Wow! It’s hard to believe we are already a quarter way through this new year and our look into how to live out the Gospel holistically. For the last three months we have been reminded over and over that Jesus is worthy to be loved with our whole hearts and how that practically influences every part of our lives. Thanks to all our friends who have faithfully shared their stories, their hearts and their wisdom so far this year.
This week we will revisit our Scriptural mandate found in Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and begin the unpacking of God’s command to love Him with our whole souls.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”
We now turn our focus to loving God and living in light of the fact that He requires our whole soul’s affections. The Hebrew word used for “soul” in this text is the word nephesh and essentially refers to one that has breath. You see, God wants us to love Him with all of our breath! This breath has eternal and beautiful potential and we dare not waste it on any lesser thing.
Do you remember back in Genesis 1-2when God spoke and everything was created? The sun, moon, stars, planets, plants, land, sea, and every animal on the land, in the sea or in the air was spoken into being. Then Genesis 2:7gives us details how differently God created mankind…
“then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
Did you see that? God, the eternal Creator, breathed into man and he became a living being. Every breath we breathe is a gift from God and He graciously wants us to remember that as we live and love in this world.
Sister, we were created by a relational God and He desires that we experience fellowship with Him daily (if not momentarily). The Bible recounts on every page how God was communicating with mankind. Sometimes it was by miraculous signs, sometimes by people, sometimes by nature, sometimes by hardships but most splendidly through His own Son, Jesus the Christ! Jesus was God’s word in flesh, the exact imprint of HIs character and the measure of HIs love for us. Each of these are signs of God’s breathing out His heart of love for His people and yet, so often the people in history failed to inhale His love and truth. Even today, we stubbornly hold our breath and fail to inhale His Word of truth (the Bible) opting for our own way.
The breath of God not only breathed life into mankind in the beginning, but drove back the Red Sea (in the form of an east wind) for the children of Israel to flee Pharaoh and his army.
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”
The breath of God brought life to the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision.Ezekiel 37:3-6
And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
And on that dark day that Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified and He breathed his last breath, the wrath of God was satisfied and our sins were completely forgiven as Jesus then rose from the dead on the third day! Mark 15:37-39
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Before His crucifixion, we find Jesus telling His disciples that He was going away and that He would not leave them as orphans but that He would send another “Helper” called the Holy Spirit. John 14:15-18records this promise…
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
The Greek word for “Spirit” used in these verses is pneuma.You guessed it, it means “breath”! Oh friend, this is why we study the Word of God because we want to see His beauty, His love, His character on full display! Our God is one God, yet operates in three persons and each of them are completely and totally God and unified in their power and position. Each of them breathe life and love and hope and purpose and truth and grace over our lives.
This is the way we want to live, dear friend…inhaling God’s love, truth and grace and then exhaling love, truth and grace toward others in the power of His Spirit. We must begin to see His Word, the Bible as our best source of spiritual oxygen. We cannot consistently breathe out love, grace and truth without first breathing it in through daily time in His Word.
Also, we must make every effort to hear and receive the Word of God preached. Not placing ourselves under the opinions of men/women but we need gatherings where the Bible itself is read and taught. This is God’s good way of getting us pure soul oxygen that we may be healthy in our faith walk.
In the physical realm there are things that can corrupt our lung capacity, so there are many things in the spiritual realm that can prohibit us from functioning with healthy full souls. In the weeks to follow we will be talking about soul strengthening and soul sickness. Make sure you join us that we may all press on to bring glory to our only wise Father and Lord, Jesus!
Angela and her husband currently live in GA, USA. They have four children at home and one married in 2018. Angela is passionate about ministry to women and loves to meet new friends. She’s been teaching the Bible for over 25 years and desires to encourage women to study the Word for themselves and see the beauty of Jesus in their lives.