Spiritual inhaling is receiving, Spirit-to-spirit, what the living, indwelling God breathes into you – including his life, his word, his grace, his riches, his character, his power, his joy, his mind, his heart. God designed spiritual inhaling, like physical inhaling, to happen continuously from the moment of spiritual birth.
The Word on inhaling
In Scripture, God cries, “Inhale!” often. He says it many ways. Always, inhaling produces life. As you inhale deeply – regularly receiving the present God himself and all he is pouring into you, Spirit-to-spirit – you live vibrantly and abundantly. You understand God’s nature and ways with increasing clarity. You speak, live and work from a place of rest.
Hear the inhaling commands and promises in these verses:
Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).
On another occasion, Jesus “said to them, ‘I AM; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading” (John 6:20-21).
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).
“Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given – and you will receive even more” (Mark 4:24 NLT).
“Receive your sight” (Luke 18:42).
“Receive meekly the Word implanted in you that can save your lives” (James 1:21 CJB).
“Receive God’s overflowing kindness and the gift of his approval” (Rom. 5:17 GW).
“Those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness [will] reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Rom. 5:17).
(For an in-depth look at how spiritual inhaling and exhaling relate to reigning in life by grace, see The Esther Blessing: Grace to Reign in Life.)
The link with exhaling
We’ll look more closely at spiritual exhaling in next week’s post. But for now, notice: Just as with physical breath, inhaling cannot happen apart from exhaling.
“Give [exhale], and you will receive [inhale]. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38 NLT).
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask [exhale] and you will receive [inhale], and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God [that’s exhaling], you will receive what he has promised [and that’s inhaling]” (Heb. 10:36).
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake [again, that’s exhaling] will receive a hundred times as much [that’s inhaling] and will inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).
The essence of inhaling
You inhale physically as you’re filled with breath. You inhale spiritually as you’re filled with the Spirit. You cannot breathe in any aspect of God’s life, including his word, when you’re quenching, grieving or stiff-arming God the Spirit.
Jesus is fully God who became fully human. On earth, he stripped himself of his divine privileges and operated from his humanness, to model for us how to live by the breath of God.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him” (Matt. 3:16).
“Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit as he left the Jordan River. The Spirit led him while he was in the desert” (Luke 4:1 GW).
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me.’ … He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:16-18, 21).
“At that time Jesus was filled with joy by the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21 GNT).
“We received the Spirit who comes from God so that we could know the things which God has freely given us” (1 Cor. 2:12 GW).
“The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit – God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion” (1 Cor. 2:14 MSG).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
“May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality] … [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” (Eph. 3:16, 19 AMP).
“Ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit” (Eph. 5:18 AMP). “Keep on being filled with the Spirit” (CJB).
The wonder and the challenge
As you inhale deeply and regularly:
- Your Lord gives you rest in your innermost being.
- More and more intimately, you know him who is breathing his life into you.
- More and more clearly, you see your own true, God-given identity.
- You grow up. You really live. More and more, you reflect Christ’s character and his ways. More and more, you become who he has created you to be.
That sounds wonderful. But you may think it impossible. You may believe you cannot inhale deeply and regularly because you don’t have time.
In that case, dear one, you’ve allowed Time to become your master. You’re bowing to Time as to a god. It’s incredibly easy to do, and incredibly difficult to avoid, because pretty much everyone around you has, too. When Time rules your life, it will use every second possible to siphon off what God is pouring into you. It will never give you permission to breathe.
When the Lord who is the Spirit rules your life, you will continually be filled with breath. Day after day, God’s wind in your sails will take you where he has created you to go. Even time will serve you.
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Life and Breath Series – includes these posts: “A Matter of Life and Breath,” “Inhaling the Breath of God,” “Exhaling the Breath of God,” “Breathing Problems,” “God’s Call to the Breath-filled,” “God’s Cry to the Breathless.”
Breath of God – the essence of all six Life and Breath blog posts in one article, with links to all the rest. Breathe deeply, beloved of God.