It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
To you only
Great Are You Lord, All Sons & Daughters
The average human can go about 40 days without food, seven days without water, but only two minutes without taking a breath. Breathing is the essential habit in our lives. We breathe about 960 times per hour, but we don’t even think about it most of the time. In fact, many of us settle for shallow breathing instead of experiencing the many benefits of deep breathing. What’s the difference? Take a slow deep breath right now inhaling and exhaling as much air as you can. It’s quite different to the typical shallow breath we take, isn’t it? Deep breathing helps relieve stress, increase focus, and experience calm.
Deep spiritual breathing is also an essential habit. Spiritual breathing is a compelling word picture which can help you experience moment-by-moment dependence upon the Spirit. Many of us suffer high levels of frustration, stress, and the emotional roller coaster that comes from relying on ourselves instead of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But it doesn’t have to be. We were made for more but fall short when we try to do it in our strength.
“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? “
Self-reliance instead of dependence on the Spirit of God is what leads to a frustrated, and inconsistent spiritual walk. Deep spiritual breathing, however, leads to joy and victory because it depends on the power of God in us—not just our own determination or will.
How to Take Deep Spiritual Breaths:
- EXHALE. When our bodies exhale, they push out the toxins that would otherwise poison us. Confessing our sins is spiritual exhaling, and it has the same effect. Sin is the attitude, actions, thoughts, words, and intentions we commit that disobey God’s command. Often, we are tempted to avoid God or other people when we have sinned, but that approach prevents us from exhaling and genuinely experiencing God’s favor. Failure to confess our sins robs us of the opportunity to let them go and walk in God’s forgiveness and love.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:9-10
To confess means to “agree” with God that what we did (or didn’t do) was a sin and that Christ forgave all those who believe in him. Finally, confessing involves repenting or turning away from the thing that we are confessing. The beauty is there is no need to wait to exhale. As soon as we are aware of sin in our life, we are invited to immediate acknowledgement. The sooner we exhale the better.
- INHALE. We inhale by inviting God’s Spirit to fill us and empower us to once again live according to his will by faith. When we spiritually inhale, we take a moment to be filled with the power and presence of God.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.
In this passage, we’re given a vivid description of being filled with the Spirit. The warning is “not to get drunk with wine.” When someone gets filled with an alcoholic beverage, it changes their attitudes, actions, and words. The person becomes controlled by the substance with which they have filled themselves. The instruction in this passage is then to “be filled with the Spirit” which also changes our attitudes, actions, and words. But in this case, the change is one that allows us to live as God has intended for us: to be “wise, making the best use of the time.”
How do I know that God’s Spirit filled me?
When practicing spiritual breathing, we must remember our emotions don’t determine being filled or not. You may not immediately feel different after you begin taking spiritual breaths, but our faith isn’t based on our feelings: “The righteous shall live by faith.”
To ride in an Uber, we must place our faith in the trustworthiness of the car and the driver who drives it (who we often don’t know). Our feelings of confidence or fear do not affect the ability of the vehicle to transport us, though they do affect how much we enjoy the trip. The same is true spiritually.
As Christians, we do not depend on our feelings or emotions to determine what is true, but we place our trust in the trustworthiness of God and the promises of His Word.
Do you desire to invite the Holy Spirit to fill you? Sincere prayer is one way of expressing our faith. The following is a suggested prayer:
Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to take His place on the throne of my life again. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this is the name of Jesus. I now thank you for filling me with the Holy Spirit and directing my life.
Suggested Songs: Breathe, Lisa McLendon