These are strange times: All over the world, people are literally afraid to breathe. Then on TV, I watch George Floyd say, “I can’t breathe,” and die. If you don’t breathe, you die.
“…Do not be anxious about your life,” says Jesus in Matthew 6:25. “Look at the birds,” he continues. “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies…”
That’s encouraging… until I actually consider the birds and the lilies: “Jesus, did you notice that birds don’t live all that long and that the deer eat the lilies?”
He then says, “…If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown in the oven, will he not much more clothe you… Therefore, do not be anxious.”
If I were a bird, lily, or blade of grass, I’d be so nervous about dying that I couldn’t do any living—I’d be holding my breath, for fear of death and that oven.
“Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?” asks Jesus.
Well, in the twentieth century, a majority of people began to say, “No… life is basically reconstituted chemicals, things we can measure in a controlled environment; life is a violent struggle to consume more food than one’s neighbor.”
In the twentieth century, psychology replaced theology.
Sigmund Freud considered the lilies and the human psyche, and he concluded that we are all motivated by a repressed fear of death, that is, anxiety… and that sounds about right to me.
I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life; it’s this feeling that I should be in control, and I’m not in control. And Jesus says, “Peter, don’t be anxious about your life.”
The Greek word “zoe” gets translated as life (and only life), something like 134 times in the English Standard Version. Jesus said, “I am… the Life, (the Zoe).”
“The Breath (Spirit) is zoe,” wrote Paul.
The Greek word “psyche” gets translated as “life” something like 41 times in the ESV, but also as “soul” (45 times), “person,” “heart,” “mind,” “thing,” and “being.”
In the beginning, God breathed “zoe” into some dust, and Adam (humanity) became a “living soul” that’s a living psyche.
A psyche can be lost or destroyed; it can die. But the zoe is “indestructible” (Heb. 7:16), yet it must be surrendered.
The things you call “your life”—your successes and failures, your judgments, your ego—“your life” is your psyche. God made it at first—I think we call it “a baby”—but around the age of two or three, you took over construction.
What kind of a psychologist would Jesus make? He said, “whoever would save his life, will lose it.”
There may be no “psychological” solution to your anxieties; everyone will die.
But perhaps “life” is more than what you can fit into your own individual psyche?
On the sixth day of Creation, God breathed his Zoe into the Adam.
And on the same day, a tree sprang up in the middle of the garden.
It was two trees that looked like one tree in one spot, or one tree that functioned as two.
On the tree were “the Zoe” (the Life) and the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (God is good, and taking his life is evil).
On the tree was Jesus.
Eve and the first Adam took the fruit to make themselves in the image of God.
The Pharisees took the fruit, for they were “jealous” of Jesus.
We all take “knowledge of good and evil” to justify ourselves.
Humanity takes the life of Christ, for we think we have to create ourselves.
In other words, we all take the Zoe to construct our own individual psyches.
But in doing so, we crucify the Zoe, and everything dies.
We crucify “the Good” and are trapped alone by evil..
Jesus is the King of the Kingdom on a tree; he is the treasure.
He is in you and all around you—how do you see him?
The way you see him in your soul is how you see him all around you.
Is he something you can possess? Is the King a part of your kingdom? Is he a part of your psyche? If so, you know evil… and, for you, everything has died.
Or, is he someone that possesses you; does your psyche belong to him?
Every time we sin, we make ourselves king of the kingdom, crucify the King, and trap ourselves in a false psyche—the illusion of our own sovereignty.
And that’s why you worry about “your life.” It’s an illusion.
We’ve been psyched out and can’t psych ourselves back in.
You can’t fix anxiety with anxiety about your anxiety; you need a revelation.
On the tree in the garden, we took the Life of the King, and the King gave his own Life.
He descended into hell and delivered up his Spirit—the Zoe.
He can now be found in every dark corner of every moment, in your psyche.
He wants you to seek him there, and watch him there, as he rises from the dead there.
He is the decision to love, and Love is giving and receiving the Life.
He said, “Whoever would save his psyche will lose it, but whoever would lose his psyche for my sake (the Zoe) will find it.” To save your psyche is to be stuck in a moment that you can’t get out of; it is to stop breathing the Life.
A psyche is like a set of lungs. In the Beginning, God breathed his zoe into each one of us, but each one of us held our breath, the zoe… and everything began to die.
Jesus came to help us lose our lives and find them, to expire so we can inspire.
You can’t inspire if you don’t expire; life is breathing.
The worst thing that can happen to you is not death; it’s the fear of death; it’s holding the Breath—that’s hell.
George Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.” But I really wasn’t worried for George Floyd.
As I came to discover, he had already surrendered his psyche to Jesus.
However, I could see it in Derek Chauvin’s face. He appeared to be trapped in an old psyche, maybe even “hell.” He couldn’t breathe; he couldn’t love; he couldn’t live.
I pray Jesus will reveal himself in Derek Chauvin’s psyche. And I’m convinced he will, because Derek Chauvin is now part of George Floyd’s psyche. And Jesus said, “Whoever would lose his (psyche), for my sake, will find it.” The psyche you lose is the psyche you find, but now filled with treasure—the Zoe, the Life of God.
You’re part of Jesus’s psyche, lost, perhaps for a moment, but forever found in him.
That’s theology, the psychology of God.