The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “breath” – taking in and giving out real Life from Christ. If you’re not familiar with this series, you may want to review some of the foundational articles and videos on W.A.I.T. training and specific posts on “breath”.
There are 24 such subjects on this website. You can use the search function to read the devotionals and related Scriptures, view training videos, and even watch contemporary Christian music videos on the same subjects. Simply place your smartphone or tablet on the reading deck of your favorite cardio equipment in the gym, or prop it up in a safe place as you and a friend exercise at home, or even project it onto a smart TV through wifi or bluetooth for larger groups.
I offer the applications below and others only as examples of how you might physically express spiritual principles. They are not magical formulas or guarantees. Neither are they substitutes for God’s call to gather with other believers for worship in a local church, to study His Word and pray privately, to fellowship with other Christians throughout the week, or to serve the hurting and lost.
In the metaphor of physical fitness, consider this series as a “supplement” for your spiritual health. I do believe, however, that these articles and related video which simultaneously feed our spiritual, physical, and relational health can be very practical. After all, the Lord created each of us as a body with a spirit for relationships. And remember, always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.
More suggested applications for “breath”:
It might seem strange to be intentional about something that we do almost without thinking, but the very fact that we are usually unaware of our breathing suggests that we may need to be even more mindful to discern any bad habits and develop better habits. In fact, cultures around the world have incorporated intentional breathing into their spiritual faith and physical well-being for centuries. Scientific studies also confirm physical and psychological benefits to mindful breathing. Try the following suggestions in your workout to remind you of the life-giving breath in Jesus.
Most basic is a deep, relaxed inhale and exhale from your solar plexus (the small soft spot just above your abs and just below the upside down “V” of your ribs). A good inhale will feel relaxed, like a yawn in your throat and midsection. Your belly will naturally loosen and enlarge, drawing in the air that you need. The air from a good exhale will feel warm and moist, gently pressed from your solar plexus – like you would fog a window or mirror with your breath. Keep your chest and shoulders slightly raised but relaxed and try it.
When you inhale, take in the air that only God can provide. Meditate on the spiritual life that you also need from Him. Enjoy the sensation of the energy and peace that you feel in your lungs. If you are truly relaxed, your belly will draw in the air and your midsection will enlarge, which can be a little scary to all of us who are image-conscious. But even this experience can remind us that we must focus more on what we need than what others think. In fact, focusing on our image (keeping our “guts” in) might help us look more trim but will result in shallow breathing and less oxygen to our bodies. In other words, physically and spiritually, we can‟t take in what we need if we keep up the façade that we don‟t need anything.
And when you exhale, meditate on the fact that God also designed us to give to others. When we “give‟ CO2 God has designed His creation to transform it into oxygen for others. Breathing is a picture of what we need and what we offer.
Watch your partners, too. You can encourage them when they are gasping for air during a run together. After the run, say “I saw you breathing hard. What was that like for you?” And help them express their heart by asking if they’d describe their experience as bad (fear of guilt), mad, sad, or glad. Then ask them to scale the intensity of it from 1-10 (or -5 to +5) and encourage them that you’re listening. When you do this, you’re helping them Watch and Accept the physical truths that they’re experiencing as spiritual truths that should remind them of their need for Christ. Based on their response, help them Invest in God’s commands and promises pictured in breathing and Team with you to live His Word as you work together as parts of the Body of Christ.
For example, on the next run you might encourage them that God is providing every breath that both of you need. Lead the way by lowering the intensity of the workout to focus on this fact and enjoy His gift of breath. They may be embarrassed that you eased off on your exercise for them. If they make jokes, change the subject, dominate the conversation or avoid you, they may be fearful, angry or sad. But that may be an opportunity to talk about one of the Scripture passages that pictures spiritual truths about breathing. If they’re already feeling down, build them up by letting them choose to read or listen, to discuss or pray, to talk now or wait a moment, etc
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tools4trenches.net offers a wide variety of written and video resources to equip and encourage leadership and counseling for joy in Jesus Christ. Unless indicated, all resources are the creation of Jeff Dillard and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or practices of organizations in which he works or worships.
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