Genesis 2:7 (NIV)
Then the Lord God formed a man [human being] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Moving through the Old Testament, we come upon one of the most famous Holy Spirit verses in the Bible—Genesis 2:7. God is breathing the breath of his Spirit, and it is bringing human beings to life.
When my children were small, they were as inquisitive as one would expect children to be. One night, while I was tucking one of my daughters into bed, she abruptly asked me, “Daddy, where do babies come from?” Her little eyes were beaming up at me, as if her wise and all-knowing Father would have the perfect answer to her “simple” question.
I stumbled, wishing I had better prepared for this moment by reading books like How to Explain Complicated Things to Children While Avoiding the Topic Altogether—Or At Least Pointing Them to A Different Parent. I blurted out my answer, based on Genesis 2:7: “Well honey,” I stuttered, “Babies come from God, and God loves his babies. You come from God, and God loves you!”
I know, you don’t have to have a PhD in parenthood to come up with an answer like that. But my daughter showed her true Sunday school colors, and believed me! She believed that what I said was true because she believed in me. She knew she was made and loved by God because she knew she was made and loved by me. A long explanation about biblical anthropology from Genesis 2:7 would have been accurate, but not effective. In this moment, I was the one loving her and that enabled her to believe that God loved her as well.
Sometimes we as Christians assume that people know they are glorious creations made in the image of God, and that the life-giving Spirit’s breath is the singular reason their heart beats and their lungs process oxygen each day. But if we assume this, that people know the most basic truth that the loving Spirit gives them life, we are wrong. So many people in your sphere of influence and mine need to hear this simple, transforming truth; that God’s Spirit is giving them life, and he gives them life because he loves them.
The work of awakening is long, but is not as complicated as it may seem. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Stealing souls from the enemy of our souls is the work of awakening, in prayer and action, and Jesus is leading the charge by his Holy Spirit in us.
Our hearts can become heavy when we realize, often in the place of prayer, that many people in our immediate neighborhoods are not aware they are loved by a God who cares about them more than they could ever comprehend.
If the Church’s one message was “You come from God, and God loves you!”—and we lived the kinds of lives that helped them believe that message could be true—we would see the signs of awakening for which we pray.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. To know that my heart is beating in this moment, and my lungs are filling as I read, is to know that I am not my own. I belong to you. Come, Holy Spirit, draw me into the work of showing those in my neighborhood that you love them, and that you have a purpose for their lives.
Take a moment to feel your heartbeat. What does your heart beating tell you about God’s love for you and his desire for you to carry his love to the world around you?
For the Awakening,