After the fundamental question of life, “Does God exist?” comes the closely related question, “If there is a God, what is God like?”
In a conversation with an unnamed Samaritan woman, Jesus answered the question this way: “God is spirit.” In other words, God is essentially immaterial and invisible.
As spirit, God isn’t confined to a certain temple or shrine. He’s everywhere. He fills the universe. You can meet Him anywhere.
The biblical words for spirit are the Old Testament Hebrew word ruwach (variously translated as “wind, breath, mind, air, or spirit”) and the New Testament Greek word pneuma (typically translated “power, wind, breath, state of mind, ghost”).
Those ideas (wind, breath, mind, and spirit) are more closely connected than we might assume at first glance.
The Bible uses ruwach in its second verse (Genesis 1:2), where we see the Spirit of God “hovering over the waters” of the yet-unfinished creation.
A short time later, in Genesis 6:17, ruwach is translated as “breath of life.” There can be no life without breath, no life without ruwach.
Later, Job 37:21 and Psalm 148:8 use ruwach to signify a physical wind. In the New Testament, Jesus compares the saving work of the Holy Spirit to the blowing wind (John 3:8).
The bad news of the gospel is that sin renders us spiritually dead and incapable of relating to the God who is spirit.
The good news of the gospel is that the God who is spirit came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
He did this to show us what He is like and also to make us spiritually alive by His grace, through our faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).
The only way to become spiritually alive is to know God and respond to Him. Knowing God transcends the physical realm.
Our communion with God can be enhanced by material realities and blessings, but it doesn’t require external, earthly things. We relate to Him, spirit-to-spirit.
When the God who is spirit makes us spiritually alive in Christ, we are able to live in a satisfying spiritual relationship with Him.
How is the untamable, powerful wind and the power of God similar?
God, You are spirit. As I live in my physical body in this material world, teach me how to worship You “in the Spirit and in truth.” Amen.