His Breath Creates..His Breath Destroys

Posted by Fr. Tere on 09/02/2015

Have you ever wondered why there was a terribly negative reaction from others for some- thing you thought was good and holy, or a positive reaction to something you know is bad? It’s not because you are crazy or even because you are wrong. (OK, it might be because you are crazy or wrong, it just isn’t necessarily because of that.) If it is dealing with spiritual things, it is more likely because different people react differently to the work and Person of the Holy Spirit. It largely depends on the condition of the heart how the manifest presence or move of God is perceived. 

In human terms, it looks like there are two opposing principles in many areas. For example: creation and destruction, mercy and judgment, predestination and free-will, or the Trinity or Unity of God. In the sight of God, however, in each category, there is only one thing.

One of the best ways to talk about this conundrum is with a figure first described by mathematician Augustus Möbius. By taking a strip of paper and forming it into a cylinder, then giving it a half twist before attaching the two ends together, what is formed is a one-sided, one-edged geometric figure. It appears to be two sided, but it actually has only one side. If you take a pencil and draw a line on it, you will eventually come back to your starting point, with the line appearing all along it. If you follow along the edge, you will eventually trace across “both” edges. At any given moment, it appears to have two sides, but the “big picture” is that there is only one side. It is definitely weird. 

green Mobius

Look at these Scriptures. They show how the same breath of God can both create and destroy, giving both reward and punishment:

Breath Creates

Psalms 33:6  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Breath Destroys

2 Thessalonians 2:8  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 

Same Voice

John 5:28-29  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

There are many examples, but the point is that when God moves, those whose hearts are aligned with Him and His Kingdom experience blessing. Those who are in rebellion do not. It is like the current of a river. If you are surrendered to the Lord and His direction, the flowing current of the Holy Spirit moves you along. If you are rebelling and trying to go a direction other than what He wants, you must battle against the current of the Holy Spirit in His river. 

Culturally, we see many examples of things that the world is celebrating but those with a heart for the things of God find disheartening. 

Conversely, when we see righteousness reigning in temporal terms, those in rebellion to the Kingdom of God are angry and in anguish. 

Right now, some of the most extreme examples are in the news, with the slaughter of Christians (and others) in the Middle East, the horrific revelations about Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts and even killing babies delivered whole (albeit born by mistake during a botched abortion), and the pictures of Isl*mists celebrating the extension of their brand of Isl*m by violence. 

Our role is to pursue righteousness. Sometimes we simply press on or stand up, sometimes we are called to courageous activism. We are not to be dissuaded by opposition or even hatred of those who oppose what God wants to do. The key is that we need to pursue a kind of “indelible discipleship” that will always stand firm in the face of opposition or even danger. Sadly, more and more of us are going to have to pay a price for fidelity because so much of the surrounding culture is at odds with the design of God’s Kingdom. This does not mean that we have to work to establish a Theocracy; we just need to remain committed to being faithful. 

Without becoming prophets of doom or trying to hide from the world, we should realize that circumstances are getting ever more polarized from God’s priorities. It is not just on the fringes of mission work that the conflicts are stark. It could be with your school board, in your neighborhood, or in your business. We need to prepare our hearts and work on learning to listen to God’s voice to know what to do and when and how to stand. 

There is huge momentum in the culture for faith to be restricted to what goes on in worship services and to be kept private everywhere else. In other words, for us to get along with people, we must allow those with differing views to say whatever they want while we keep silent. That was never God’s design! 

Taking the incarnation as a guide, we are to reach out with the love, power, and redemption of the Kingdom into situations in the world. We don’t merely hold Kingdom truth as intellectual principles but instead work to establish that truth in the world. That doesn’t mean that we try to impose things on others; it just means that we should be clear. When there is a level playing field, the Gospel will always prevail, at least eventually. 

The big question is: When do we go along with a cultural slide, and when do we stand up against it? There are two factors to remember. The first question is: What is God telling us to do in a given situation? When He says to us, “Stand up against this,” then that’s what we should do. 

The second situation is when a course of action is not only obnoxious but actually leads people away from the redeeming love of Christ. In that case, we should stand up. It is important to remember that there may be a high price exacted from standing against the momentum of society. We are not protected with some kind of Kingdom fairy dust that keeps us insulated from paying a price. Sometimes, Christians have to lay down their lives for God’s truth. Interestingly the Book of Revelation puts this in perspective. Earthly life is not the ultimate value. Being faithful even unto death is the standard, because earthly life pales compared with heavenly life. For most of us, the price of faithfulness will be far less than the shedding of our blood, but there are many examples of people in other areas who give up their lives for being faithful to the Gospel and to the Lord. 

Just remember that the voice and breath of God that speaks mercy and life to our hearts is experienced differently by those who rebel against God’s plans. They hear it as judgment. They hear it as destruction. The hear our great foundation stone falling into place as the stumbling block of judgment. When they sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit trying to usher them into a better direction, they experience it as judgment and rejection. That knowledge should help us do a better job of communicating with people. We should be talking about how God desires blessing and abundance for all people. In order to receive that abundance, we have to do what He says is right, not just follow our own desires. 

Others may well have other lists, but there are many things that I see where Christians need to stand up. Among them: 


  • Abortion
  • Religious persecution
  • “Honor” killings
  • The advance of radical Isl*m
  • Church doctrines and practice that draw people away from Christ
  • Human trafficking
  • Abuse of women and children


Surely, you will have your own list. 

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