The Breath of Life

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By: Bob Hamp

Only moments earlier, a lifeless object had lain on the ground.  In a moment, everything shifted, and now, standing boldly in the light, a man stared intently upward and gasped in new air.  What had been dead tissue was now bright pink lungs, rising and falling with every vigorous breath.  Muscle, sinew and bone formed the sturdy framework of the man whose eyes, now bright with life, stared at his Father.  In his first moments of consciousness, Adam was receiving from God the Breath of Life, and all that came with it. Focus, energy, adrenaline…all these had his body and soul shouting, “I AM ALIVE!”

This storyline repeats throughout the Bible.  Chaos and death fill the atmosphere.  Hope lies, without breath, a casualty of the moment.  The absence of life is like a weight in the air. Then everything shifts.  What had been death is replaced with the vigorous life that comes from the Breath of God, the very Breath of Life.   A widow’s son, a nation’s hope, a dead man named Lazarus, and, of course, the lifeless body of Jesus in a sealed tomb; countless moments soaked in death turn around in a second.  And every one of these moments has one thing in common:  The Breath of God.  The Breath of Life.

The dilemma for us all is that we once traded in this transformational power source, the Breath of Life, for a cheap and ineffectual substitute: our knowledge.  Specifically, we traded the power of our Present God for our knowledge of good and evil.   As we recognize evil, we apply our best knowledge of good in an attempt to fix the evil we see.  Adam and his wife sought every way possible to hide their evil.  From fig leaves to family conflict, they did all they could to cover their mistake.  But as always, their knowledge – our knowledge – is completely inadequate to restore the flow of Life. 

We are not so different.  When things begin to fall apart, when we come face to face with the condition of our lives, we scramble to find an answer, a solution.  We bring our knowledge of good to full force in our circumstances.  And just like the man and woman who began it all, no amount of our good knowledge can restore life to the death in our moments. 

The Breath of Life is a force like no other.  The life of God is far more than just the absence of death and the presence of a heartbeat.  Like the power plant from which we draw all of our electricity, the Breath of Life is the source and sustenance of all that is good and right.  Life from God is a tangible substance filled with aliveness, and therefore the power to overcome death and darkness.  Life existed before living beings, and it was this substance that God inserted into beings to make them alive.  It was this life that God inserted into Lazarus to make him alive, into lepers to make them well, and into Zaccheus to make him love again. It is this life that God wants to insert into our present circumstances.

Listen to the words of the Apostle John describing Jesus: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:4)

Jesus brought with Him the very thing we need the most.  Not a strategic plan or a set of steps to restoration, but Jesus brought the Breath of Life.  And everywhere Jesus went, every place He set His feet, He delivered what we needed most.  To the grave of His friend Lazarus in Bethany, He brought the Breath of Life.  To the bodies of the crippled and the souls of the oppressed, He breathed the Breath of Life.  To the woman at the well, He delivered rivers of Life.  Everywhere He saw the impact of death and darkness, He breathed the Breath of Life. 

Listen again to the words of Jesus: “The thief comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I come that you might have life, and life abundantly.” (John 10:10)

We must remember in our ground-level lives that the God we believe in is the same God who spoke the world into existence with a Word, and brings change to our circumstances just by showing up.  The force of His nearness changes everything.  While we ask Him to rearrange a few pieces of life, He desires deeply to breathe power into our moments.  His desire is not so much to change our moments, but to help us become the kind of people that in the face of death and darkness turn again to our Source and not to our ideas.  His desire is to help us become the kind of people who can stand defiantly in the midst of chaos and confusion while every fiber of our mind, will and hearts shouts at the darkness, “I AM ALIVE!”

Wherever you are today, stand up, breathe in deeply the Breath of the Living God, and look your circumstances in the eye.  Tell them that you serve the God who spoke everything into existence.  Tell them that they, too, serve this God, and then serve them notice.  In spite of the worst that hell has to throw at you, tell your circumstances, “I AM ALIVE!”

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Bob Hemp

Bob Hamp is the Executive Pastor of Pastoral Care at Gateway Church and helped develop their Freedom Ministry.  Bob and his wife, Jackee, live in Keller, Texas.  He is also the author of the book Think Differently Live Differently: Keys to a Life of Freedom Find the book and read more at www.bobhamp.com.

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