Real Thing Kyle Asmus
May 4, 2018
No one needs a lesson on breathing. The rhythmic pattern of our diaphragm is innate to our nature—if you want to live then you need to breathe both in and out! I know I sound nerdy, but it’s fascinating to me how you can only inhale once you’ve exhaled, and you can only exhale after you’ve inhaled. The act of breathing is always binary.
This obvious human anatomy lesson is important to note because we learned a new song on Sunday called “Real Thing” and I was struck by the lyrics in the chorus when we sang,
“Your love is the real thing it’s a real thing, it’s the air I breathe…”
God’s love is the air we breathe as Christians.
That means we both inhale God’s love and we exhale God’s love. And, if we are not both inhaling and exhaling God’s love, then we won’t be able to survive because we’re not actually breathing.
In general observations of American Christianity, it seems that healthy Christians breathe in God’s love with ease. We go to church and hear about God’s character, we pray and experience God’s presence, we listen to worship music and are reminded of his faithfulness, we read books and learn about God, and the list goes on and on.
However, on the flip side, when it comes to breathing out, many who might call themselves “healthy” seem to have spiritual asthma.
We wheeze and cough because there is a discomfort in our lungs. We are fine to breathe it all in, but the exhaling is where it gets difficult. Exhaling is extending, and extension always requires us to stretch a little further than is comfortable.
The real question is: How long can we expect to live a healthy Christian life if we’re not even breathing correctly?
Look at what the Bible teaches.
1 John is this great little letter near the back of the Bible, which is zoomed in on God’s love. In fact, in 5 chapters love is mentioned 46 times. In chapter 4:7-21 alone, it is mentioned 27 times. Now why all this fuss about love? Well, verses 11-12 sum up this hyper love-focused section well when John writes,
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God: if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. - 1 John 4:11-12
This is what we’re singing about!
John is saying, “Loved ones, this is the pattern of Christian living: breathe in God’s love and breathe out God’s love.” He ups the ante and goes on to say, “People will see God by the way we are breathing out God’s love!”
Spiritual breathing isn’t passive, its active!
John will say throughout his first letter that we exhale God’s love by simply loving our brothers and sisters in very practical ways (1:10; 3:11, 16, 23; 4:7, 11, 20, 21).
How can you breathe out God’s love in your life?
Perhaps you can include “the outsider” in the office in your conversations. You could fold the laundry and do the dishes for your spouse. You could grab a coffee and a donut for the homeless gentlemen you pass on your way to work every day. You can take a friend who you know is struggling out for dinner just to give them someone to vent to.
The opportunities are endless. It’s just a matter of finding ways to exhale.
As we continue to learn and sing “Real Thing” I think we’re going to be struck by how inexhaustible
God’s love is for us and towards us. But, let’s not forget that God’s love is also with us.