When I think about breath, two personal scenes come through my mind. One, when I went swimming with my friend and I got a huge muscle cramp in my legs. I couldn’t breathe because of the fear I would sink. The fear took over my body, and I couldn’t calm my breath to be able to slowly swim. My friend rescued me. And the second, when I was sick with COVID-19. One day I couldn’t breathe. I tried so hard to breathe, but my chest couldn’t receive the air. I believe God rescued me as many of our friends prayed. I finally calmed down and started to take little by little of the air into my body.
Let’s have a look at few specific pictures which have connection with breath.
- First, when “LORD God formed man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). If the breath leaves the body, then the soul is dead.
- Second, the yoga practice. The trainers use breath to control their reactions, emotions, behavior. They practice breathing. They breathe slowly and deeply to create powerful lungs and to connect their body and mind.
- The third picture that comes to my mind for breathing is when Jesus ‘breathed on them (the disciples) and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).
- The final is about prayer. Jesus did nothing without a prayer. Through prayer, He had connection with God and He received strength and wisdom to minister on earth. In a time of distress (Luke 22:39-44) hours before Jesus was arrested, He went a short distance away from His disciples to pray. He knew what He would face; therefore, His emotions needed to be calmed.
In Job 33:4 we read a wonderful statement of Job: “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life”. The Hebrew word used in Scripture for the breath of God is ruach. It means the wind, Spirit, life. It’s like an essence – God’s essence that sustains life. And the word for soul nephesh literally means ‘breath.’ And the Greek word for ‘Spirit’ is pneume, which is translated as breath, wind, spirit.
Taking all the above together, we learn that proper breathing can be very powerful to our body. You cannot see the breath and so the wind, but you feel its power.
But how does it impact our spiritual life?
The problem with today’s lifestyle is stress and fast living. Therefore we take short, quick breaths but with very little oxygen. The majority of us are constantly on the run and in a rush. We pay no attention to how we breathe, but most of us will admit we neglect our breath. We talk a lot, taking breath shortcuts. We give instructions like a machine and are not interested what others think. This way we quickly ruin the balance in our life. We rush between work, church service, family responsibilities, health principles, relationships. We take very little time to enjoy life, friends, family and to savor all around us. The word slow is gone from our routine.
But breathing is a process, and it is a slow, complex process. When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady. When the breath is still, all is still. It’s very important to keep the right rhythm. If you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit is in you – the Spirit of His breath, the Christ.
“I’ve been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”Galatians 2:20a
“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not the letter but the Spirit, for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”2 Corinthians 3:6
“But it is a Spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.”Job 32:8
The Comforter, Holy Spirit, is within us. He dwells in our soul. He gives us understanding and guides us. He equips us with all the gifts to manage our life in good balance and to influence others. Whatever the lot of our life, we shall sing “It Is Well with My Soul.”
What are you afraid of? What’s chasing you so you can’t breathe because you feel cornered? What is your attitude toward God your Creator who breathed life into your body and soul? Would you like to have a relationship with God Almighty who is able to calm the storm of your life so your breath can be steady and fearless?
Take a deep breath. Breathe the Spirit to be a powerful child of God. Breathe in. Let your soul be still. Listen to Almighty God. Study the Word of God to keep the right rhythm. Practice prayer before making an important decision, to recharge after hard work, and to lead a life in balance.
And then breathe out with the Holy Spirit power. When you open your mouth, the Word of Life and encouragement will come out. This way we can bring wonders to people’s souls. There is so much hurt, stress, and fear and people are very anxious. Take a moment to clear your head, go through the Living Word of God, and just breathe the Bible verses. There you will find peace.
For Discussion and Introspection
- How is your current pace of living impacting your breath of life?
- How can relying on the Breath of Life strengthen you for the challenges you are facing now?