During the past few weeks I have been praying that God would show me what being righteous means. The armor of God includes the breastplate of righteousness, but what does this look like? I know that there is a lot of change that needs to happen in my life so that I can wear God's armor every day. I've been praying that God would show me what this means, and that he would help me understand how to hear his voice more clearly so that I can follow his will in my life. The other night, as I was falling asleep, I had a surprising idea form in my mind. I say surprising because one minute I was thinking about family, friends, and teaching and the next moment I was deep in thought about the breath of life. I can only assume that this was God speaking to me, because there was no other connection to my mind's thought process. This being said, I will share my thoughts.
I am alive at this moment because of many components: my heart is pumping my life blood through my veins, my brain is sending millions of electric impulses through my body, my immune system is alive and kickin', my digestive tract keeps me nourished, and my lungs continue to supply my body with oxygen. The element that struck me the other night was breathing. I live because I breathe. We are all created with God's breath. The only reason that we live is because God allows us to breathe. When we were born, he gave us our first breath of air, and our lives here on earth will end when he gives us our last. Every breath we breathe is a gift from God- every breath.
There is something special about the story of Adam's creation: "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Gen 1:7). It wasn't just air, but it was the breath of life! Life-giving air, straight from God himself! Adam would not live were it not for God's gift of his own living breath. We have this same life within us! We came into his world and breathed our first breath by God's grace- he bestowed life upon us through his breath of life. Every breath we've breathed since our first has been a gift of God.
This puts a new perspective on the words I use. Every word I speak is using the gift that God gave me. I want to be able to use that breath as a blessing always- never a curse. After all, it is God's very life-giving breath that I am using! He gave me his very life, so that I could live… how can I turn around and use it to degrade anyone? It is no easy task: this will be a life-long struggle, and will take a long time to submit to God's will and character. But every breath that I use is from God- how can I use that breath for my own pride, or to sin with, or harm others?
I believe that God's gift of life has been renewed and increased through Christ's sacrifice. Looking at John we can see God's grace through his gift of Christ:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light that shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it….. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-5, 14).
Words are spoken, and sometimes written. They are only understood through spoken language, though. God is his Word- he is truth, grace, peace, life, righteous, just, and much, much more. He is the word, and he came into the world! And the Word came with power!!! The breath of God has given us organic life, but more importantly it has given us spiritual life. It gave us Christ, and with that the offer of redemption and reconciliation to the Father- to truth, grace, peace, and REAL life!
Another attribute of God's gift of life was given to us after Christ's resurrection. Soon after he rose from the dead, Jesus appeared to his disciples: "Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you! As the father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:21-22). Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on them. There is power in the breath of God! The very breath we breathe! Take a deep breath. It's a gift from God. The words we speak have power in them. When we use our words to encourage others there is power behind it! Likewise, when we use our words to defile someone there is power behind it.
I've been thinking differently about the words I use (whether in someone's presence or their absence). My thoughts are in need of constant evaluation and submission to Christ, because they are the root of my words. I have been given a gift, and I need to continually pray to have God's will so that I may follow it and breathe his power of truth: not defile it. I can only guess as to why this came to mind that night- I've been praying that God would help me to know how to be righteous. Righteousness does not come from my own actions, but from obedience to him and walking in his will. This revelation was God's grace in helping me know him more, and has helped me be able to grow in our relationship. Righteousness does not come from myself- I could never be righteous in God's eyes. It is by his grace that he makes us righteous. I have a lot of work that needs Christ's healing and re-forming in my life! I can only pray that God helps me to submit my thoughts and my words every day to his will, and that he will help me be more obedient and faithful to him.
I need to pray that God will help me use every breath to glorify him. God, help me feel and know your will and spirit in every word I say, and every breath I take. Let every moment of my life be a part of your will; every breath I breathe be a part of your will. Help me learn to submit every breath and thought to your will. Thank you for this gift of life, and for sharing your very breath with me. Please help me become a channel for you, and help me learn to use your gift to love others and not for my own gain. –Sydney Lin