When is the last time you took a moment to be quiet and listen for the sound of your heartbeat….dun dunt – dun dunt? Or experienced yourself breathe…the still air drawn in as it lifts your chest and extends your abdomen before the release…awe. I think it takes courage to be still with yourself. I believe we don’t take enough time for stillness in our overstimulated lives,though that is just what we need. Stillness before the Lord. Have you ever considered that our very life began with a heartbeat, followed by a breath of life that awakened the anticipation of our first step in life’s journey. I have learned the importance of being brave and taking the first step to be still with the Lord. Because it is there that I find the courage for the next step of each journey even when the path is difficult or unclear.
Much like a child learning to walk, we are driven by the desire and inspiration that power our courage to take each step and keep get up when we fall. I’m sure we each have an image in mind of a precious child taking their first steps. For me, it’s the twinkle in her eye that reveals a desire within to just get to her daddy’s hands. Because she’s inspired to be swept up into his safe and loving arms to celebrate her accomplishment or pick her up when she falls, she is courageous. She trusts her daddy.
How trusting are you of your Abba Father? I know the level of trust that I have of my Abba Father is reflected in the courage with which I live my life. Maybe you can relate? It’s not a natural thing to be still before the Lord. But as I shared earlier I have learned to “just do it”, like the Nike motto inspires us. I remember a time when
I had to do just that- choose to be courageous. The choice became evident one day when I was wrestling with the feeling that I was missing out on life. Part of me argued that missing out didn’t make sense because I was involved in so many “good” things for the kingdom. That argument won the first round. I let the feeling linger just setting it aside as I trusted that it would pass while I kept doing “good” things.” Then, unexpectedly, came round two as I was reading in my devo time. There it was! A message from Christ himself about how abundant life with him is intended to be something we experience now. (John 10:10John 10:10 English: World English Bible - WEB 10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
WP-Bible plugin). I was missing out! I was not experiencing much joy in my life, no matter what I did.
To my knees I went. I chose to be brave, to pray, and seek the Lord about why I was missing out on the abundant life he has for me. The feeling I had was a nudge to reflect and be still with the Lord. When I did, it become clear I had been letting the thief rob me without putting up a fight. I needed to be still with the Lord and delight in Him so He could refocus my desire, he could inspire me for His Kingdom, and cultivate my courage to step out with confidence as he shows me his ways. A verse that I turn to often is Psalm 25:4-5Psalm 25:4-5 English: World English Bible - WEB 4 Show me your ways, Yahweh.
Teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me,
For you are the God of my salvation,
I wait for you all day long.
WP-Bible plugin. One day it literally kept me from a complete breakdown…but that faith adventure is for another time.
What is your desire? Listen for it. Where is your inspiration found? Experience it as you breathe. Are you living with courage? What steps are you taking to live out the desires and inspirations the Lord has placed in you? No matter what your answers are, know that you can find courage in the Lord.
We can be courageous and take the next step! We need to just come to the Lord with childlike faith (Luke 18:17Luke 18:17 English: World English Bible - WEB 17 Most assuredly, I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.”
WP-Bible plugin) even the size of a mustard seed (Mathew 17:20) and trust our Father in Heaven. In Psalm 37:4-6Psalm 37:4-6 English: World English Bible - WEB 4 Also delight yourself in Yahweh,
And he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to Yahweh.
Trust also in him, and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness go forth as the light,
And your justice as the noon day sun.
WP-Bible plugin we are reminded that when we delight ourselves in the Lord he gives us the desires of our heart. How will you delight in the Lord today? This week?
Are you looking for renewed desire, inspiration, and more courage for your journey?
Can you relate to needing to be still with the Lord and just breathe? He is waiting!
Please share how you spend time delighting in the Lord.
How is your spiritual breathing? Have you been holding your breath too long? Take a deep breath. Hold it…..keep holding it….okay BREATHE. Did just the thought of holding your breath make you anxious? I don’t like the feeling I get after holding my breath for too long. My heart starts to race and I begin to feel light headed. Why do you think that is? Because breathing oxygen is essential to life and our breath rate is usually in rhythm with our heart rate. They are dependent on each other to do their job- provide O2 to the body.
Like physical breathing is essential to our physical life, taking time to spiritually BREATHE is essential to our spiritual life. Living out my identity in Christ should be as automatic as each breath I take, right? But why isn’t it? Oxygen taken in with each new breath is essential to maintain the strength of life in our body– from all the tiny cells to, each major organ. Likewise, the way we live out our identity in Christ maintains the strength of our spiritual life. I am challenged by the harsh reality that I am not as immediatly aware or alarmed when my spiritual breathing has been interrupted as I am when I am forced to hold my breath for more than 30 seconds. I can begin to feel the panic rise up inside, as I desire to release the old air and receive the new to avoid loss of consciousness or ultimately loss of life.
So what do I mean by spiritual breathing? Well recently I’ve been challenged with principles to help maintain spiritual balance in my life or taking time to BREATHE. I tend to put principles into acrostics making them easier to remember and put into practice. Here is my BREATHE acrostic:
Believe God is able ~Remember you are redeemed and release ~Everyday eternally focused ~Available and aware ~Trust with thanksgiving ~Humbly resist ~Exhale ~
When I keep each of these “BREATHE” principles active in my life I am strengthening my spiritual life through responsible relationship with the Lord by living my identity in Him. I notice that I become spiritually oxygen deprived when any of the principles are out of balance or rhythm. Let’s take a brief look at these principles.
BelieveGod is able. This principle challenges us to keep who God is in alignment with who we believe He is. Sometimes this looks like remembering that He is the great I AM who holds all that is dear to me in his all-powerful, majestic hands. This principle asks us- “What do you really believe about God’s ability to provide and care for you and all that you hold close?” This of course cramps the style of any of us control freaks, right? ~Psalm 46:10Psalm 46:10 English: World English Bible - WEB 10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the earth.”
WP-Bible plugin “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God…”
Remember you are redeemed and release. Knowing who God is and remembering he has redeemed us as his daughters is the foundation of one’s identity in Christ. When I reflect on the power and sacrifice that were exercised for my redemption it calls me to a place of surrender and release. I surrender to his never-ending love where I am able to experience his gentle kindness. In this sweet relationship I release my hold on the shame of my sinfulness and allow him to wash me in his forgiveness. Remembering this also releases me from the snare and trap of the enemy leaving me free in Christ. ~1 Peter 1: 17-211 Peter 1: 17-21 English: World English Bible - WEB 17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as strangers here in reverent fear:
18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers,
19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ;
20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake,
21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.
WP-Bible plugin “…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear…. it was not with perishable things …you were redeemed from the empty way of life…but with the precious blood of Christ…He was chosen before the creation of the world… through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” ~ Ephesians 1:7-8Ephesians 1:7-8 English: World English Bible - WEB 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
WP-Bible plugin “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.” ~ 1John1: 9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us…”
Everyday is eternally focused. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Mathew 6:21) These words of Jesus ring true don’t they? Keeping our heart and head focused on where our real eternal treasure is difficult and takes determination. I struggle to fix my eyes on what is unseen because of the lure of the seen is so tangible and tempting even though it is temporary. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-182 Corinthians 4:16-18 English: World English Bible - WEB 16 Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;
18 while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
WP-Bible plugin “ Therefore do not lose heart…outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is unseen is eternal.”
Available and aware. This principle reminds us “it’s not all about me”. Though I will make plans for my days and weeks it is the desire of my heart that the Lord will direct my feet. Some days it is evident that the Lord has better plans for the day than I do. My response to his redirection reveals my heart attitude toward being available for the Lord’s purposes and determined to press on in difficult circumstances. It also is evidence of my sensitivity to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I must remain available to do the good works the Lord has prepared for me in advance. I also need to be aware of his leading and the needs of others in my life. ~Philippians 3: 13-14Philippians 3: 13-14 English: World English Bible - WEB 13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
WP-Bible plugin “…Forgetting what is behind and straining…I press on toward the goal…for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” John 14:26John 14:26 English: World English Bible - WEB 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.
WP-Bible plugin “…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send… will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”
WP-Bible plugin sums this up. We are not to be anxious or worry about anything. Rather we are to trust God wholeheartedly with everything. To not be anxious means trusting God through petitioning in prayer and believing he is able with a thankful attitude. This is not easy but I do breathe more easily when I practice this principle.
Humbly resist. Resist what? The temptation of pride to take control and live like I don’t believe God is able. Pride is the root of all sin and it is the hardest for us to detect in ourself. A heart of humility helps us live selflessly and resist the tendency to control and capitalize for personal benefit. Proverbs 16:18Proverbs 16:18 English: World English Bible - WEB 18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
WP-Bible plugin “For everything in the world- lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
Exhale. Exhale everything into His hands and exclaim His excellence. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 3:5-6 English: World English Bible - WEB 5 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart,
And don’t lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will direct your paths.
WP-Bible plugin) When we take time to exhale, we are able to maintain an attitude of worship and experience the peace of the Lord in relationship with him. I am able to see him at work in the big and little things of life. Then I am moved to worship him with my life.
Take the time to review the principle verses that speak to where you are in your relationship with the Lord.
Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always
John Maxwell Team Certified inspirational speaker and author