Walking into church, a bit tattered from the week that led to this day, I take my seat (5 rows back, first seat in) Placing my bible next to me, the first thing that captures my attention is the quiet melody coming over the sound system, it is familiar and soothing, “As the deer panteth…” It was then, I felt the Lord impress on me, “Just breathe!” As the worship began, we all stood, I closed my eyes and did just that: Took a deep breath. Overwhelmed with His presence, I was reminded of … the breath of God.
How often do we find ourselves in survival mode? Barely making it, you feel your existence evaporating with each step forward. As the day goes on you find yourself unsuccessfully reaching and grabbing for anything solid. Thinking if I can just make it through this day… through this season… to the next paycheck… see that person… BE that person … get this done, that done … clean this … lose this, gain that. BREATHE! Just breathe.
In pondering this, (it may sound totally silly) I began looking our breath and the ramifications of the lack of oxygen that takes place physically, how it affects us and how long it takes for a body to die. Not to be morbid or anything, but I feel it has quite a few similarities to our spiritual man.
In all the medical hymhaw, I found this quote: “A lack of oxygen to the heart muscle can cause heart attacks, and even if the individual survives the anoxic event (complete depletion of oxygen), there may be damage to the heart that proves deadly.” This doesn’t even speak of the damage to the brain. There are also ‘quiet’ symptoms that are attributed to a lack of oxygen as well: Depression, irritability and irrational behavior. Sound like your week? Just breathe!
Like that of our physical body, so it is with our spiritual man. We NEED to breathe. Without a constant intake of God, the ramifications can to prove damaging if not deadly. I believe we all have people in our lives that once were thriving active God-loving folks, but somehow, somewhere along their spiritual timeline, they stopped. They stopped reading God’s word, fellowshipping with other believers, stopped believing God and stopped breathing God. Now where are they?
Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” Our bodies were made of the dust – earth – biological. The soul was not made of the earth. So… earthly things cannot quench the hunger of the soul, (regardless of how much kale we eat!) nor can the soul continue to survive. It is only the breath of God that feeds and nurtures the spiritual man! Read that again. “It is ONLY the breath of God that feeds and nurtures the spiritual man!” It is divinely birthed and divinely maintained.
How often do we seek things, people, position even ‘events’ to satisfy our deep longing, and cravings. Without God’s breath and presence in our life, we are an empty dusty vessel. God initiated this for mankind, now we by invitation in turn seek that breath. Just breathe!
Paul spoke to this in 2 Timothy, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (3:15-17 – The Message) And the one who penned Hebrews wrote, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. (sound like breath?) It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.” (4:12, emphasis mine)
If we are to survive, let alone THRIVE spiritually we need God’s presence and His word to do so. Have we found we can’t seem to catch our spiritual breath? Are we low in emotion, irritable and even find our self being irrational or treating others unkindly? Are we apathetic about spiritual things? Or how about walking to the ‘frig of life’ looking for something to satisfy us. When was the last time we quietly spent time with our God? Prayed, invited His presence, and opened His word, pursued Him, His qualities? Just breathe.
In the garden just before Jesus’ betrayal, with the disciples, He instructs them to sit and wait. Taking Peter, James and John He goes further, leaving them also behind. He goes on alone further still. He falls to the ground face down and prays, “FATHER...” May we too go further still…fall before our God in complete honesty and surrender. (Matt. 26:36-46)
May I offer, click on this link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJfzzFeA5OQ) Close your eyes, take a deep breath… allow this to sing over you, BE your prayer.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
When was the last time you stood in front of the frig just … starring? If you are like me, hoping that something satisfying would be there. As if in denial I continue to return, again and again, confident THIS time something new will appear to appease my craving.
David of the bible experienced this to some degree, yet his craving was survival! Psalm 63:1 he was literally in a desert place, the desert of Judah, yet also of the spirit, and soul “O God, you are my God, I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You, my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”
‘My soul thirsts for You’ The word ‘soul’ in the Hebrew is (nepesh) which means mind, heart, will, spirit. It comes from the root word (naphash) to breathe. Often, spirit and soul are interchangeable, yet there is a difference. Our spirit is where the Holy Spirit resides, where we operate in the spirit realm. Our soul, is our mind, will and emotions, one might say our ‘conscientiousness’. Gathering the two, may I suggest, David is seeking the breath of God to satisfy his longing – his very existence. Now track with me for a moment. Genesis 2:7 ‘and the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul’ (nepesh). Adam’s body was made of the dust – earth – biological. His soul was not of the earth, NOT biological. We being the descendents of Adam, we share the same DNA and beginning. So… earthly things can not quench the hunger of the soul. It is ONLY the breath of God that feeds and nurtures the spiritual man! It is divinely birthed and divinely maintained. I don’t mean to sound all Sci-Fi like, but it really is of the supernatural. This is BIG. Think about it, not to be gross or anything, it is the pure exhale of God. What a God design. Like that of a new-born calf, once he is on his feet, he has the God designed hunger for his mother’s milk. So we too hunger for our God. We see this in every culture across the globe, there is some form of expression of ‘deity’ God placed that desire within us for … HIM!
How often do we seek things, people, position even ‘events’ to satisfy our deep longing, and cravings. We go to great extent with our time, money and energy to do so. Without God’s breath and presence in our lives, we are like an empty vessel, just laying in the dust. I’ve been there, like a rag doll, wanting, waiting for someone to pick me up and breathe life into me again. We need to seek that life.
If we are to survive, let alone THRIVE spiritually we NEED God’s presence and His word to do so. Paul spoke to this in 2 Timothy, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (3:15-17 – The Message) I love that, ‘Through the Word we are put together.’ And the one who penned Hebrews wrote, “For the word of God is alive and powerful.” (4:12a) Jesus told His disciples, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Jn 6:63 How much more should we PORE over the scriptures and get us some spirit and life! Got a soulish hunger? His word is the only thing on the menu.
In closing, the Psalmist cries out, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…” – Ps. 42:1-2 In the Hebrew, the translation is, “The cry of the soul of me is my God.” So poetic, so clear, so true. For me, I can’t get enough!
Remember the song we sang in church a few years ago:
This is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I’m desperate for You
And I, I’m lost without You
If we lack spiritual hunger, may we ask God to birth that hunger in us. Ask Him to breathe on and in us afresh. May we too take pause and see if we are masking the hunger, attempting to fill it with other things. When we stand in front of the frig of life once again seeking to appease the craving, reach for Him, His breath, His word. I love Moses’ closing admonishment to the children of Israel, “They are not just idle words for you–they are your life.” Deut. 32:47
Before I close, may I throw in one more challenge? Once we are fully aware of the satifying breath of God in us, (as we take a DEEP breath) WHAT do we do with that breath? As we invite and allow His presence to go to the very corners of us, again what are we doing with His breath turned ours? Are we praising Him? Does our breathed out words speak kindness, love, encouragement? Do we share our breath in such a way that others desire it as well. There is no need to fill this spot on the page with the opposite, we are aware. Speak to us Holy Spirit.
This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me, this is my daily bread, Your very word spoken to me, I am desperate for you!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
When was the last time you stood in front of the frig just … starring? If you are like me, hoping that something TASTY and satisfying would be there. As if in denial I continue to return, confident THIS time something new will appear to appease my craving. Only to be reminded by reality shaking its silly head, that nothing will indeed be added to the selection by anyone besides …. me. Sigh. Come on frig fairies bring on the stuff!