Exhale

Posted: October 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

In John chapter 3, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, a member of the Pharisees, and trying to explain to him the workings of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” In this scripture, it is interesting that Jesus likens the Holy Spirit to the wind. The Greek word for “Holy Spirit” is pneuma, which can also be translated as “breath” or “wind”. The same is true for the Hebrew word used for “Holy Spirit” – ruach. The Greek root word “pneuma” is used about 385 times in the New Testament. You will find that scriptures about the Holy Spirit, as in today’s example, frequently the mention of breath or wind is woven into the scripture. Our scripture talked about being “borexhalen again” … about being born in the spirit. What does this mean?

When we acknowledge our faith in Christ and accept the offer of grace from God, this is when we are born again in the Spirit. When we are re-born, it is from the breath of God. In the Gospel of John, where He is giving to His disciples the Holy Spirit, just as God breathed on Adam and gave him the breath of life, Jesus breathed on His disciples in John chapter 20: “‘Peace to you! As the Father sent me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit'”.

Max Lucado likens the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives to a guy who wants to learn to dance. This fellow is a rational, intelligent sort, so he goes to the bookstore and buys a how-to book. He takes it home and starts reading. He carefully does everything it says. When the instructions say sway, he sways. When the instructions say lean, he leans. When the instructions say spin, he spins. He even cuts out paper footprints and arranges them on the family room floor so he will know exactly where to step.

At last, he thinks he’s got it down pat. He calls his wife in and says, “Honey, watch!” With book in hand and reading aloud so she’ll know he’s done his homework, he follows the instructions step by step. It says, “Take one step with your right foot.” So he takes one step with his right foot. Then it says, “Turn slowly to the left.” He turns slowly to the left.” He keeps it up, reading and then dancing, reading and dancing, through the whole thing. Then he collapses exhausted on the sofa and says to his wife, “What do you think? I executed it perfectly!” To which she replies, “You executed it all right. You killed it!”

The befuddled husband says, “But I followed the rules, I laid out the pattern, I did everything the book said…” “But,” she sighs, “you forgot the most important part–the music!” She pops a tape into the stereo. “Try it again. Quit worrying about the steps and just follow the music.” She holds out her hand, and he gets up and takes it. The music starts, and the next thing the guy knows he’s dancing–without the book! Lucado observes: “We Christians are prone to follow the book while ignoring the music. We master the doctrine, outline the chapters, memorize the dispensations, debate the rules, and stiffly step down the dance floor of life with no music in our hearts. Dancing with no music is tough stuff. Jesus knew that. For that reason, on the night before His death He introduced the disciples to the song maker of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is moving and active today, intimately involved in each of our lives. Before His crucifixion, Jesus is comforting His disciples and He makes this promise: “If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” The Holy Spirit is present in our worship, He helps us to understand and apply scripture, He helps to build up our faith. He inspires us to bigger and better spiritual things. Interestingly, the medical definition of “inspire” is to inhale. The Holy Spirit helps us to breathe in the things of God … to hold them in our hearts.

These are not gifts that we are intended to keep to ourselves. We do not exist for us, but to share what we have been given with others. As these have been breathed into us, we need to exhale these gifts into the world.

We do not exist for us…we exist to share the grace and love so freely given to us all…we breathe it in, it changes us, it makes us new and then we share it – we exhale. Amen.

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