What Wind Wafts Us?
I have a love hate relationship with the wind. It is somewhat complicated. When the wind is blowing in the direction that I want to go or helping me in the task at hand, I welcome it. I appreciate it. But when the wind is fighting me, making my task more difficult, I decry it. I speak against it.
But over the years, I have found that the direction that I want to go did not bring me to the outcome that I intended. On the contrary, a contrary wind brought me moaning and despairing to the place that I surprisingly realized I needed to be and ultimately wanted to be.
The wind can be gentle and bracing. It can also be fierce and destructive.
Recently, I have been confronted with the idea that there are at least two different categories of wind. The wind of the Spirit and the wind of doctrine or teaching. We find each mentioned in the following passages.
“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.” (Jn. 3:8 NAS)
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Eph. 4:14 NAS)
From these passages, it appears, that the wind of the Spirit is cast in a good light and the wind of doctrine is cast in a bad light. “The wind of the Spirit” might be a bit redundant, since spirit means breathe or wind.
People who are born again, born from above, find themselves being led by the Spirit. Sometimes willingly and sometimes not so. The goal, of course, is to trust and be willingly blown by the Spirit. This takes faith to not trust past experiences or natural judgment or be overcome by innate fears. To the trusting and courageous, it can be an exhilarating ride.
Winds of doctrine are another thing. Before the last few days, I considered winds of doctrines to be wrong doctrines that would blow a person off course from right doctrines. In my understanding, winds of doctrine were over against solid doctrines. Recently, the thought has come that winds of doctrine are juxtaposed to winds of the Spirit.
For a long time, I have been distressed that many people in many denominations are trusting in their doctrines, in their understanding of Scripture, in their statement of faith, rather than in the Lord Jesus Christ. This puts the person in a dangerous position to be trusting in their own understanding. It puts the person into a comparative mode. “My doctrine is correct.” “My doctrine is better than your doctrine.” The horns of the dilemma comes from either being cock sure that are doctrines are RIGHT or being not sure if our doctrines are RIGHT. Either way we are leaning on a broken staff.
When a person trusts in Jesus, also a person, rather than the correctness of their doctrine, comparative thinking vanishes. “My Jesus is better than your Jesus,” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Of course, we can still get boastful, “my relationship with Jesus is better than yours.” But since we are in a relationship with Jesus, He will soon correct that. And that is the point, since God knows everything, He can lead us even when we are ignorant.
When a person trusts in a teaching (or a religion, for that matter), there is no relationship. The doctrine does not react to the person. The person reacts to it. Therefore the person is doing all of the doing. When a person trusts another person. It is the other person that is doing the doing. If my doctrine saves me, then I have to make sure that I believe the RIGHT doctrine. If Jesus saves me, then He is the one doing the saving, not me. But what if I do not believe the RIGHT things about this Jesus? Will that stop Him from saving me? No, of course not.
If I have a rock solid trust in Jesus, a person, then I will not be alarmed by ANY teachings. No doctrine will blow me away from HIM.
If we look back one or two verses, we will find what will keep us from being blown by EVERY wind of doctrine.
“for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12, 13 NAS)
The saints serving one another, building one another up, unity of faith and knowing Jesus, which, by the way, is the definition of eternal life, is the remedy for being carried about by EVERY wind of doctrine. Does unity of faith mean that we all have the exact same teaching? No, it does not. It means that we all trust the same person. Does knowledge of the Son of God mean when we know everything about Jesus? Will we ever? NOT the Jesus that I know. As we all trust the same Jesus our differences become enrichment not divisive, the same cannot be said about doctrine.
The Spirit will lead us into all truth, which cannot be distilled to systems or doctrines. All doctrines and teachings have issues. The harder one tries to pin truth down the more it eludes. But when we are lead by the Spirit, we can and do live the truth.
You get the picture.
One last thought to open up a whole line of thinking. As far as I know the New Testament never talks about RIGHT teaching, it talks about WHOLESOME teaching. Wholesome means vibrant, healthy, glowing. So, ortho (right) dox (teaching) is not found in the NT. To embrace the concept of orthodoxy is to continue eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To embrace the concept of wholesome, living, vibrant teaching is to eat from the tree of life. More on this another time.