15 November 2011

How Do You Know If You're Dead?

You're dead if you're not breathing. You can have all the internal organs and outer human elements, but if you're not breathing air, you're not alive anymore. One of the first things a first-responder (ambulance dude) checks for is if you're breathing. The next thing they check for is a pulse. Without air, you're nothing and there is no life in you. You can have all the blood you need and healthy organs to run your miracle of a body. Yet, nothing in your body works without fuel. The fuel that keeps you alive is air. You can live for weeks without food. You can live for days without water, but you can't live 2 minutes without air.

As you go through your day-to-day activities, usually the last thing on your mind is not whether you're breathing. This is a natural function for human beings. It takes next to no brain power to cause you to breathe. Even the biggest dummy in the world won't have to think about breathing. Your body just knows what to do with the air. And, when it's not getting enough, it makes sure you know that as well.

Just after God created the Heavens and the Earth, and everything in them, he then began to form a single human man named Adam (Gen 2:7). After this man was formed (from the dust of the earth) he lifted his nostrils and blew life into him and he became a living being. Ok, let's stop here. Adam was nothing more than a mess of organs, blood, bones and skin before God performed the next miracle of life. We always assume he breathed air into Adam's lungs, but this is not what it says. Air was already created and was all over the earth. So, why did God bother going through the act of breathing life into Adam's body? He wanted us to "see" God breathing life into Adam with his living breath. God created everything with the wisdom and sound of his voice. He certainly didn't need to reach down and blow life into Adam. So, why did God bother doing it this way?

What God did was actually breathe his breath into Adam. I know I sound repetitive, but let me explain. What is God's breath? It's called the Holy Spirit, or Pneuma in Greek (Job 34:14-15;John 20:19-23). The Holy Spirit is translated to mean the "breath of God". The Holy Spirit is not air. You see, Adam was not truly alive unless the Spirit of God was in him. When God breathed into Adam his Spirit, this is when Adam came alive and was considered a living being in God's eyes. I'm not saying that Adam was already walking around breathing and stuff before God breathed life into him, but you catch my drift.

When you begin to trust in Jesus, then God literally breathes his Holy Spirit into your life. The God of the Universe enters your body and now makes his home in you (1 Cor 3:16). He did this with Adam too. Let that sink in...

James said that without breath, we are dead (Jam 2:26). If you're not breathing air, you're dead. So simple. Then, he goes on to say it's the same way with good works. If you're not doing good things, it's because you're trust (faith) is dead. Works is the evidence of trust. If you don't trust Jesus, then you don't do good works. I know this sounds religious, but give me a minute.

One of the major misconceptions about this verse is that people begin focusing on good works - the end result. The good works are the evidence of trust in Jesus. Me breathing air in and out of my lungs is the result of me being alive. If I was dead, I couldn't breathe. You don't see the air leaving or entering my body when I inhale and exhale. You don't see what oxygen is doing inside my body and how I'm using it to stay alive. All you see is my chest move up and down. Let me put it this way. People want you to follow their rules to good breathing. Basically, if you follow these umpteen guidelines to breathing, you'll look like a person that's most certainly alive. Religious institutions (most churches) keep telling us what good Christians do and look like (Col 2:13-23). They're too focused on the proof that you're alive rather than helping you become more alive. After all, it's how you look breathing, right?

Here's another way to look at it: If I were to break into your house, there would be evidence somewhere that I broke in and took your belongings. You didn't see me sneak into your house and take your stuff. All you found was proof that I was there. I didn't intend to leave evidence. The evidence simply proves that I'm the one who did it. The evidence is not the focus, it's just what's used to point to who committed the act. The focus should be that I broke into the house and took your stuff.

Here's the thing. When you trust Jesus, the end result is good works. Your focus should not be the end result. It should never be this. Your focus should be trusting Jesus, period (Heb 10:22-24). Your only job here on earth is to build a close enough relationship with God that you actually trust him no matter what. The more you trust Jesus, the more you end up leaving evidence behind that you have faith in him. Works are left behind for others to see and experience. Works are not something you intentionally think about. It's actually a by-product of trusting your Father. Your intentions were on Jesus and learning to trust him more. The Holy Spirit (God's breath of life) is the one who guides you on what acts to commit. The things that I do will never be the things that you do because we are in totally different places. The Spirit guides our creativity to do only what we can do in the environments he puts us in. Ask the Spirit what he wants you to do and move when he speaks. He tells you where to go (Prov 3:5-6). How you get there is up to you.

Never let your focus be on the evidence (Rom 11:5-6). The more you trust him, the less you're afraid to act. It becomes second nature to you; like breathing. There's no work in doing good works at all.

Build your confidence in Jesus (1 Pet 1:21). Let his breath show you how to really live.

I couldn't decide which vid, so you get both.


Jenny Girl said...

The second video made me motion sick, the first one put me to sleep - but it's better than the Michael W. Smith version. You could have used the dance remix to Sandi Patty's Breathe on Me :)~

Dathan Ellis said...

Jenny, if you don't have anything good to say... ~:-P