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From the depths of general anaesthesia I could hear the surgeon (also a family friend) calling to me: “Breathe!” at which I obligingly took a deep breath. This happened after a routine operation where the anaesthetist couldn’t get me to begin breathing on my own again. This was the second time I had dyspnoea. The first time was when, as a toddler, I had fallen into a drum of water. The adults must have cried and prayed at the top of their voices while trying to resuscitate this little girl who had already turned blue in the face. In both instances they did not give up, but kept fighting for my life. In both instances there must have been joyous relief – and I had the privilege of life.

This reminds me of the creation story where God had formed man and ’breathed into his nostrils the breath of life’ (Genesis 2:7 – NIV UK) – in a way saying “Breathe!” The day I accepted Jesus as my Saviour, He gave his Spirit of power and love and self-discipline into my life. (2 Timothy 1:7 – NIV UK). He blessed me with the privilege of abundant life.
The question is: What do I do with this new life He has entrusted to me? Do I get so caught up in my daily activities that I forget that Jesus had laid down his life for me in order that I can tell others about this new life – not with words only but with my conduct. Do I notice the heart of another, a heart in which the Holy Spirit is working, creating life? Or do I wreck that precious work by making a snide remark?

Do I forget that my life does anything but show gratitude when constantly I moan about the government’s handling of lockdown, when my example of coarse language or dishonesty dishonours the Name of the Lord? Am I forgetting that the privilege of breathing is actually reminding me that I have new life, abundant life in Christ?

I myself find it helpful to withdraw early in the morning or sometime during the day to find a quiet place where I can hear God’s soft whisper deep in my spirit. As I prayerfully work through the Bible, I learn to discern between the voice of the Spirit and that little me-voice that so easily leads me astray. This is where I can daily choose to be filled with the Spirit of power and love and self-control (deeply breathing spiritually) and then go out to make a difference in a broken world. With this love and joy I can encourage others to “Breathe!”

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
(James 2:26 – NIV UK)

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