The Holy Spirit: Breath of God
Share This article
Who is the Holy Spirit? How should we approach Him? What are His attributes? What does the Bible say about Him?
Let’s start off with the introduction of the Holy Spirit. It’s found right in the first chapter of Genesis in the second verse:
"The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light;' and there was light."
At the very beginning of Genesis, you have God’s Word, Jesus; you have God the Father; and you have the Holy Spirit: the Trinity all represented in creation.
The interesting part of this is the Hebrew word for spirit. We almost get a little spooky talking about the Holy Ghost, but the Hebrew word behind spirit is ruach, and it means "air in motion." It is the same word for "breath." It also means "life." By resemblance to breath and air in motion, it means "spirit." That’s where we get the translation, and the Hebrew word contains all those different meanings. If we just leave it with our English word "spirit," we’re not getting the full attributes of what the Bible is trying to describe. It’s trying to describe that there’s a breath involved.
Going back to that first chapter in Genesis, if the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep, and then God said, "Let there be light," when you speak, it’s through your breath that the words take form. Just imagine that: God speaking, His breath comes out, and there you have the Word of God, "Let there be light." That is where the Gospel of John says,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
They are all separate, but at the same time, they are all one, just as when you breathe and you speak, your words can be one with you.
Let’s take this into the New Testament because we have almost the same thing where Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit. He says,
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (, NKJV).
Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit, and He’s saying it is like wind. When you get into the Greek behind that, the Greek word is pneuma, which again means "a current of air," "breath," or a "breeze, " and again by analogy, "a spirit." So both the Hebrew and the Greek word are talking about breath. It’s talking about wind.
Back in Creation, back in Genesis, you’ve got how we were made.
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (, NKJV).
Some translations call that "a living soul." It’s from the breath of God that we actually get our life. And so now you get the linkage of how we were created. How we were created in the image of God is because of our breath, and it is because of the breath of God coming into us.
The same thing happens when we are born of the Spirit. When we are re-born, it is from the breath of God. In the Gospel of John, where He is giving to His disciples the Holy Spirit, just as God breathed on Adam and gave him the breath of life, Jesus breathed on His disciples in John chapter 20:
"'Peace to you! As the Father sent me, I also send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (, NKJV).
The Holy Spirit, the breath of God. When you get into that kind of analogy, you now understand better what the attributes are. It’s no longer something spooky, but it’s something very close to you. It’s as close to you as your very breath. The Bible says, "In Him we live and move and have our being." I love the praise song that says "You are the air I breathe, Your holy Presence in me." We can literally breathe in the Presence of God and be filled with the Holy Spirit with our breath.
Jesus didn’t just breathe on the disciples 2,000 years ago. Every time we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, it is God’s breath on us. Just imagine that. It is not a one-time thing. I think Christians today have gotten into the baptism of the Holy Spirit as some kind of one event. We have got that in Acts chapter 2, but we fail to look forward to Acts chapter 4 where they get baptized in the Holy Spirit again. It says very clearly in Acts chapter 4 they were all filled with the Holy Spirit as they were in a prayer meeting: "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly." So it is not just in Acts chapter 2; it is also in Acts chapter 4. This means we can be filled with the Spirit continually.
I was at a tremendous meeting one year with John and Carol Arnot from the Toronto Fellowship. They asked me to speak. I started speaking at 8:00. I was tired going into it, but I just got energized, filled with the Holy Spirit during that. At that time, it went from 8:00 until midnight. If you can imagine that: four hours. At the end of it I was absolutely energized. I was so filled with the Holy Spirit it seemed like anything was possible. The next day, I was driving into the studio, and I was praying on my way in. I was kind of grumbling and complaining and saying, "Lord God, why can’t that sort of go with me all the time?" And God spoke to me very clearly, "Why do you get out of the river?" I thought about that. I said, "Well, why do I?"
We don’t have to. We don’t have to walk around as if there are some moments when we’re filled with the Spirit and other moments when we’re not. We can be continually filled with His Presence. It all has to do with how we think about it. If we actually think that in Him we live and move and have our being, that our very breath as we breathe in, we can be filled with God Almighty. Just imagine how that will transform your life! The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event. It can be a continuous thing for all who believe.
I want you to take that thought with you through the day, through the month, through the year. I think Christians now more than ever need to be filled with the Holy Spirit, need to be filled with His authority, really need to have the power of God working in their lives. We live in perilous times. It is not a time for us to take off the Armor of God and go relax. We need to be fully armed, fully prepared with the Holy Spirit.
Let me conclude with this. It’s the conclusion that is found in the 150th Psalm. It’s the very last word in Psalms. It’s the very last Psalm. There are 150 of them, and here’s the very end of it. It says, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!"
Let your breath praise the Lord today!
Share This article