The Breath of God

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.”

Imagine the Creation. Imagine the universe as a vast emptiness. No stars, no planets, no dust, no periodic table of elements, no laws of physics, no math. Just… nothing. But the Holy Spirit, God’s will, created everything out of nothing. So in the beginning, all of Creation was created by and filled with the Holy Spirit. When God breathed into Adam’s nostrils, He filled Adam with the breath of life, His breath, the very breath God.

Then came free will and The Fall, and everything that’s happened since. The history of mankind has been a perpetual struggle between good and evil, light and dark. When God creates each of us, we are an empty vessel that He fills with the breath of His spirit. And from the moment that we take the first breath of our own, temptation threatens to empty the righteousness of God from us so that the empty space within us can be filled with wickedness.

But being filled with the Spirit doesn’t just mean being a rock, strong enough to resist temptation. It is also about accepting God’s will. Saint Paul tells us that Jesus “emptied Himself”. As we know, Jesus chose to be filled completely with the Holy Spirit, but Saint Paul’s point wasn’t just to tell us that Jesus was without sin. As he continues, he tells us that Jesus chose to humble “Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.” 

Obedience to God’s will is about being a feather. When Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about the Holy Spirit, He said, “The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going.”

Over and over again throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is described as a wind. Sometimes as gentle as God’s breath into Adam’s nostrils, sometimes strong enough to cause the Great Flood waters to recede. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote, “This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I threw myself face down, and I heard a voice speaking. He said to me, ‘Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.’ As he spoke to me, a wind came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me.”

At Pentecost, before breathing on the Apostles and filling them with the Spirit, Jesus said to them, “Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” Where is God sending you? Do you feel God’s breath on you? Do you feel the wind of the Holy Spirit in you? Are you allowing it to move you like a feather, or are you standing obstinate?

We can choose what we want to be filled with. Every time we choose goodness, we displace evil. Every time we choose righteousness, we displace wickedness. Every time we choose to be be obedient to God, God will fill us with the Spirit. What will you choose to be filled with? Will you choose to be filled with the Spirit? Are you obedient to the breath of God? Will you choose to be both a rock and a feather? Will you allow the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, to stand you on your feet and go where it blows you?