Without air, human beings cannot survive. When breathing stops, life ends. God had breathed air into the dust of the ground to make the first man come alive. (Genesis 2:7) In fact, spirit, air and wind are used synonymously in the Bible, through a common word ‘ruwach’ in Hebrew and ‘pneuma’ in Greek.
During a discussion about the spirit, Jesus had illustrated his point by comparing it to the wind in the earth’s atmosphere. (John 3:8) Like many meteorological elements, the wind indeed is invisible but it can be measured accurately and is known to be extremely variable. So does the spirit operate in the world, changing its intensity and purpose while remaining unseen by man.
The wind comes to us, we do not have to go to the wind. Similarly the spirit approaches us, we do not have to go looking for it. We can either make use of the wind or let it go. So it is with the spirit. We can receive it, get filled with the spirit, or allow it to pass by. (Jesus John 30:22, Acts 2:4; Eph. 5:18).
The wind can be gentle like a pleasant breeze on a hot day or on a moonlit night. Likewise the spirit can refresh us in our times of tiredness. (Psalm 23:2)
The wind can blow suddenly as in a gust. The spirit too may come blowing in suddenly, unannounced. (Acts 2:2)
The wind has great power. It can move clouds in the air and ships over the oceans and can drive turbines on land. The spirit also has great power. It can stimulate the human mind, give courage and strength to people, and help them accomplish great things. (2 Timothy 1:7)
The wind brings together air from distant places on earth. The spirit brings together different people into a common fellowship. (2 Corinth 13:14)
Yes, the spirit and the wind are alike, but not completely. There remains one big difference. The wind may be like the spirit of God, but it is not God. It cannot therefore be an object of worship. God is a spirit and he alone is to be worshipped is spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)