The Santa Ana winds are a strong prevailing hurricane force winds that flow from the Mojave Desert in Southern California in the spring and fall. The flow through the mountain passes, gaining speed and dryness, and blast like devil’s breath upon the land. Growing up in southern California, the name brought frustration, irritation, threats of wildfires, and a knowledge that life will be weird for the next little while. People get strange during the Santa Anas. They act weird. They get irritable and frustrated more with one another. As the winds blow and howl, we try to endure, going about the normal day of life with dryer skin and more allergies.
The howling winds of the Santa Anas twist and bend palm trees back and forth like play things. The sound the rushing wind makes creates for an eerie night time experience. One late night, sitting at home in my apartment, I began to hear a woman crying for help. I went outside. My neighbors were doing the same. A strong frightened call for help. We ran. We searched. We knocked on doors. After finding no woman in peril, we looked up into a swaying palm tree to see a peacock clinging to the palm fronds. The cry of the peacock can sound eerily like a woman crying for help. In the height of the wind storm, with our nerves on edge, we all thought the worse. It wasn’t pleasant for the bird in the tree, but it wasn’t a person in need either. Grumpily we went back to our apartments.
The Santa Anas bring something else with them as well–coastal fog. During the Santa Anas, the Pacific Ocean cools, cold water rising to meet the hot winds. When the hot dry winds calm for the early morning hours, the void left brings a marine layer fog which rolls into the area, taking up residence, obscuring views for mile until the noon day sun burns it off or the Santa Anas come once again with vengeance to blow away the intruder.
The Santa Anas are sometimes thought of as the devil’s wind or the devil’s breath. Yet we stand in the Santa Anas, not knowing any different or better. The wind upon our shoulders hurt, force us to huddle behind structures, force us to find refuge. I was once even blown off my bike back in high school while riding in the winds. We cope. We endure. But are still affected.
The devil’s breathe prevails on us not just in the Santa Anas. The greatest lie that the devil himself gives is that he doesn’t exist. The second greatest lie is that he has power. As the devil’s breath blows from the Mojave through the mountain passes, so the enemy, the devil prowls around in our lives, looking to distort truth, force us to accept the hardness of life as normal, and allow his breath upon our necks.
There’s a passage that always gets me from 1 Peter
“Be alert and sober. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
As his hot breathe blows on our necks, we get used to it. We cope. We believe that there can’t be anything different. We explain it away. We ignore it. Yet in his lies he prowls, looking to devour.
There is another wind, another breath that is there. A life giving breath. A breath that moves and lives and grows. It is a breath that blocks the devil’s breath upon our necks.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful in teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
This God-breathed is from the Holy Spirit Himself. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is described as the wind or breath of God. The Hebrew word is translated as such–wind, breath, and spirit. In the New Testament, it is the same The word for the Holy Spirit is breath, wind, spirit. It is where we get the world pneumonia from. The breath of God, the Holy Spirit, fills us, gives us life, directs us, leads us, and banishes all lies.
Unlike the devil’s breath like the Santa Anas, the Holy Spirit is gentle in His leading. He doesn’t manipulate, twist truth, or lead us astray. We don’t have to stand firm against Him instead we allow him to move us like sails on a boat, catching His breath, His wind, and move us in God’s direction.
The meteorologists know what the Santa Anas are, where they come form, what they cause, and when they will eventually stop. Living in southern California, you could feel them coming, try to stand in them, and endure until they were over, seeing their after affects when they were done.
Don’t let that be the same for your spiritually. The devil’s breath is speaking lies in your ear, he has no power. When Jesus died upon the cross, He has de-clawed the devil and de-toothed him too. The Santa Ana winds have power only for a little while, so does the enemy. But the Holy Spirit fills us with power, with life, with holiness, something the enemy, the devil never can nor will nor wants us to.
Allow the Holy Spirit to breath into your life. Be filled with the God-breathed word of God, resist the devil and his hot breath and he will flee. Stand in the breath of the Holy Spirit and be free from the lies of the enemy. Be free knowing the devil’s breath can’t harm you. Be free in the new life you can have in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.