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“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:18).

According to one lexicon, the word used to describe being “filled” with the Spirit is used to describe wind in sails. That ships need wind against their sails to move is a picture of the way human beings need the Holy Spirit to be alive and spiritually active.

A sailboat might be extraordinary, but it is useless without the wind. The wind brings life and activity to the design of the ship.

In the same way, there are many extraordinary people in this world. Actually, all people are extraordinary. This is fundamental to Christian theology and the Image of God. But when the Holy Spirit comes along and “breathes,” he sets in motion their gifts for his intended purpose; he causes human beings to come alive and be used for the Kingdom of Jesus.

This is the same imagery we find in Genesis 2:7: ”…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

And Ezekiel 37:9-10 in the story of the valley of the dry bones: ”Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

Then this all comes to a culmination with the Lord giving his disciples the Holy Spirit in John 20:22: ”And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Of course, this is a foreshadowing of the greater event of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit would fall upon all God’s people.

This is the life which God gives his people through his Holy Spirit, his “Ruakh” or “wind” or “breath.”

This takes the extraordinary vessels which human persons are and sets them in motion according to their actual purpose. It is like the wind coming up against the sails of an extraordinary ship.

You are an extraordinary person. Be filled with his Holy Spirit.

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2 thoughts on “Theology of Sails

  1. I love this visual! We have a sailboat picture among several canvases on our mantel and now when I see it I love that I will be reminded of the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity in our lives. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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