Does life, this world, all the mess, all the pain sometimes just not make sense? Are you ever tempted to just give up on love, feeling like it only leads to pain? Do you have longings this world just can’t seem to fill? If so, keep reading. There’s hope, and there’s a good reason for the pain and the longings!
Life is confusing and traumatic at the start, and it’s definitely the same at the end. My father died several years ago. He died of a disease that slowly took his breath.
In the end, my dad had no breath, and he expired. In the beginning of my children’s lives they inspired, and I got to watch. It’s hard to watch someone expire, but it’s a thrill to watch someone inspire!
“In the beginning…” God expired…to inspire man-Adam. That is, God breathed His breath into dust, and man became a living soul.
Well, in the beginning, God breathed into Adam, like a kiss (mouth to mouth resuscitation without fear is a kiss). But Adam and Eve didn’t trust God, they tried to take knowledge of life from a tree as their own possession, which they refused to surrender. . . as if they inhaled and would not exhale. They held their breath, the breath–the Spirit, and death reigned.
Try breathing now:
Take a deep breath.
Breathe out…breathe in…That’s life!
Breathe out…breathe in…Now…hold it………Keep holding it.
…Keep holding it…….
That’s the way we live our lives. Isn’t it?
Afraid to expire. Afraid to die. And yet Scripture says we’re already dead (Col. 2:13). Fear of “losing your life” is death.
And how weird is that? We’re each surrounded by Life, by Wind, by Spirit…But if you hold it…you’re dead. In fear, I think: “I better not lose my life; I better save my life.” So I go around sucking it all in. Sucking it in and holding it.
I read that some scholars think the name of God Yahweh originally described the sound of breathing.
(Try inhaling saying, “Yah” and exhaling saying, “Weh.”)
“In this is love,” says Scripture: “Not that we loved God, but God loved us and gave Jesus as a sacrifice for sin.” God is love, and Love poured out in Jesus, and Jesus is “the Life” who gives us His Spirit.
Love is offering your spirit. We say, “God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Holy Breath). The Spirit emanates from Father and Son. Father and Son breathe the same breath–like a kiss. Love is offering your spirit (like a sacrifice).
You must breathe to be saved.
You must expire to inspire Yahweh.
Maybe sin is like holding your breath. It’s holding your spirit, holding your life, refusing to surrender, refusing to love, refusing to breathe God, for “God is love.” And Scripture says “God is Spirit”–God is Breath. “In Him we live and move and have our being,” writes Paul.
“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last (ekpneo-expired). And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last (ekpneo-expired), he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’”
Crucifixion literally takes a man’s breath on a tree. The crucified can inhale, but not exhale. Yet Jesus must’ve pushed Himself up on the nails to exhale his last breath. We took it…yet He gave it–He forgave it.
Luke 23:46 “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (pneuma).’ And having said this he breathed his last (ekpneo).”
Using my computer, I searched the Old Testament and couldn’t find any place where a man was said to: “Give up his spirit.” So, get the picture: God breathed into man, and man held his breath–his spirit.
God breathed into Adam and Adam held his breath…
Until the last Adam surrendered His breath–Until Jesus expired.
Jesus was first to expire…And first to inspire…Scripture calls Him: “The firstborn of all creation.” “The firstborn from the dead.” “The firstborn.”
In Romans 8, Paul writes: “All creation is groaning in birth pains…waiting for the revealing of the sons of glory,” all so that: ‘Christ might be firstborn among many brethren.’”
So then, creation is like a womb, and Jesus is the firstborn out of it. So watching the death of Jesus or one of his brethren is watching a birth from inside the womb. It’s hard to watch a death. It’s a thrill to watch a birth!
Martin Luther used to say, “Imagine if a baby could reason inside the womb, surely it would wonder: ‘What are these hands for, these feet for? What is this mouth for?’”
The umbilical cord, now that would make sense to the baby; that would be like everything. But the things that seem like nothing, that don’t make sense in the womb might testify to another world.
If you were that baby, the best evidence for another world might be yourself, and things within yourself…like your lungs. What’s the purpose of lungs in a womb? The baby receives all of his or her oxygen through the body of the mother, and then the umbilical cord. Of course, the baby isn’t really breathing because it’s not breathing breath/air; the baby is only preparing to breathe.
Maybe our lives here on earth are like that.
Maybe we don’t really love…but we are preparing to love.
To really love…would be to love Love…like you breathe breath.
Well, imagine if you had a skeptical twin in your mother’s womb. He might say, “Stop that breathing! There’s no point in breathing! Stop that loving…there’s no point in loving. It’s painful and entirely impractical. The stock market, food, and clothing…that’s all that matters: placenta, umbilical cord…that’s all that matters. But lungs don’t matter…
Love is futile and painful.
Love hiking and your legs give out.
Love a horse and it dies.
Love your family and they’ll break your heart.
Love a church and you’ll get crucified.
Love Jesus and He’ll leave.
He said to His disciples, ‘I’m going away.’
Love God? There is no God. There is no love. Loving is an illusion.
Stop loving; stop breathing; just hold your breath.
Don’t endure such desperate, painful longings–faith, hope, love.”
See? Maybe we ask: “Why the painful, unfulfilled longings?” Just like a baby would ask, “Why these lungs? Why these empty spaces in my chest? There’s nothing to fill them with but fluid.”
Did you know that birth is profoundly traumatic for the baby? Traumatic! But the trauma, the birth pains, the contractions have a purpose: They expire the baby. They literally squeeze the amniotic fluid out of the baby’s lungs. The pressure is so intense that the baby can no longer breathe fluid.
The baby is being expired; for in a moment, in the “twinkling of an eye,” the baby will be inspired: The baby will take a tremendous breath, scream, see with his eyes, run with his feet, eat pizza with his mouth, touch his mom and dad; the baby is home.
The end is the beginning…
The death is a birth.
And all that remains of that umbilical cord, all that remains of that which seemed most important…is a wound, a scar that we call a belly button.
So how do we get the courage?
How do we get the faith to not hold our breath but to surrender our spirit?
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” –the Holy Pneuma–My breath.
They’re locked down in fear, holding their breath, afraid to exhale. And Jesus appears in that room; He appears in that womb–to His former womb mates. And He shows them His scars–that place on His body where He had been cut away from this world…He showed them His “eternal belly button” and said, “Have peace.” As if to say, “When the birth pains start, remember me…”
But He didn’t just show them, He breathed on them. He inspired them. To some degree, they had already been expired at His cross. The cross knocked the air right out of them, knocked the arrogance and ego (the illusion that they could create themselves and save their own lives) right out of them.
Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you…in my Father’s house…” We are the Father’s house–His temple. So maybe “the place prepared ” is the place prepared by His presence, then absence, which makes us long for more presence–the eternal presence.
Well, at the cross, Jesus expired them…(they died with Him.) Jesus expired them…and now He inspired them.
1 Corinthians 15:45 “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being (a living soul); the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” –A life-giving pneuma–The Holy Breath.
When we exercise faith, we die with Him and rise with Him. We literally become His body in communion with Him. (Our wounds are His wounds and His wounds are our wounds.) (Our scars are His scars.)
You know He didn’t come to simply die for us…He came to die with us; He came to help us expire, for you can’t inspire until you expire. You can’t rise with Him if you haven’t died with Him.
On the night Jesus was delivered up, He took bread and broke it saying, “This is my body given to you; take and eat.” And He took the cup saying, “This is the covenant in my blood, poured out for the forgiveness of sins; take and drink.”
Don’t be afraid to drink the cup that the Lord has for you.
Expire your sin and inspire God’s Mercy.
Expire your control and inspire the freedom of God.
Expire your judgment and inspire God’s Judgment.
Expire your flesh and inspire the Spirit.
Expire your ego and inspire Love.
Expire and inspire; die with Him and rise with Him.
You were made for ecstasy in the Kingdom of God. That’s why you have that painful longing.
In Jesus’ name, believe the gospel and breathe!
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen. It is primarily a compilation of excerpts from Peter Hiett’s sermon titled Breathe. It is just part of a great sermon. You can read, watch, or listen to the full version here: Breathe