Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. ~Genesis 2:7
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. ~Ezekiel 37:9-10
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. ~John 20:19-22
Breath is necessary for life. If our breathing becomes difficult, our energy level and ability to do the things we want to do decreases. We no longer have the quality of life we had when our breaking was easy and uncomplicated. If our breathing stops completely, we die. Yes, breath is necessary for life.
When our breathing is altered, intentionally or not, it can have a powerful effect. Did you ever notice that when you are anxious to stressed, your breathing can become more rapid? If you breath rapidly for too long, you can become light-headed or dizzy. You might even faint. But, if you are able to control your breathing by taking slow, deep breaths, you can sometimes calm yourself down and bring an end to the anxiety or stress you were feeling.
I heard a sermon recently that made me stop and think about the importance of breath, especially the breath of God. I’d like to share a few of my thoughts.
In the beginning, God created man. He formed him from the dust of the ground and then breathed into his nostrils and brought him to life. In the book of Ezekiel, we discover that God brought old bones back to life by commanding the winds to breath life back into the bones of those who had died. God’s breath brought new life and restored life where it no longer existed. It still does.
After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He visited His disciples in the place they were hiding. They were afraid they might be killed also. They did not yet understand that Jesus had conquered death and had risen from the grave. When Jesus appeared to them, he offered words of reassurance and guidance. Then Jesus breathed on the the disciples and offered them the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ breath brought encouragement and hope, and delivered the Holy Spirit to the disciples. It can do the same for you.
Take a moment to think about your breathing. Are you breathing too rapidly because you are anxious? Are you breaths coming in huffs of anger? Is your health causing you to breath with difficulty? Are you just going about your days, never thinking about the source of your breath and life? Maybe it’s time for us to slow down and breathe in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
No matter what our circumstances are, if we allow God to breathe His life into us and to fill us with the Holy Spirit, we can then live the kind of life God created us to live. That’s what I would call great quality of life.