The Latin word literally means to breathe in, or inhale, conversely, to ex-spire means to breath out or exhale. In ancient times it was believed that a new born infant was given life by God leaning down from the heavens and breathing His breath into the child, thereby, animating the physical being into a human being that was made in the image of God. Upon death the process was reversed and God would capture our last breath and return it to His mouth and lungs.
While perhaps not physiologically accurate, the image of God’s tenderness is comforting to ponder and lays the ground work for our relationship with Him based on His grace. We say that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. This means that the writer was in-spired by God to write the words that unveiled the mystery of God to all people. Many folks interpret this to mean that God himself picked up the pen and wrote the words of scripture, thus God was inspired to accomplish this task. It is redundant to claim that God is inspired, when in reality He is so much more than we can imagine. No, the pen was wielded by a human being who was inspired [breathed into] by God to do something he/she could not otherwise have accomplished.
In Genesis, Yahweh [Hebrew word for God in the Old Testament], creates by speaking words like plant, animal, man, and woman. Most ancient creation stories believed that creation was accomplished by one god killing and dismembering another god – a very violent view of the beginning of life. But the one true God needed only to speak, to form the Words with His breath and have life spring forth.
I thought about this one morning when I was shaving, so I blew my breath onto the mirror. No tree or other life form appeared. But I did marvel that God’s breath was given to me as a gift and I renewed my vow to use this breath to speak words of nourishment and compassion to those around me.
I encourage all of you to give Jesus a Christmas present this year. I have completed my shopping for loved ones, and that is an important part of the Christmas season, but it is Jesus’ birthday, after all, so why not give Him a present. How about sharing words of salvation with everyone you meet about His love for them and then extend an invitation to worship Him. You will never be out of breath again.
Be like a Bible-writer and in-spire everyone you meet.