When I first visited Colorado, it was after living in the lowlands of Oklahoma for 14 years. On top of Pike’s Peak, I found myself gasping for air every few breaths. It was a simple problem that eventually passed. Yet, in the beginning each gasp for air brought on panic and anxiety. Breathing was something I had taken for granted. Something I never had to think about. Then one day, I decided to climb a mountain.
After God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, the bible says in Genesis 2:7, “the LORD God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Adam’s first breath was on loan from God. It says that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils. I think about the CPR and first aid training I’ve had. Sure glad the Red Cross doesn’t perform CPR according to scripture. Can you imagine waking up to someone’s mouth firmly clasped over your nose? It would sure make movie drowning rescues a tad less romantic.
Our weekly life group lesson dealt with another kind of “breath of life”. I felt a little like Neo in the Matrix, wandering down the rabbit hole as God began to draw parallels between His breath of life for Adam and our breath of life for people. God began to unpack multiple life lessons in my head, with more twists and turns than a Game of Thrones Finale. When the dust settled, my knees were bent, my heart ached and I knew I had to consider each word carefully from here on out.
What did God teach me about the heavy consequences of my breath? He says that the tongue holds the power of life and death. Our words can lift people up or break them down. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”. Matthew 15:11 says that the stuff that comes out of our mouths defiles us.
God knows our infinite need for reminders along our journey on earth. That is why he consistently lays a trail of bread crumbs back to Genesis throughout the bible. He wants us to remember that first Divine breath that brought life to Adam. He challenges us to in turn to breathe life into those around us.
1 Peter 1:16 “because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Once again God uses scripture to say, if you wanna be like me you gotta act like me. He says I have good intentions, you should, too. I gave life with My breath. Give life with yours. Jesus tells us that if we believe in Him, we will do the works He was doing, and we will do even greater works than He did. We may not have God’s super powers, but we can be super powerful if we have God.
James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing…this should not be.” I am convicted by this scripture, every time I unleash a verbal barrage of anger and disdain on tourists inside my car in traffic. I reminded of my selfish nature when someone says something that hits the “I’m Offended Lobe” in my brain and I go off.
As I contemplated this week’s lesson: think before you speak and distribute grace, not judgment with your mouth, I caught a glimpse of creation in my mind. God’s hands were still dusty from forming Adam from the ground. He was bent low over Adam, perhaps admiring His work. Then I imagine God taking in a deep breath, knowing full well the great good and bad of which Adam was capable. Knowing full well that Adam could choose to love Him or not, He never paused, He never stopped to reconsider.
He just breathed.
God chose to give life regardless of what Adam might choose or deserve. God challenged me in that moment to make the same choice. To love freely. To give life with every breath. God may have breathed life into Adam’s nostrils, but He is calling us to breathe life into the ears of the rest of creation.