Effects of the Wind  

  • Jeff Crotts
Dandelions blowing seeds in the wind

Recently I met a new couple visiting our church. What was meant as a, getting to know you visit, quickly shifted into a discussion on, how you can know you are a true believer? 

Many people wrestle with doubts regarding their spiritual status and on how to quantify where they stand in relation to God. With that said, it is encouraging to know the Bible spares not a little space, addressing how to know you are a believer.    

Remember Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (cf. Jn. 3:7-8) to be a true child of God? How do you know when you are truly born again?  

It has been said, “If you were not aware of being born the first time, why do you suppose you should be aware of your second birth?” In John 3, Jesus makes this very point to Nicodemus when he says, we do now see the wind but the effects of the wind.  

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

John 3:8  

Jesus uses wind to explain how we cannot see when God gives us a new heart while at the same time, we will see the demonstrative effects of being given a new heart.   

In Alaska when we have a very powerful wind that blows through Anchorage called a Chinook. Based on the direction this wind blows and the way our house is positioned, I can predict which way my basketball goal will blow over (usually this wind will take it down). (It is important to predict how my BB goal will fall because my cars are parked next to it in my driveway.) When my goal drops on its side, I did not see the wind, nor did I predict the timing of its gusts, but I see the strong effects. We know we cannot see the Holy Spirit and so we likewise cannot predict when and how he works but even so, we should not underestimate the Spirit’s very observable effects. The book of James is one of the most powerful books in regards to seeing concrete observable effects of living faith. The central part of the book of James is found in James 2.   

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  

Can that faith save him? 

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 

and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good1 is that? 

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 

 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  

James 2:14-18 


James’ point is that real faith always produces demonstrative effects. Taking a quick stroll through this book proves this out: 

  • James 1: Shows people with living faith persevere through hard circumstances. (See James 1:1-5; 12) 
  • James 2:  Goes on to teach living faith is indiscriminate in terms of loving people, whether rich or poor living faith is impartial. (See James 2:1-4) 
  • James 3: digs deeper saying that living faith will work to tame the tongue.  (See James 3:1-8) 
  • James 4: Makes the case that living faith by the power of the Holy Spirit will produce humility. (See James 4:1-10) 
  • James 5: Living faith perseveres under Christian persecution.  


Surveying these passages in James, to test whether faith is dead or alive should prove helpful when trying to personally assess where you are or someone else is spiritually. When life suddenly starts crashing, do you rely on Christ to see you through? When someone comes into your life who is richer or poorer than you are, will you be humble toward them? When tempted to overshare or gossip, do you pull in the reigns on what you say or not say? Are you presumptuous about what your life is, will be, or what you think it should be? (see James 4:13-17). Finally, are you defensive or open when someone comes on the offensive about your character?  

Godly instinctive responses flowing from real and living faith are the “effects of the wind” (cf. Jn. 3:8) you will see.