Is Jesus truly the air that we breathe?
There’s an interesting verse that I’ve been trying to wrap my head around in Numbers. God was defending Moses to Miriam and Aaron. He described Moses as a prophet like no other, and then God stated: “With him I speak mouth to mouth” (Exodus 12:8). God didn’t speak to Moses in visions, riddles, and mysteries like the other prophets; rather, His dialogue with Moses was so intimate that they were mouth to mouth with each other. I envision someone being resuscitated by CPR; a mouth to mouth procedure. Quite possibly the only way someone who stopped breathing might survive is if they are given mouth to mouth resuscitation. Maybe that is a picture of how we are to live moment by moment with God. Maybe He is the air that we breathe, and our very survival is by mouth to mouth intercession with God! If Moses breathed mouth to mouth with God in an inferior covenant, just imagine what is possible when we are filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant.
When we speak about the Holy Spirit, in essence, we are speaking about the sacred breath of God. Spirit (pneuma) is translated breath or air. I realize that the Holy Spirit is a person and I take nothing from that, yet, He came as a mighty rushing wind at Pentecost and they were all filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). Perhaps the early church merely started “breathing” on the day of Pentecost which enabled them to function with power. Think about every breath that you take, are you breathing only air or is it the breath of God? We are told that God breathed into the nostrils of mankind and he became a living being at that moment (see Gen. 2:7). Jews believe that with every breath we take we are stating the Hebrew name of God (YHVH). Perhaps a person dies not when their heart stops, but when they are no longer capable of saying His name, the name of God. Jesus actually breathed on His disciples and they received the Spirit—the breath of God (see John 20:22).
So, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul stated: “Pray without ceasing.” I love to study New Testament language; I’m a word nerd. I have studied this verse over and over again. Guess what it means? It means to “pray without ceasing.” It’s true; we are to always be in a state of intercession. I believe that if we understand living mouth to mouth with God we can capture the heart of intercession. Prayer really should never end for the person who walks in the Spirit. I still advocate corporate intercession as the Church and private moments where we cry out to God. But we are to devote our lives to prayer and praying without ceasing is only possible if we remain in the Spirit breathing mouth to mouth with God (see Col. 4:2). Therefore, every breath that we take can become a moment that we consume the presence of the Spirit thus living in communion with God every second of our day. Regardless of what occurs to us, we can remain in constant connection to God as we breathe Him in.
Paul and Silas were thrown into prison while ministering in the city of Philippi. After having cast out a spirit of divination from woman, the profit from her satanic activity diminished and so her owners were angry. Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten with rods, and after many blows, they were thrown into the “inner” prison with their feet fastened to stocks (see Acts 16:14-30). The inner cell was a hole in the floor below the prison and scholars believe it was nothing more than a sewage pit filled with excrement from the city. The word used in Acts 16:24 referring to the inner (esoteros) prison actually means the space behind the veil. It can be translated the Holy of Holies. Some commentators call this the place of encounter. The same word (inner) is used only one other time in the New Testament. Hebrews 6:19 and 20 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us.” When the writer says that we enter “within,” it refers to the Holy of Holies; the place of encounter with Christ. This is the same word used in Acts 16:24 referring to the dark and filthy cesspool where Paul and Silas found themselves.
However, for the person who is breathing in the Holy Spirit—the one who is mouth to mouth with God every moment of their lives—what might be a prison on the outside is actually a place of supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ. The earthly circumstances that we find ourselves in become the place where divine activity takes place because when we breathe in His Spirit every moment, we’re never out of His presence, power, or potential. Guess what Paul did while being strapped ankle deep in sewage? He prayed and sang praises unto God. Think about it, for Paul and Silas they were in the Holy of Holies! And other prisoners heard the worship, which tells me that other people are watching and listening to our response when persecution and adversity comes upon us.
Suddenly, the prison house was shaken (see Acts 4:31) and every prisoner found themselves unshackled. When we live mouth to mouth with God, our lives become the instruments He can use to set others free. The prisoners didn’t flee the scene; rather, they remained in the worship service and eventually the jailer cried out: “what must I do to be saved?” Salvation came to a stench filled hole in the ground because two guys lived mouth to mouth with God. Paul and Silas were praying without ceasing and their intercession turned a prison into a sanctuary.
Let Him become the air you breathe and watch what will happen.