"Then the Lord God formed then 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."
Of all the things we need to survive, oxygen is the most important. Generally, you can survive without food for about three weeks. You can survive without water for about three days. But without oxygen, without breath, you can only survive 30 to 90 seconds.
There are exceptions. The world record for voluntarily holding one's breath is near 25 minutes, which is miraculous, but still a blip in terms of average life span.
For its importance, breath is mentioned a lot in the scriptures. If you think about it, the entirety of creation is God breathed. God breathed and spoke the world, the universe into existence. Genesis then gets very explicit in the second chapter describing how God literally breathed man into creation. We exist because God breathed life into us.
We recognize this importance in the birth of children. Once they are delivered, the room seems to hold its breath until that child breathes its first one and cries. The room then breathes a sigh of relief. All is well.
This importance of breath for life is reiterated in the Psalms, in Isaiah, in Ezekiel. It's spelled out four times in Job. This gives us one clear message.
God's breath is our life. It is His grace to us.
And if we study breathing, that should tell us how important we are to God and how close he is to us.
On average, people usually take 10 to 15 breaths per minute when resting. That's 14,400 to 21,600 breaths a day. 5.26 to 7.88 million breaths in a year. 420.48 to 630.72 million breaths in an average lifetime.
If God's breath is our life, are we seeking him as often as we seek oxygen? Are we seeking him 14,400 to 21,600 times a day? Is our every breath for him? That would be praying without ceasing.
And that's just when we are at rest. When we exert ourselves, when we are working harder, striving for something, under stress, under exertion, our breath rate increases. We need more oxygen. Similarly, when we are under stress, when we are under exertion, when we can't catch our breath, we need God more.
This part comes easier to us. We often seek him when we are running out of air. But are we seeking him enough to sustain us on the days of rest?
"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.'"
In the New Testament, we also see the breath of God used as a mechanism for the distribution of the Holy Spirit. More specifically, an impartation of the divine essence of God into each of us through breath.
We have God living in us because of His breath.
And that raises another question.
The prior section focused on how we needed to be inhaling breath for our life. Are we taking in enough of God? With the Spirit in us, the focus then shifts to our exhaling. Are we breathing out enough of God around us? Are we spreading the Spirit?
Both to those who have been placed in our lives and to God himself. Are we breathing out enough praise?
Louie Giglio is a very powerful preacher and his statement above is so profound. Worship is when we give God back what He has given us. We exert our breath to give the breath he has given us back.
Here's why that's interesting to me. The average human can forcefully exhale over two times as much breath out than their normal inhalation. Normal inhalation and exhalation routines are roughly the same. But we have the capacity to have a much greater exhalation than what we take in.
Put simply, our cups are designed to run over.
We're meant to spill out once we have taken in. We should be breathing out life to those around us because we are taking in life. If we are receiving the breath of God as we should, then by pouring out praise to Him, we can be breathing out His life to those around us.
The cycle continues then.
Breathing out praise
Breathing in grace,
Breathing out praise.
And so on, and so on, and so on...
It's what we were built to do. It's how our bodies are structured to live.
Perhaps we should pay more attention to our breathing.
You are the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me