of the Spirit, he now is able to submit fully to God.

This is the reason Paul opens the chapter with an emphatic declaration of victory and freedom: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Born again people suffer no more condemnation for two reasons. First, they are in Christ. Second, they walk according to the leading and empowerment of the Spirit.

With great joy Paul further testifies, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” This is the new Paul, the Paul who met Jesus, who was saved from his sins and became filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the born again Paul. This Paul and the one described in Romans 7:13-25 are two different people. The former is a Christian and a new creation; the latter is not.

The new Paul is a free man, no longer a slave to sin. This is his testimony. And all Christians, like Paul, should be able to testify to this freedom in Christ: freedom from sin and its attending condemnation. Jesus died, after all, to offer us this very freedom: “He shall save His people from their sins,” the angel told Joseph (Matthew 1:21). Later on in His ministry, Jesus confirmed this offer of freedom from sin when He stated, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin . . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36).

Freedom from committing sin is the most important and the most precious freedom in Christ. This freedom is made possible by the redemption in Christ (through His blood; this includes forgiveness of sins) and our new walk in the Spirit. The result of this freedom is a life of no condemnation. This is what Paul experienced as a Christian, exactly as Jesus envisioned for all believers. But why, one may wonder, do many Christians still struggle with sin on a regular basis? That is a good question, but it is a discussion for another day.

This concludes our current series. Next time you read Paul’s writings, I pray you find inspiration to pursue righteousness, holiness and freedom in Christ. Stay free, stay blessed. And remain in the grace of Christ Jesus. Amen.

For further studyActs 9:1-30 and John 8:1-12

Born of the Spirit: Blowing As the Wind

Daily Devotional | Day 321

“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” (John 3:8, NKJV).

Jesus had an important conversation with Nicodemus at the beginning of John chapter 3. The latter had questions for Him. Nicodemus probably didn’t anticipate that the conversation would take the course it did. When Jesus spoke about the born again life, he felt lost. The message about the new birth sounded too profound or too good to be true. Nevertheless, Jesus said what He needed to say. His teaching in this passage contains deep insights about the life of a believer.

One such insight is what we read in today’s opening Scripture. It’s about being born of the Spirit and blowing as the wind. Before we delve into the passage, let’s note that Jesus uses the expressions “born again” and “born of the Spirit” interchangeably (3:3, 5, 6, 7).

In 3:8, Jesus is describing the life of a person born of the Spirit. He does so by drawing an analogy between the characteristics of the wind and the characteristics of one born of the Spirit. That Jesus compares us with the wind makes one’s head spin. He says, “the wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.” Then He adds, “So is everyone born of the Spirit.”

Observe carefully what is happening here. Jesus is pointing us to something profound. He is comparing us with the wind. He is giving us a clue about what we arewhat we have and what we can do. What Jesus is saying is this: To understand your born again life and your potential, study the wind. If you understand how the wind works, then you will understand how you too can operate.

Interestingly, the words “spirit” and “wind” are translated by one Greek word, pneuma. What you discover about the wind will help you discover yourself, because you and the wind share common characteristics. This is Jesus’ point, and every believer needs to pay attention. Jesus is a great Teacher. To help us grasp what we are and what we can do in the Spirit, He is pointing us to the wind. As we contemplate the wind, we will comprehend who we are. With this in mind, let’s look at a few characteristics of the wind.

You can’t contain, imprison or stop the wind. It moves freely. It can blow where it pleases and change direction at will. It can travel nearly everywhere at different speeds. It can be unpredictable. Wind is a powerful force of nature. At full strength, nothing can stand in its path. Wind is energy. Wind is power. After describing the wind, Jesus declares, “So is everyone born of the Spirit.”

This means you are as the wind. Therefore, you are unstoppable. You are captive to no one but the Father. You can be where you need to be in spirit (2 Corinthians 5:3-4; 2 Kings 5:25-26). You are supernatural energy in motion. No enemy or obstacle can stand in your path when you’re blowing. You are a mystery to your enemies. They feel your influence but they know not your point of origin or your destination. You not only have power, you are power.

This is who Jesus says you are. It is what He says you can do. Don’t ask the Holy Spirit to blow. He has already done that. Don’t ask the Holy Spirit to move. He has already moved. It’s your turn to move and blow. Next time the wind is blowing, take that as a friendly reminder from Jesus about what He says you are. You are as the wind. Blow now.

For further studyActs 2:1-21 and Ephesians 3:14-21

Winning from Above (Pt 2)

Daily Devotion | Day 306

“Even when we were dead in trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ . . . and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6, NKJV).

Yesterday, we looked at how much the Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. We learned that our victory consists in having a heaven perspective, which includes realizing the magnitude of our blessings in the heavenly places. Today, we continue our series by examining the passage above, especially the last part. It’s all about winning from above. A perspective that is mainly based on our earthly/fleshly experience doesn’t help our cause. Fasten your seat belts as we continue our ‘tour’ of the heavenly places.

To win from above it’s important that we look at reality from the standpoint of who we are, where we stand and what we have in the heavenly places.

The born again experience is about before and after, i.e. who we used to be as opposed to who we are now. That is the picture Paul paints in today’s opening passage. In the past, we were dead in our trespasses, he says. But now we live in a different reality thanks to God’s great love for us. God has blessed us with a new life on three levels. First, He has made us alive together with Christ. Second, He has raised us up together with Christ. And third, He has made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We will focus on this last point. But before that, let’s highlight two things which emerge from the passage.

Notice that the new experience is presented in the past tense. This means it is done, and consequently, it is the present reality of everyone who is born of God. Another thing to observe in the passage is the word “together.” It occurs three times, and it is used to describe Jesus and us as having a joint experience. That’s powerful. Don’t miss it.

Now let’s direct our attention to the last part of the passage where Paul says, God “made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This is not a metaphor. It’s a literal spiritual reality. Jesus, the Risen Lord, is seated in the heavenly places. But He is not there alone. We are seated with Him and in Him. And it is the Father who put us there. Remember the word “together.” Jesus is Head of the Body, i.e. the Church (Colossians 1:18). The Head and the Body form one inseparable unit. Therefore, where Christ is, the Church is.

God revealed these things in the Bible to help us see things from His perspective. Often, we’re trapped by our earthly circumstances because we can’t see past the visible world. But God wants us to see things based on our position in the heavenly places, because our victory is from above, not from below.

When the Bible says you’re seated with Christ in the heavenly places it means you’re in a position of authority, power and rest. It means you’re far above satan and his minions. It means all things are possible for you (Matthew 17:20). It means you’re secure, confident and fearless. It means you don’t need to worry about the past, the present or the future. It means all the resources of heaven are at your disposal: health, peace, wisdom, wealth, knowledge, favor, joy and so much more. In a nutshell, you’re a winner.

See yourself seated together with Jesus on high. And use your heavenly position to your advantage.

For further studyEphesians 1:13-22

Why A Christian Should Meditate

Daily Devotional: Day 221

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3, NKJV).

Today’s Scripture reading is one of the richest passages in the writings of Paul. Writing to Christians in Colossae, he reminds them of their new creation status in Christ. Whoever is a new creation has died with Christ and is risen with Him. Being risen with Christ is a powerful reality. It literally means that the resurrection power at work in Christ is at work in you, too.

Based on this truth, Paul draws out practical implications for the believer. If you are risen with Christ, then henceforth you need to adjust your life accordingly. Especially, you need to turn your affections toward heaven where the risen Lord is seated.

Wherever Christ is, there your life is. Your life, Paul says, is hidden with Christ in God. This means there is only one way to find your life: by finding Christ. Do you see where this is going? It’s deep stuff, but the Holy Spirit will help you to grasp it. To find Christ, you need to shift your attention toward Him and maintain your focus on Him. Here is where meditation is vital.

Meditation directs your heart and mind to Jesus. To meditate, you need an object of focus. In this case, that object of focus is Christ. Therefore, Paul urges us to shift our mind from earthly desires (mainly lusts of the world which draw us away from God) and set it on things above, where Christ is seated in power. You, dear Christian, are from above; hence your desires must be oriented above. 

 Where your life is, there your attention needs to be.

Jesus Himself laid out an important principle in the Gospels, “For where your treasure isthere your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). In this instance, Jesus is your treasure, and your life is hidden with Him. If you truly believe this, then you will set you heart on Him – through meditation.

Meditating means to dwell thoughtfully – in a relaxed manner – on a subject matter, a message, a person or an event, in quietness. In meditation, you take a calm, yet hard look at the state of your life and your relationship with God and everything around you.

Meditation is a form of prayer which mostly involves ponderinginternalizingquestioning and listening. You can meditate on any number of things. One thing you can do is focus on a particular passage, story, event or personality in the Bible as the Spirit leads you. Be open minded and relaxed. No need to stress yourself or be rigid.

Lack of meditation leads to spiritual stagnation.

But when you meditate, the Spirit of God will move you, open your eyes and lead you to discover the riches of Christ. This discovery will change you. Rightly does the Psalmist declare, “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:99). Additionally, meditation will help you to discover more about yourself. The more you understand Christ, the more you will understand yourself. Conversely, the less you understand Christ, the less you will understand yourself

Start meditating today. Find Christ, find your life. Amen. 

For further study: Joshua 1:1-9