Sunday: The Elusiveness of the Holy Spirit

Read John 3:3-8 and Ezekiel 37:5, Ezekiel 37:9. Why is the wind a fitting picture for the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit?

By comparing the Holy Spirit’s actions to that of the wind, Jesus describes the Spirit’s elusiveness. The movements of the wind have something mysterious about them. It is difficult to predict with exactness where the wind comes from and where the wind is going. Who hasn’t at times been baffled by the sudden appearance of wind seemingly out of nowhere?

Holy Spirit

Copyright Kevin Cardin @

Yet we can learn to become somewhat familiar with the movements and patterns of the wind. In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit is active where He wills. No one can control Him. Yet we can know where He is active and at work. Just like the wind, the Holy Spirit is invisible but can be most powerful. We of course can feel the presence of the wind and can often see its effect, even if we can’t see the wind itself. From a light breeze to deadly blasts, wind can be a very powerful force. When the Holy Spirit is described as wind, His activity has been connected with the idea of bringing life to the dead. This assumes power to the highest potency, something that only God is capable of doing.

How this is accomplished remains a mystery. God and His workings through the Holy Spirit are greater than what we can fully comprehend, as are so many things both secular and sacred.

This does not mean that we cannot know what the Holy Spirit accomplishes. But we have to acknowledge that the appropriate virtue in dealing with divine mysteries is humility. Humility appreciates the grandeur of God and recognizes our creaturely limitations and accepts our need for divine revelation.

Ellen G. White has aptly stated: “The mysteries of the Bible, so far from being an argument against it, are among the strongest evidences of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not, as now, bear the unmistakable evidences of divinity.” – Ellen G. White, Education, p. 170.

What are some unseen forces in nature that can impact our lives? What should this teach us about the reality of unseen yet powerful influences in our world?


Sunday: The Elusiveness of the Holy Spirit — 45 Comments

  1. God wants to give us the Holy Spirit more than human parents want to give good things to their children. The missing ingredient is our choice or permission to let Him come into our hearts. We must open the door. He is not to be used by us but we are to be motivated by Him. We have the final choice as to whether He is our motivation in the present issue. God has already chosen in the affirmative. It is not "Maybe." It's "Absolutely, right now--any time you are willing and ready."

    We must be ready to give up our will to His motivation. He can even give us this willingness if we ask.

  2. I hear what you are saying, but, how is it really done, {giving up our will, and doing/hearing/knowing} God's will. How is it literally done, can some one tell me how it is done? Thanx someone out there.

    • That is a very good question Evie, but there are a couple of historical examples that can help us understand the process.

      After receiving instructions from the departing Jesus it is recorded that:

      And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. Acts 1: 13,14

      And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2: 1

      The disciples were with one accord. Clearly they had not worked out all their differences - there were a number of issues that they had to work out later, but they had one purpose in mind and were thus ready for the Holy Spirit.

      I don't presume that the Holy Spirit will come like a rushing wind with flames in our lives. Maybe you will get an impression to do something and you will recognise it as the Lord's leading.

      I have told the story on this blog before of a woman I know who read one of Ellen White's books and was so impressed with it that she visited her home here in Cooranbong, Australia. She sat in Mrs White's chair and prayed that the same Holy Spirit that came on Ellen White would come on her. About a week later this woman felt impressed to start a home form homeless men, and a week or so later she was offered the use of a motel for $10 a week. She went on to do a great work among the homeless in Sydney. There were no spectacular manifestations, but the work commenced by this woman under the influence of the Holy Spirit made a difference to the homeless men of Sydney.

    • We are often caught up with thoughts of the Pentecost moment where the Spirit filled the room and the believers with instaneous power. Sure this happens just like miracles happen but it is not God's usual means. He prefers the "Still small voice". I believe receiving the Spirit is similar to Sanctification. It is a continuous process and as long as we seek Him to allow it to happen, it will continue. He will give you what you need. He has promised to do so.

      • Jim we need a text. 1Kings 19:12. The Holy Spirit was not in the earthquake, nor the fire but in the still small voice. One would want to read the verses before and after to get the full story of this Elijah experience. You are so right, all of you thoughts. He will guide, teach, direct every thought if we ask Him. We learned last week that He will is involved with reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

    • Evie, it appears you may be of the same mindset as one of the Twelve--Thomas. I think he, perhaps unjustly, had a reputation as a doubter. I think he was faithful to his friends (Jn 11:16). Like you, he was brave, he had no problem expressing himself when he didn't know or understand something (Jn 14:5). Jesus shows Himself to be kind and patient with folks like Thomas, you and myself who are pragmatic and like to understand things we're involved in.
      When he was absent (Jn 20:24) at Jesus' first appearance to the His disciples after His resurrection (Jn 20:19), Jesus appeared a second time, perhaps just for Thomas' benefit. Even though none of Jesus' disciples should have had any reason to doubt His resurrection because of His earlier conversations with them (Mt 16:21), He seemed to make every effort to disarm their doubt (Jn 20:20). He did something special for Thomas though, who was quite vocal (Jn 20:25). Jesus invited him to "reach", "look" and "put" in order to bring one of His "brethren" (Jn 20:17) to confident faith (Jn 20:27)... and look at the end result (Jn 20:28)!
      Pragmatists like us have to come to the point of acceptance that faith is the currency in God's kingdom (Heb 11:6)--we may not buy or sell without it. While God does not want us to be "incomplete" (2 Tim 3:17), we have to accept our "completeness" within the boundaries of His will (example Dan 12:8-9). There can be no molecular explanation of what's in a look at a brass serpent that neutralizes the certain outcome of snake venom already within a body (Jn 3:14-15; Num 21:9). However, as we follow God's instructions, we receive its benefits. May His Holy Spirit guide you into all truth in your search (Jn 16:13; Philippians 4:6-7).

      • Oh Lynrol, you really think I'm a doubter? I've never thought of myself as one. I just want to know how to be in the Lords will, how to get there, and asking the questions I've ask, someone answered me, and I'm so grateful for the help. I love these discussions, they really help me to understand and search God's word.

        • Evie, no, no, not doubter...pragmatist--a practical person who deals in the facts! Besides, I encourage you to live within the realm of what God KNOWS about you rather than what others think of you.

          Doubt is the human state of mind brought on when a decision or action is required in the face of insufficient information. To doubt is human, and God who is intimately familiar our humanity (Ps 103:14) knows we're not omniscient like Him. Our humanity requires constant management, however, and it is possible to become mired or stuck in our living, desiring ever increasing amounts of information (Judges 6:36-40; 2 Tim 3:7). Yet, God's unfailing kindness continuously flows to wash away all parts of our humanity that He did not create (Ps 103:2-5).

          It is not a fatal flaw "to want to know how to be in the Lord's will, how to get there..", as He invites humans of ALL mindsets (agnostic, "doubters" and pragmatists welcome!) to find our satisfactions in Him (Jn 7:37-38; Jer 9:24). He just has strict requirements (Gen 2:16-17) regarding our method of acquisition (Jn 14:6; 6:28-29; and again..Heb 11:6).

    • Evie I used to say to our children to follow God's will when confronted by choices. I have this notion that God's will is what the Bible says, especially the Ten Commandments. I asked them often to please read their Bible so that they will know the will of God which is written in His holy books, the old and the New Testament. If what I thought is wrong then I probably need to be corrected

    • When we give over our will to God, the Spirit of God will come into our life. He will lead and guide us through scripture. He will impress upon us to follow the example of Christ and the teaching of the apostles. However, He will only come into our life when we ask, seek and consistently pray for Him.

    • Evie, how does the Bible teach us to accomplish the work you are asking about?

      Repentance is the first step, but what are we to repent of? This is only defined through the word of God, so our first practical step is to approach God through His Word, which has the purpose of teaching, reproving, correcting, and instructing in Righteousness, or the ability to do what is "right" as God defines it(2 Tim 3:16)

      When we learn God's will through His word, we repent of anything in our lives that is contrary to it that we are convicted of. This only happens by applying ourselves to know His will, then accepting as we learn it. If you wish to have God's leading in your life, then "in all your ways acknowledge Him(accept His will and change what is contrary to it) and He will direct your path"(Prov 3:6).

      This effort must continue daily as this is a lifelong process, and the experience of conforming to the will of God will advance until the "perfect day"(Prov 4:18). This is a quiet, steady advancement in being sanctified(made holy) as sin is repented of and removed from the life. We repent, and God does the rest if we continue faithful in our repentance and claiming His promises.

      This process is laid out beautifully in the Beatitudes(Matt 5:3-11), as well as in other places that show the both the simplicity of it and it thorough accomplishment in the live that exhibits faith in God's Word. Psalm 40:1-3 is a brief but complete illustration of the process.

      Most of all, pray with purpose and faith as the light of God's word reveals the path all must follow in taking the yoke of Jesus(Matt 11:28-30, Matt 16:24, etc). This process of study, prayer and "feeding" on God's word IS how we take His yoke upon us, learning of Him so we might be like Him, as all will be when He comes to receive the saved as promised(1 John 3:2). As this process continues, your personal witness to others will increase, and as written in the Psalm; "many will see, and fear and trust in the Lord" because of your faithful witness.

      Find and believe every promise, for by these we become "partakers of the Divine nature(holiness)" that God has asked us to have(1 Peter 1:16, 2 Peter 1:4).

      I hope this helps in some way.

    • Hi Evie,

      In addition to what Maurice has said kindly prayerfully consider the following from the great book Steps to Christ. I recommend you read the whole book if you have not done so yet:

      Many are inquiring, “How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?” You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. {SC 47.1}
      Steps to Christ, p. 47.2
      Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians. {SC 47.2}
      Steps to Christ, p. 48.1
      Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith. {SC 48.1}

      May we truly daily give our will to God surrendering the WHOLE heart to Him moment by moment!

      • Chris, so good, I needed to tell you rather than just click on thumbs up. When we have the two way experience of prayer in giving our will, this is how it is really done, we believe in prayer, we believe in faith it is a two way conversation. This is how it is done. Chapter 11 here is just one of the sweet paragraphs in chapter 11 of SC.
        "Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. SC 93.2"

        • Amen indeed John. I have been trying to review the book "Steps to Christ" from time to time over and over. I think its a worthwhile practice since this a short book!

          Thanks for sharing another gem from the book.

      • Thank you, Chris, for posting a direct response to Evie's question from the book, Steps to Christ. It does look like God heard Evie's question and answered it, doesn't it?

        Evie, here, again, are some high points from the quotation:

        you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.

        We can do this choosing daily and hourly - by choosing to do what we know Jesus wants us to do, rather than following our selfish will. I'd like to suggest you read it for yourself, perhaps starting at the beginning of the chapter, "Consecration." (Click on link)

        Just a few pages later in the same book, Steps to Christ, p. 70, you can read this, which I've found very helpful:

        Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.

        Again, I recommend the whole chapter. 🙂

  3. So for me, after reading this lesson, our task is only to ask for the HS from God the Father! but then the HS knows his only way how to touch us,like the wind we do not know how it touches us,but surely we can feel the HS's activity (touch) and its consequence in our lives!

  4. As doors and windows are opened for winds to come into our rooms so as we as Christians should avail ourselves to the Holy spirit.The work of the Holy spirit is rightly behind the scene but plays a great role in our life.Understanding it works completely won't be possible but as winds comes and go so as the Holy Spirit work.. it's always with us but comes when needed and wants to be felt, in all of this it's us who has to open our hearts and mind to feel it's presence and work. Let's not forget the fruit of the, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Gal.5:22-23. In doing this we will feel it as we feel the wind

  5. Elusiveness of the Holy Spirit. Elusive meaning :Evasive,hard to comprehend or define.The christian is to cooperate with God in the work of sanctification, this is accomplished when he is ever conscious of being in the presence of a Holy God Ps.19:9 Eph. 4:24, Amos 3:3 Matt.5:48. Such consciousness prepares us for the out pouring of the Holy Spirit.

    • Well Freddie, I put on the new woman many years ago when I was teenager, gave my heart to the Lord, was baptized, and etc. But I have been far from perfect as Matt.5:48 says we must be. One can worry about their salvation, if it wasn't for God's grace,right? Everyday I invite God into my life, and do my best, & let God's grace cover the rest. Do you think there is more we can do?

      • Believe His promise that He did what he said He would do! Quit letting Satan have a foothold in your/our life and trust God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself! Read Exodus 20:2 - God rescues us and then gives us promises of what we look like because of His rescue! Abide in Christ - then I no longer live, but Christ lives in me!

      • But you are perfect Evie. It is Christ that God sees standing in your place and the Spirit brings your prayer before His Throne.

      • Evie, Jesus has done all that needs to be done to save us from sin. Thus, We are saved by God's grace through our faith (belief) in that action of salvation. There is no more to be done. Do you belief in Christ ability to save you? If so you are kept through the Holy Spirit leading and guiding you daily in the pathway of life. Adam and Eve caused a separation between us and heaven. But, Jesus reconnected us to the Father, again. It's the Holy Spirit that daily keeps us. So, when you sense a disconnect ask God for more of the Holy Spirit in your life. It's the Holy Spirit who lead us into all righteousness. It's the Holy Spirit that guides into all truth. He show us what is God's will and what is not. He helps us to love as Christ did. He gives us the power to overcome sin, self and Satan.

      • The only "perfect" we can be in this life is perfectly submitted to the will of God as we continue to study and learn of it. Once we find anything contrary in our life, we repent of it and continue our study of the Word of God. This beholding of Christ in God's Word will change us to His likeness at last, but don't look for "perfection" except in your surrender each day. God will do the rest as long as we are His completely. We will always be pressing toward the mark of our high calling in Christ while in this present world.

  6. Evie, the very fact that makes you openly communicate your aspirations may show that you are open to receive more of the influence of the HS. CERTAINTY is something that, as human beings, kind of do not fit us! If we really knew everything we need to change in us, what would be left for the HS to do? Keep on striving for Him! Have your mind and heart wishing more! This is basically our part in the process. When we become proud of what we know is exactly when we close the door to receive more! As the Lesson mentions, it is necessary to be humble while dealing with the Divine! Push foward, Evie!

  7. No one control the holy Spirit. We can see where it's active and at work. Does this mean we can see the difference in people's lives where the holy Spirit is active? And if so we need to test the spirit as the bible stated because sometimes we see and hear people doing and saying things which if you are not connected or know the word we will be misled. I want to have the holy Spirit working in me I avail myself please pry for me brethren that my life and family will ler go and let God.

  8. Evie, it is important that daily we study God 's Word and be in an attitude of prayer. In this way one will be able to listen or feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit in one's life. It is the Holy Spirit that reveals the word to us. The study of the Word, prayer and faith in God are essential ingredients to help us in experiencing the Effects of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May God bless you in your walk with Him.

  9. There are only two energies on this planet that are personal. All the other's are impersonal.
    A) Impersonal: Fload, wind, lightning, fire, careless tongue, tornado earthquake, hate, and electricity.....they are all impersonal. (Lightening doesn't care if the girl is pregnant, as no pity at all). They are all destructive.
    B) personal: Love, Holy Spirit. Everything they do is constructive and or for our good in mind. Now there is such a thing as tuff love, and God's strange act, which we call justice but even that, though looking very distructive, in the long run is for the better good.
    That is why in the end all will proclaim that God is love

  10. The impact of unseen forces like hurricanes, lightening can influence our lives either way. We learn that we have no control over nature and no choice but to accept it . Similarly, the Holy Spirit work with no warning we feel it but do not see it. When we avail ourselves for God to use us, to do the work in us that we cannot do for ourselves, in humility the Holy Spirit work behind the scenes. It is through prayer and supplication we invite the Holy Spirit in our live. The Holy Spirit are greater that what we can fully comprehend.

  11. Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is ever-present while unseen, yet His unseen presence will have an effect that will be visible to all, though some will not understand it.

    The Holy Spirit is only elusive where unbelief exists.

    Wind and earthquakes are “unseen” forces, yet the results are very visible. Ok, you don't really SEE thunder either, yet it can rattle the windows and frighten the timid. We also might not see the bird or it's song, but it still thrills our ears to hear it's cheerful expression.(Yes, perhaps only cheerful to us, and not always the bird) ?

  12. Surrendering our will to God's will involves consciously/intentionally submitting daily our thought process to the control of the Holy Spirit. We may say, it's easier said than done, yes, this would be true based on our own efforts. This is possible only through the help of the Holy Spirit. Also, it's a process! I pray someone will be encouraged by these few words.

  13. It is Holy Spirit who guides us through our study of the Word. Jesus says of Him in 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."
    So to Evie's question there is really any literal way that I can suggest for knowing him or even for knowing God's will .Spiritual things are discerned spiritually.therefore, you must surrender yourself to God and seek him with all your heart through prayer and study of the Word.

  14. Evie,
    I had the same questions. I am still learning more about His love and work on my heart everyday. A few passages I rehearse frequently in my heart:

    *The natural heart is at enmity against the Holy spirit. Romans 8:7

    *We don't know our own hearts and they will deceive us. Jeremiah 17:9

    *"No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul." {COL 159.3}

    *God has to give us the will to do what He wants for us. Phil. 2:13

    *Love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10

  15. The HS aims to help us do and be what the Lord requires, which is us achieving our highest potential as human beings. When we receive instructions (through the bible etc.) the Holy Spirit helps us to desire the right things (the things of God) and helps us accomplish these things which are impossible in our own strength. Our job is to pray for the HS, accept in humility that we are wrong when our will clashes with the Lord's and ask for help. Then the will of the Lord will become ours through the work of the Holy Spirit and we become transformed into sons and daughters of God. Our character will reflect our Heavenly Fathers.

    • In as much one accord would mean oneness in purpose, it goes further to unity among themselves- having all agreed and understood what it takes to be a gospel spreader and what field to minister to
      The issue of Greek women was not an issue from those who received the Holy Spirit but the followers who joined them. I still believe the Holy Spirit would not come upon any group of people though in "oneness of purpose" as you put it but having issues among themselves- doctrinal issues-
      Oneness in purpose in our christian circle would mean love for one another that would lead us to be called children of God.
      Could the Holy Spirit that leads into ALL Truth come upon people with divergent views regarding salvation of people.
      Please still help me to understand. Maybe there is some area I am still no able to pick up the thought.
      I thank you.

      • Renford, this passage in Great Controversy, page 257, shows me people don't have to think exactly like me to have the Holy Spirit and unity.

        "In Wesley’s time, as in all ages of the church’s history, men of different gifts performed their appointed work. They did not harmonize upon every point of doctrine, but all were moved by the Spirit of God, and united in the absorbing aim to win souls to Christ. "

  16. Maurice,
    In your response to Evie's question,you gave her an example of the disciples in the upper room being praying and in one accord.
    Kindly help me understand when you say 'they had not worked out all their differences.
    The bible says that when you want to offer a gift to God, but if you have not resolved your difference with your friend, you should first go and make peace and then do the offering or praying.
    How could the Holy Spirit come down to them when they had 'no true love for one another because of their unresolved differences? I believe the Holy Spirit Should dwell in a clean temple.
    Thank you.

    • I would agree with Renford, one accord means just that. No more arguments of "who is the greatest" or being unwilling to serve another. They spent the 10 days waiting by confessing, praying and study. They had reached one accord before the Holy Spirit could descend upon them. Notice their actions following this experience. Sanctification is seen in the lives of those who have been sanctified, which is where the power in their witness resides, through the Holy Spirit.

    • All I am saying is that they did not let those differences obscure their unity of purpose. And as evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit, when those differences became annoying only a short time later, (the unequal treatment of the Greek widows) they came up with a plan to solve the problem.

      One accord means that your noses are all pointing in the same direction and that you will not let the differences distract you from your purpose.

      • Acts 15. Not all was resolved, but enough to proceed.
        Remember, it is not in us to gain power, but in the HS to gain power over us. We must submit to His working, not ask that our plans be empowered. Ultimately we dont know what to ask or think Eph 3:20

  17. Maurice's statement:

    Acts 1: 13,14
    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2: 1

    The disciples were with one accord. Clearly they had not worked out all their differences - there were a number of issues that they had to work out later, but they had one purpose in mind and were thus ready for the Holy Spirit.

    The Bible says they were in one accord, And you are saying, they were in one accord. Then you say they had not worked out all their differences. Please tell me why you are saying that, when the Bible says they were in one accord. Please clarify your statement. Thanks.

    • The phrase "one accord" indicated oneness of purpose. It does not mean we all think the same on everything. The early Christian church were in "one accord" in their wish to spread the gospel, but there were clear differences, for example, about the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. Acts goes on immediately after Pentecost to discuss the issue of looking after the Greek widows as they felt they were ignored. They went on to resolve the issue - case of where the accord overcame their differences.

      The strength of "one accord" is our ability to either accept our differences as minor or to resolve them in a Christian manner.

  18. When we all die and stop arguing, when we all are laying in the ground asleep, when we all have stopped pursuing and contributing and seeking, then will our fight be over?

    We will wake up
    We will realize where we are
    None of our "worries" made as much difference as the love we shared. Our differences are inconsequential in comparison to the next 1,000 years, million years.

    The job of the HS is to lay our pride in the dust so we can see the REAL work that is before us.
    Gal 2:20, Rom 6:7, tit 2:13,14


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