The little town, or more accurately “village”, that my wife and I called home during most of our time in Alaska was located on the extreme tip end of the Aleutian peninsula, a strip of land stretching out between the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The arctic and subarctic atmospheres collided in that area, and the resulting winds that regularly descended on us were like nothing we had ever encountered outside of a hurricane. For an import from southern Virginia, those conditions required some getting used to, and I wasn’t always as prepared as I should have been.
I was reminded of the importance of checking the wind conditions one morning when I stepped out onto the little stoop that served as a back porch for the house where we lived. Apparently, I had gotten preoccupied and drifted into my “lower forty-eight” mindset where casually stepping outside was not a problem–not a good idea in that part of the world.
An Unexpected Diversion ~
As soon as I pushed the door shut behind me, a powerful gust hit and I found myself helplessly flying off the porch toward the ice and snow below. I was at the mercy of a force I couldn’t see, and over which I had no control. All I could do was lay there on the ice and try to develop a strategy for getting up and back into the house without getting blown off again. I knew about the potential for gusts of wind to push us around back in Alaska, but had allowed myself to get distracted and momentarily disregard the potential danger. My failure to prepare left me helpless when I stepped out into its path. Wind is just air, but when it’s thrown at you at 70 or 80 mph, dealing with it can be challenging. That’s a lesson worth revisiting because there’s a different kind of wind threatening us and our culture today.
There are ideological, racial, political, and cultural concepts being promoted in our country that are oppositional to the traditional values and principles that have prevailed since our founding. These ideas aren’t new, but these days, they are being thrown at us with an intensity unseen in our lifetime. The velocity of the narratives being relentlessly hurled at us every minute of every day from nearly every media outlet is overwhelming. Millions of people are being blown mentally, spiritually, and emotionally in directions they don’t want to go. Institutions and basic principles vital to our national and individual welfare are being ripped apart by this verbal windstorm and reduced to little more than literary debris. Concepts like truth, freedom of speech, religious liberty, rule of law, transparency, rationality, and justice that is truly fair and equal have all but disappeared in many parts of our country. The spiritual landscape is looking pretty bleak right now, but it’s not the first time oppositional winds have threatened God’s people.
Adversity Already at Work ~
There were winds aligned against Jesus even before He arrived on the scene, but there was one man who stood against them, and he became a powerful counteractive influence. His name was John, and Jesus used an interesting analogy in asking a question of those who wanted to know about him:
When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? Luke 7:24 (NKJV)
John stood against the oppressive winds of a corrupt religious and political system and refused to be intimidated, silenced, or subdued until his task was completed. God didn’t send John to stop the malicious winds that were threatening His people — and that isn’t our mission, either. John was sent to introduce the One who would start in motion a new, more powerful wind that would blow in a different direction. Like John, our mission involves that initial introduction, but it goes beyond that.
A Vital Necessity ~
Much of Jesus’ ministry was devoted to equipping His followers to face the challenges that the world would throw at them after He returned to Heaven. He was constantly working to build their faith and establish a spiritual foundation that would withstand the storms of idolatry, false teaching, and empty philosophies that would be descending on them. Battles aren’t won by babies, and developing spiritual maturity is absolutely vital if we are not only to survive, but overcome and rise victorious over the forces arrayed against us.
Moving beyond the weak, under-developed, uninformed, self-centered, naive, attitudes and behaviors consistent with children is mandatory, and its benefits are a bulwark against political deception, divisiveness, and emotional manipulation. Spiritual adults are more successful in recognizing and rejecting information contaminated with concepts designed to capture minds and enslave unsuspecting victims with fraudulent philosophies and hedonistic belief systems. The Apostle Paul highlighted the necessity of spiritual growth and the danger of immaturity in an admonition to the church at Ephesus:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11–16 (NKJV)
Called in a Different Direction ~
At a time when anti-Christian forces are fighting harder than ever to dismantle the sources of spiritual truth and to keep followers of Jesus feeling weak and overwhelmed, God calls us to grow up. While the enemy is employing every seductive means imaginable to us into one of the many forms of civil, racial, or class warfare raging across the land, God calls the Body of Christ to be unified like never before. At a time when everything is tempting us to divert our attention to storms raging around us, or to gaze at ourselves in the mirror and focus on the transient externals that the world loves, God calls us to focus on the One who is intent on building us up in love. God calls us to be grown-ups because battles aren’t for babies.
The winds of adversity are howling, but we’re here to remind the world that there’s another wind blowing that gives us the power to stand against it. God sent a rushing mighty wind from Heaven, not to destroy, but to redeem, not to intimidate, but to encourage, not to confuse, but to enlighten. God sent us the power not only to stand, but to move in a whole new direction and He introduced it for us this way:
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:1–2 (NKJV)
This wind from Heaven brings with it the power to blow away the chains of guilt and fear, to release those trapped in the bondage of lust, and to loose the shackles of addiction. It creates a healing vortex of love and truth that pulls us to the One who forgives our sins, who restores broken hearts and bodies, and who replaces shame and regret with peace. The winds of opposition may feel overwhelming, but there’s a stronger wind blowing. It isn’t a detached, impersonal force. It’s the awesome living presence of the risen Son of God, and no storm hell can create will ever have the power to overcome Him.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “Battles aren’t won by babies. Developing spiritual maturity is absolutely vital if we are not to only to survive, but overcome and rise victorious over the forces arrayed against us.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Moving beyond the weak, under-developed, uninformed, self-centered, naive, attitudes and behaviors consistent with children is mandatory. Its benefits are a bulwark against political deception, divisiveness, and emotional manipulation.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “At a time when anti-Christian forces are fighting harder than ever to dismantle the sources of spiritual truth & keep followers of Jesus feeling weak & overwhelmed, God calls us to “grow up” & be unified like never before. (Eph 4:11–16 NKJV)” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “At a time when everything is tempting us to divert our attention to storms raging around us, or to gaze at ourselves and focus on the transient externals that the world loves, God calls us to be grown-ups because battles aren’t for babies.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “This wind from Heaven creates a healing vortex of love and truth that pulls us to the One who forgives our sins, who restores broken hearts and bodies, and who replaces shame and regret with peace and love. @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The winds of opposition may feel overwhelming, but there’s a stronger wind blowing. It’s not a detached impersonal force, but the awesome living presence of the risen Son of God. No storm hell can create will ever have the power to overcome Him.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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© 2021 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
Bullseye Brother! “You are on target; fire for effect!” Well said. Bravo! Author! Author! Not sure how you do it, I’m convinced they’re divinely inspired, but your words and exhortations grow stronger with each passing week. Another wonderful post this week sir. A much needed word of truth to counter the veil of deception that is covering our world today. Yes, at times we may feel we are standing alone in a vast wilderness, but you remind us that when we stand upon the true word of God we are hardly alone. There is a remnant of God-fearing, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled Christians who stand with you. As you quoted from Acts 2; “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. “, we must be willing to stand together. Not as Baptist, Catholic, Assembly of God, Lutheran, etc.; for these are manmade constructs. But we, the body of Christ, must stand together as true Christian men and woman who are committed to God and the living out the truth of His Word in our lives. When we grow up and gain spiritual maturity; it is then that we can withstand the winds of change, fear, uncertainty, and doubt that seeks to remove us from the path of sanctification. When we allow that to happen. When we divide ourselves as the body of Christ, disjointed, then we become ineffective. That “one place” we must stand is upon the Word of God. If we can do this, then we can put a stop to all this chaos, upheaval, hatred, and divisiveness that is gripping our nation and world. Standing with you my friend. Arms raised, hands linked, inviting others to join us! Amen my friend; Amen! Woo! Am fired up by your words this morning sir.
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Thank you, J.D. This is another one of your classically gracious and powerful responses that leaves me struggling to find a way to react that adequately expresses how grateful I am to know that you’re out there in the fight. The highlights and reinforcements you share always add richness, personal warmth, and spiritual insights to the things I’ve tried to say. God bless you for the many ways you find to minister to all of us as we carry out the mission together.
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The winds of opposition certainly do feel overwhelming at times. I keep asking myself when will it ever stop? Wrong question! It won’t stop, but with maturity and faithfulness in Jesus, who overcame the world, we can endure and we can win hearts and minds to Him. May the church be strong and unified.
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I find myself slipping into that same, “when will it ever stop” response, Martha. It hasn’t always been this way, of course, and I want the days back when insanity didn’t seem so universal and there were some rational voices to be found in the ranks of national leadership. But, like you stated so clearly, it isn’t going to stop and there’s a better question to ask, i.e. Lord, where and how do you want to use what you’ve given me? Thank you for extending the effort it took to be another “grownup,” and for standing against the hurricane of evil blowing across the land–God bless you
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