Having spent nearly 25 years of my career as a Speech-Language Pathologist/Therapist working with people who have lost their voices, I have come to an understanding of how important breath is. To say nothing about the body’s need for adequate breath to nourish our cells, to stimulate our thinking, to keep our bodies running, breath is also what powers the vocal folds and sets them into vibration. Without adequate breath, there is no hope of a strong, reliable, enduring voice.
I would also learn over the years that most of us don’t breathe optimally. First of all, we don’t breathe right–we’re born to breathe by displacing our bellies, but usually somewhere in life we switch to being chest, or even shoulder, breathers. In addition to this, we also don’t tend to breathe deeply. As a result of these two problems, our bodies are forced to function with significantly less air than they were created to function with. Imagine how much better our bodies would function with maximal air!
As I was spending some quiet time with God this morning, it occurred to me that most Christians have also become shallow, inefficient spiritual breathers.
Consider this: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7).
It is literally God’s breath of life that makes the difference between a dusty, lifeless shape on the ground and a living being. It is God’s breath in our lungs, and it is that breath that brings life.
Just like most of us don’t utilize our physical breath to its maximum potential, most Christians also do not utilize our spiritual breath optimally. We believe in Jesus for Salvation, but we still fear hell. We say that Jesus delivers, yet we continue to walk in our addictions. We proclaim that God heals, yet that healing continually evades us. We preach that Jesus is the source of comfort and joy, yet we battle depression. Our spiritual breaths are indeed, very shallow.
Is this why our churches sometimes seem so dead? Because we aren’t nourishing our spiritual organs and cells with adequate amounts of God’s breath?
Remember the vision of the dry bones? “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.” (Ez 37:1-2)
Have our hearts and our churches become like that valley full of very dry bones?
Consider what God told Ezekiel about the valley of dry bones: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!”‘” (Ez. 37:11)
In other words, the dry bones in this vision represent loss of hope, the feeling of being cut off from God. Isn’t that how so many Christians feel?
Notice what happens when God breathes upon these dry bones: “‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man…’ So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (Ez. 37:9,10)
Imagine if God’s breath entered all of our very dry bones. We would raise up a mighty army as well, one that will go out and build the church into a force that cannot be brought down. But we can’t do this as long as we lay in the valley of dry bones.
So how do we breathe in God’s breath of life?
First of all, by realizing that we already have God’s breath in our lungs. Our job is to breathe it in much more deeply. We need for God to become our first priority. We need to put aside anything that might possibly stand between us. We need to spend time in the presence of God, allowing Him to feed and nourish us. We need to grow our faith in God, in the saving power of Jesus, in His Deliverance, in His healing, in His peace and wisdom and in every other good thing that comes from Jesus. We need to breathe in that breath of life and allow it to nourish and feed our dry bones, for when we do, our dry bones will also come to life, and we, too, will become a mighty army for the Lord. We will build up the “bride” of Christ, we will become immovable and unshakable.
Feeling a bit short on Spiritual breath? Feeling a bit dry spiritually-speaking? Breathe! Breathe in the breath of life that is already in your lungs, for it is truly God’s breath in our lungs!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.