The Necessity of Breath

January 19, 2018

Ezekiel 37:8

I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.


We want awakening to come suddenly, accompanied by signs, wonders, and spectacular movement. This is what gets remembered from days of old. As a consequence, we want the sunrise without the long labor of a thousand night watches. We want the awe of transformation without the agony of travail. We want the mountain-top view without the years spent in the valley of vision.

It’s why we’ve settled for far too many wake-up calls that stopped short of awakenings. For a body to come together from a pile of bones is an unimaginable, awe-inspiring sight. It is not enough. A body without breath remains asleep. We all too easily settle for the signs of awakening without pressing further into it. It’s like being awakened by an alarm clock only to repeatedly hit the snooze bar.

The Word of God without the Spirit of God produces a form of reality without the power. On the other hand, the Spirit of God without the Word of God brings fire without any form. The Word of God will put tendons and flesh on bones and even the covering of skin, but without the Spirit of God there remains no breath of life.

Have we been content to consider belief in the truth of the tenets of faith as faith itself—believing in the Word of God without breathing in the Spirit of God? This leaves us with a kind of listlessness—a form of religion without the power. It is the tragedy of equating easy belief with true awakening. We must press further.


Sovereign Lord, we are tired because we have learned to believe more than we have learned to breathe. Disciple us in the way of Jesus that we might learn to breathe deeply of the Holy Spirit. Our breathing is far to shallow to sustain the kind of awakening you bring: Word and Spirit; body and breath; form and power. We need the Word of God not just to be the truth for us but the truth in us. Only your Spirit can bring that about. Come Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name, amen.


  • How about me? Am I believing without breathing?
  • Is my breathing shallow? What would it mean to increase my lung capacity, so to speak?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

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