The Breath of God

by Alan Stewart

Is there anything in life that is as sweet and precious as a newborn baby's breath?  To new parents, the touch of their breath brings such a peaceful assurance.  Their breath is an awesome reminder of the responsibility just placed into our hands.

In those first moments of life, however, there is a smell that captivates our attention, and a smell that does not linger long. A tongue that has yet to be touched by sin. A mouth that knows not the impurities that will forever taint it with halitosis. It is, quite possibly, the closest thing to a smell of purity we will ever know in life.

Throughout Scripture, men who walked intimately with the Father were men who seemed to walk close enough to feel, sense, and smell the breath of God. Job, through his great difficulties, found His breath cool amidst the heat of the furnace, and warm when he was chilled by loneliness and confusion. David took courage when the breath of God separated a way through deep, uncertain, tempestuous waters. Isaiah witnessed the breath of God sift right and wrong when human minds could not reason the difference.

Today, the breath of God is rarely mentioned, and when it is, the definition used and the effects described are a cheap imitation of the original. When the breath of God broods over the waters of our soul, there are some distinctives that will always be in place. 

There will be Divine approval. In Genesis 2, when God formed Adam, He "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." It was an act confirming His pleasure and approval of the work of His hands. Sadly enough, Scripture also reminds us of those who operated and functioned without this breath of approval. Saul remained king for years without it. Cain tilled the earth without it. Eli fathered sons without it.

God's approval will mean God's anointing. Anointing is defined today as "stage presence," "gifted oratory ability," "entertaining."  True anointing will never draw attention to itself, but neither is it missed. I am not sure whether or not we can even recognize the difference anymore. It appears we have gone so long without a fresh blowing that any old wind will do for us.

There will be Divine authority.  In John 20, when Jesus appeared to the fearful disciples, He "breathed on them."  It was an act of commissioning authority through their lives. Jesus was imparting into their lives what He possessed. When He spoke, the people were astonished that "He taught them as one having authority."  What did that mean? It meant He knew what He was saying. He believed what He said. He lived what He said. It was neither a rough, burly voice nor an arrogant firmness that signaled His authority. It was an inner purity that aroused respect. We find a generation today that demands and seizes authority, but spiritual authority exists only as it is breathed upon its recipients by Jesus.

There will be Divine appointments.  For the patient band of 120 awaiting in an upper room, the breath that caused a mighty wind was only blown in one direction at one particular place. To fly a kite effectively, you have to be in the pathway of the wind. To captain a sailboat successfully, you have to adjust your sails according to the strength of the wind. It's all about position. Jesus said, "...the wind bloweth where it listeth."

What does that mean?  It blows in the direction it finds delight in. To follow the Lord simply means to be swiftly moved along the pathway of the breath of Jesus.

Meteorologists would call it the "jet stream." Scientists would call it the "current." Economists would call it "winds of change." A child of God calls it soaring with the Almighty.

I wonder: does God breathe at the same pace as we do? If not, when was His last breath felt? What is so refreshing about God's breeze is the fact it blows old things out, but it blows new things in. Is He holding His breath? The worst fear of a mother is to no longer feel the breath of her child. As I pen this, my heart is racing and my mind is anxious. Oh Father, would You breathe just one more time!

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