Inhaling the Breath of God
One night I lay in bed, trying to sleep. My husband, who sometimes suffers from sleep apnea, was snoring. Suddenly, I heard him take a sharp, startling, odd-sounding breath–and then, nothing. While long seconds ticked by, I heard no breathing at all.
I waited... waited... then cried his name sharply, asking, “Are you all right?”
He woke with a start. But he knew my speaking up wasn’t thoughtless or mean. I cried out because he wasn’t breathing–and breathing is vital to life.
“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
What’s true physically is also true spiritually.
• Breath is vital to life.
• Breath comes from God.
• Breathing requires inhaling and exhaling.
Inhaling the breath of God
Spiritual inhaling is receiving, Spirit-to-spirit, what the living, indwelling God breathes into you–his word, his grace, his riches, his character, his power, his joy, his mind, his heart–in short, his life.
You inhale physically as you’re filled with breath. You inhale spiritually as you’re filled with the Spirit. You cannot breathe in any aspect of God’s life, including his word, when you’re quenching, grieving or stiff-arming God the Spirit.
“Keep on being filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18, CJB).
Always, inhaling produces life. More and more, you reflect Christ’s character and his ways.
Exhaling the breath of God
Spiritual exhaling is releasing what the living, indwelling God breathes into you, for the building of his kingdom and the honor of his name.
You exhale physically as you release breath. You exhale spiritually as you release the life you’re continually receiving in your inmost being. Whether by word, act or presence, you breathe out what comes from God himself.
“Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit” (Gal. 5:16 MSG).
“Since it is through the Spirit that we have Life, let it also be through the Spirit that we order our lives day by day” (Gal. 5:25 CJB).
Always, this exhaling imparts life. You breathe out to others what God has breathed into you. More and more, you shine.
People identified with the living God may feel dry and lifeless–and think there’s no help for it. Or they may believe they’re perking along spiritually as well as anybody–when in fact they’re critically short of breath.
The prophet Ezekiel and the apostle John had this in common: They saw things people around them could not. Deeply committed to God, first Ezekiel, then John saw dramatic visions of God. Having seen the Lord, each man then began to see God’s people from his perspective. Further, each saw a desperate situation in which people who belonged to God lacked life and breath.
How sobering! How stunning! Both Ezekiel and John saw people God identified as his own–yet who lacked breath, hope, life. In each case, the breathlessness was rampant; the situation, dire.
Ezekiel walked with God the Spirit through a valley “full of bones,” “a great many bones,” “bones that were very dry.” God himself identified the bones as “the people of Israel” (Ezek. 37:1-2, 11).
John saw the risen Lord Jesus and wrote what Jesus spoke to each of seven churches. In Revelation 3:1-6, he addressed the Christ-followers in Sardis with these strong words: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (v. 1).
Our Lord does not sit idly by when his people have breathing problems. If he calls us “dry bones” or cries, “You are dead,” he’s not being mean or thoughtless. He who created us and who gave himself for us knows how crucial it is to act quickly when breathing stops. Today, as in Ezekiel’s day and in John’s, the Lord rises up to speak out.
To awaken and revive, he shows us what we have not seen or, seeing, have felt powerless to change.