The Unpredictability of a Living God

Regardless of personality, anyone who lives a life guided by God’s Spirit will be characterized by an element of unpredictability, particularly by those who are observing from the outside.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” John 3:8

“The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit”
— John 3:8

The metaphor here would lead one to believe that anyone led by God’s Spirit is unpredictable and even a bit mysterious at times. That said, how many of us are attentive enough to overcome our desire for stability and take on these qualities of the wind?

Before we unpack this metaphor and get too far along, we must make the necessary concession that there is still consistency in a person led by God’s Spirit.

In fact, Galatians 5:22-23 will list for us the fruits of a person being animated by God’s Spirit. These fruits are the desired and predictable outcome for every believer. And James 1:5-7 helps us know that asking for God's wisdom in faith actually stabilizes us, so we aren't tossed by the wind of doubt. So then, where does unpredictability find its place?  

The fruits of the Spirit are going to be practiced in different ways based on the situation at hand. What kindness looks like in one situation, might not be applicable to another. Or take a quality like joy. If a person behaves joyfully through a very trying circumstance, it would feel a bit mysterious and unpredictable at first from an outside perspective.  

Obedience to God happens one moment at a time. We will never be able to find a set of laws that would tell us exactly how to respond in every moment. We will always have to make the decision to obey God’s leading in a moment versus what could satisfy our flesh. Our unpredictability is a result of following a God who is alive and speaking. When we invite him into our moments, we give the opportunity for him to move in ways that we could never predict or anticipate.

An understanding of God's alive spirit necessitates an active prayer life to connect with him in every moment. Institute students like Kennedy are involved in prayer every morning in their homes. On Sunday evenings they gather in homes for worship and Bible study--powerful times that prepare them to meet with God in the week ahead. 

An understanding of God's alive spirit necessitates an active prayer life to connect with him in every moment. Institute students like Kennedy are involved in prayer every morning in their homes. On Sunday evenings they gather in homes for worship and Bible study--powerful times that prepare them to meet with God in the week ahead. 

Maybe you know a person like this - a person who really tries to listen to God in every situation. They often emerge as movers and shakers because their connection with God inspires them to act without tagging along on someone else’s journey towards pleasing the Lord.  

I’ve recently been impressed by a friend of mine named Kennedy, who is passionate about prayer because she wants to be available to God in each moment. She will tell you that often when she knows she is about to have a moment of even casual conversation with someone that she will pray and ask God to be present with her in the words she says or the actions she takes in response to that encounter.  

And the more she learns God’s Word, the more convicted she is to be available to God in service to others.  If you know her, you know an energetic, hard working, loving and honest person who doesn’t waste time on small talk or vain activity. Her belief that God is alive and at work in our midst is inspiring.  

As you might see if you observed Kennedy, every moment deserves a fresh approach. We all need some unpredictability in our lives. Not the kind that makes you go skydiving or climb to the highest elevation of a mountain, but the kind that invites God’s transforming presence into the picture and brings it to life.