“Breathing is highly underrated,” said my friend Paul when once he had difficulty breathing – and while he was touring Jerusalem. I learned a lot about oxygen deprivation in 2010 when my husband was hospitalized for 24 days with Legionnaire’s Disease. Oxygen feeds every cell in our bodies. We think of the major organs – lungs, heart, brain – but our skin, eyes, muscles – every cell – need oxygen to grow and be healthy. Without this necessary oxygen, cells in our body get weak and over time lose their vitality.
While a neurologist may not agree, I believe that the onset of memory loss, dementia attributed to hardening of arteries, started with Bill’s oxygen deprivation. And while its downward progression is evident, the cause doesn’t matter in the scheme of things, the treatment and future prognosis. It’s a matter of fact. It gives me more appreciation for oxygen.
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:15, NIV 2011).
Can you hear the little children in church choir singing, “This little light of mine. Put it under a bushel? No.” We know that the use of a lamp is to shed light, to shine the way in darkness.
Lamps in Jesus’ day used oil for its fuel source. Putting a lamp under a bushel basket or a bowl would snuff it out. The lamp needed oxygen in order to be effective, to burn brightly.
So if oxygen is needed for those ancient lamps to burn, and Jesus was teaching His disciples about burning brightly in a dark world, and oxygen is needed for every cell in our physical bodies, what would oxygen feed in the spiritual realm? Let’s examine a few.
As humans, our living can be divided into such areas as financial, physical, emotional, relational, familial, and spiritual. What is the oxygen in these areas? As Christians, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling affects every cell of our being. In finances, we need discernment about saving, giving, and buying. It’s not to be done by the world’s standards. Physically, we should be attentive to good health practices, taking care of ourselves for our own sake and others. How we expend our emotions is important, for we can harm ourselves or hurt others with the wrong attitude and reaction. Self-control is one fruit of the Spirit. We relate to people around us; we are not isolationists. We develop in community and the most important is family. Here we are our true selves, connect to our roots, and influence the future generation. In the spiritual realm the light of our witness will shine brightly if fueled by the Holy Spirit working in and through us.
So breathe deeply. Allow the Holy Spirit to fuel every cell of your being, giving praise for God’s abundant supply, how He designed our body and our whole being.