The Holy Spirit is often described as wind or breath in the Bible. Jesus told Nicodemus that spiritual rebirth happens when we are “born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8). Just as the wind blows where it wishes, we cannot control the Spirit, but must yield to Him. Throughout Scripture, God sent fresh winds of His Spirit to empower, guide, and revive His people. We all need new touches of the Spirit today, revitalizing our faith and equipping us for God’s work. Let’s examine what Scripture teaches about experiencing and sharing fresh winds of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit is compared to wind in Scripture, unseen and uncontrollable, but bringing life and power.
- God sent the Spirit to empower key figures in Scripture for leadership and service.
- The early church experienced dramatic outpourings of the Spirit at Pentecost and other times.
- Though the Spirit cannot be controlled, we can position ourselves to experience fresh winds from God.
- Spirit-empowerment is not just for our benefit, but equips us to bless others.
- We must keep in step with the Spirit daily by developing spiritual disciplines and godly character.
The Spirit as Wind
On the night before His death, Jesus spoke to His disciples about sending the Holy Spirit to be their Helper and empower them as witnesses (John 14:15-31). He explained, “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). The Spirit cannot be controlled by human means, just as no one can harness the wind. We feel and experience the effects of the wind, yet there remains a sense of mystery surrounding it. Jesus wanted His followers to realize the Holy Spirit operates according to His own sovereign will, even though His invisible working profoundly impacts our lives.
The wind is an apt picture of the Spirit because both are invisible but detectable. When the wind blows, we observe its effects without seeing the wind itself. Similarly, we cannot observe the Spirit directly, but we witness His activity transforming hearts and lives. Both wind and Spirit bring life and energy. Just as the wind pollinates plants, propels sailing vessels, and blows away pollution, the Holy Spirit breathes new life into our souls, empowers ministry, and cleanses us from sin. The Spirit is like a refreshing breeze we cannot see, but feel stirring our spirits to glorify God.
Empowering Biblical Figures
Throughout Scripture, God sent fresh winds of His Spirit to empower key figures for leadership and service. When God called Gideon to deliver Israel from Midianite oppression, the Spirit came upon him, and he sounded a trumpet to rally the people (Judges 6:34). The Spirit empowered Samson with superhuman strength to fight the Philistines and tear apart a lion (Judges 14:6, 19). When David was anointed as Israel’s future king, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). The Spirit later gave David strategies for battle (2 Samuel 5:23-25). The prophet Ezekiel reported, “the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet” to receive God’s message and relay it to His people (Ezekiel 2:2).
In the New Testament, the Spirit enabled Elizabeth and Zechariah to prophesy about the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (Luke 1:41, 67). The Spirit descended on Jesus at His baptism, after which He was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tempted and to begin His preaching ministry empowered by the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14). Jesus promised His followers, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8).
Throughout Scripture, the Spirit empowered ordinary people to accomplish God’s extraordinary plans. God continues to send His Spirit to equip modern-day followers of Jesus for ministry. While we cannot control the Spirit, we can position ourselves to receive fresh winds of His power to serve God’s purposes.
Dramatic Outpourings in Acts
The book of Acts records dramatic outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon the early church. After Jesus’ ascension, 120 of His followers prayed together in Jerusalem for the Spirit’s promised coming power (Acts 1:15). On the Day of Pentecost, they experienced a sound “like a mighty rushing wind” filling the house, and “there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.” Filled with the Spirit, they were empowered to preach the gospel boldly to the crowds, adding 3,000 new believers that day (Acts 2:1-41).
Later in Jerusalem, in response to threats from the religious authorities, the believers prayed for continued boldness. “When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). As the church grew rapidly, they chose seven Spirit-filled men including Stephen for service tasks so the apostles could focus on preaching and prayer (Acts 6:1-7). The Spirit enabled Stephen to perform wonders and miracles among the people (Acts 6:8). When Stephen defended the faith before the high council, he was filled with the Spirit, who gave him wisdom and revelation to recount Israel’s history and proclaim Christ (Acts 6:10, 7:55).
The Holy Spirit moved powerfully beyond Jerusalem, as well. In Samaria, the apostles Peter and John prayed for new believers to receive the Spirit. “They laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit,” empowering them with spiritual gifts (Acts 8:14-17). At Caesarea, an angel told Peter to visit the Gentile centurion Cornelius, saying he would share a message through which “he and all his household will be saved.” As Peter preached the gospel to Cornelius’ household, “the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.” Speaking in tongues and magnifying God, these Gentiles received the same Spirit baptism as the apostles had experienced (Acts 10:34-46).
In Ephesus, Paul encountered disciples who had received only John’s baptism. “When Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:1-6). The Holy Spirit was central to the gospel’s advance in the early church. Just as the Spirit once moved dramatically in the book of Acts, we should seek Him to revive the church and empower our witness today.
Positioning Ourselves for Fresh Winds
While we cannot control the wind, sailors can position their sails to catch the wind. Similarly, though we cannot manipulate the Spirit, we can position ourselves to experience fresh winds from God. Jesus compared being born of the Spirit to the wind blowing “where it wishes” (John 3:8). Yet there are also examples in Scripture of the Spirit coming on believers as they prayed, worshiped, listened to God’s Word, or served God’s purposes. Though the Spirit remains sovereign, He often seems to respond to hearts open and inclined toward Him.
We can position ourselves to receive fresh winds of the Spirit by developing Spirit-sensitive hearts through spiritual disciplines like prayer, worship, meditating on Scripture, and fasting. As we behold Christ and offer ourselves fully to Him, the Spirit finds open channels through which to work. We should ask God specifically for fresh fillings of His Spirit, believing He desires to bless us with His empowering presence. As we wait on the Lord, He often responds by renewing our strength (Isaiah 40:31; Acts 1:4). We can cry out to Him, “Awaken my heart to know and love you more!”
We should tune our hearts to sense the Spirit’s promptings and direction, writing down the impressions we believe He gives. The Spirit blows His fresh winds to guide as well as empower us. He will lead us to acts of service expressing God’s love, kindness, and justice. The Spirit’s wind blows away complacency, mobilizing us as change agents in society. We can expect the Spirit to stretch us beyond our comfort zones. Responding to the Spirit’s fresh winds will lead us into exciting new adventures with God.
Blessing Others with Spirit-Empowerment
A key reason the Holy Spirit fills and empowers us is so that we can effectively serve others. Peter explained that when the Gentiles received the gift of the Spirit, it was “the same gift” He gave the apostles “at the beginning” (Acts 11:15-17). God poured out His Spirit on the early believers not for their glory, but to equip them as Spirit-empowered witnesses “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Similarly, God blesses us with the Spirit so that we can be a blessing, sharing Christ through both words and deeds “with signs following” (Mark 16:17-18).
When the Holy Spirit came upon Israel’s elders, they prophesied publicly, demonstrating God’s choice of them as leaders (Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25). Yet God also gave them wisdom to judge disputes and meet people’s needs. The Spirit imparted leadership gifts not for status, but for service. Likewise, God gives us spiritual gifts so we can build up His church and serve those in need (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:12). We must steward the Spirit’s gifts responsibly, directing attention to God, not ourselves.
While the Spirit once visibly manifested on believers with tongues of fire, His work now often appears unspectacular on the surface. But operating through Spirit-filled Christians, He transforms society from the inside out. Those who humbly serve out of the Spirit’s power become the real heroes. God sends us His Spirit so we can join Him as redeeming agents in this fallen world. The fresh winds of the Holy Spirit enable us to bring God’s loving and just reign on earth as it is in heaven.
Keeping in Step with the Spirit
After encouraging believers to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), Paul exhorts us to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16 NKJV). Being filled with the Spirit is only the beginning. Now empowered, we must learn to cooperate with Him daily. Paul says the desires produced by the Spirit are opposed to those produced by our sinful flesh (Galatians 5:17). But if we “walk in the Spirit,” following His guidance and empowerment, we will not gratify our fleshly lusts.
Walking in step with the Spirit requires that we develop spiritual discernment through consistent time in God’s Word. As we renew our minds with scriptural truth, the Spirit transforms our thoughts and desires (Romans 12:2). Then we can test impressions we believe come from Him against the Bible to ensure wise decisions. Since the Spirit produces self-control (Galatians 5:23), we must surrender all addictions and obsessive behaviors that quench His influence. Fulfilling God’s purposes also requires training in virtue through disciplines like fasting, simplicity, and service. As we walk in the Spirit, His fruit matures in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
We must rely on the Spirit daily both for guidance and godly character. Sometimes He leads us into seasons of solitary prayer, other times into active ministry. At all times, we must stay tuned to the Spirit through worship, Scripture intake, and biblical community. Experiencing fresh winds from God’s Spirit takes continual connection with Him. Even routine days afford new opportunities to walk in the Spirit as His grace sustains us moment by moment.
Rather than sinning by quenching the Spirit, we can experience afresh the wind of Pentecost filling our sails each day. As we yield to Him fully, He breathes new life into our souls. Staying in tune with the Spirit daily prepares us for the fresh winds He sends to revive and empower us in new ways. We must steward well His fresh winds today while passionately anticipating even greater outpourings.
Throughout Scripture, God sent fresh winds of His Spirit to revive and empower His people for service. Though the Spirit is like the wind, invisible and untamable, we can position ourselves to receive new fillings of His presence and power. God desires His Spirit to blow away spiritual dullness and stagnation, mobilizing us as Spirit-filled, Spirit-led witnesses. When we walk in step with the Spirit daily through spiritual disciplines and developing Christlike character, we are ready for the fresh winds God wants to send. We must steward the Holy Spirit’s gifts and callings well, blessing others through Spirit-empowered ministry. Let us faithfully proclaim Christ by the Spirit’s power while eagerly anticipating even greater outpourings of Pentecostal fresh winds in these days.