I came that they may have life, and
may have it abundantly.
All life life is the breath of God. When God created man He "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Life then, that mysterious something which man has tried in vain to analyze, to weigh, and to measure, even to produce; life, I say, is the breath of God.
"The Spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty giveth me life."
Is it any wonder that man tries in vain to catch this life principle, to harness it, to produce it?
There is but one kind of life in the universe.
All life is divine; all life is the breath of God. All life is God made manifest, and the manifestation varies according to the degree, so to speak, in which God, the breath of life, comes forth into visibility through the various forms, "according to the measure of the gift" In the rock an invisible something holds the atoms from flying off from one another, as would be their natural bent. Natural science calls this the force of cohesion. Cohesive force is but another name for the breath of God pervading the atoms of the rocks. Life in the vegetable, the grass, the tree is all one and the same life manifested in larger measure than in the rock. Man is the fullest, highest form of God manifested as life.
We read that "in the beginning" this mysterious something, which we cannot see, feel, or handle but which is plainly stated to be the "breath of God," was breathed into clay man and "man became a living soul." Has the manner of creation changed any since the "first beginning"? Is it not "in the beginning" for every new creation today? Is not the life of every being the very breath of God today just
as much as it ever was? Are not we all equally His children, His offspring by inheritance? Yea, verily.
God's breath is what God is; that is, it is of the same nature and substance. If God is life, His breath is life. If God's breath is our life that life must be like God, eternal in every child He creates. Without that breath of God given individually none of us could exist today. Neither the soul of man nor the body of man has life in itself. Both are made alive and kept alive momently by the Spirit that is God pervading and permeating them. "It is the Spirit that giveth life." "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Jesus came that we might have life and that we might "have it abundantly." He came to show us our true relation to the source of all life, and to teach us how to draw consciously upon God our Father for more abundant life as we need it. This does not mean spiritual life alone but life for the entire being. Is our heart cold, and is our love dead? We cannot analyze love, we cannot work it up at will; but we know that God is love and love is God. What we need
is more of God, love, breathed into our hearts until we are surcharged and transformed into new creatures by divine love. "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit." Something was given by His breathing on them.
Do we lack wisdom? It is not more laborious study that we need in order to obtain it, but a fresh supply of Omni-science -- all-Knowledge, All-Wisdom -- breathed into this intellect by Him who "giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not." It is more of the breath of the living God we need.
If we are weak and unstable in character, if we are failures mentally, spiritually, or physically, if we feel ourselves in any way bound or limited, it is because we need more of this mysterious breath of God, which is power, life, freedom. "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living," said Jesus.
Health is more life. Drugs will not give life. Travel and change of scene, so often resorted to in illness of mind and body, will not give life except in so far as they tend to relax the tense, rigid mind and body of man and permit
God — who is always in process of outgoing as life toward us His children — to flow in to fill the lack. We do not have to beseech God. Life more abundant rushes into the souls and bodies of men, as air does into a vacuum, the moment they learn how consciously to relax and, turning toward God, let it.
People who are persistently ill or unsuccessful in any way say they are tired of it all and want to die. They know not what they say. They do not understand. It is not death they want but more life. This breath of the Almighty is to us the only health and strength, the only power and success of either mind or body. "With thee is the fountain of life." "Whoso findeth me findeth life." "In him [Christ, this very Christ who now lives within each one of us] was life; and the life was the light of men." "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
Life is God's gift. The outer life is but the outflowing of the inner life; and that inner life
is momentarily fed from the fountain of life through Christ at the center of our being. God gives His own life freely to all who can receive it.
If this be true, that the breath of the Almighty is the only health of mind or body, why look elsewhere?
What then are we to do ?
Change our minds. Turn around. If through ignorance of the only and unfailing source of all life we have turned our backs upon God and our faces toward human helps, like drugs, change of environment, and the like, let us halt, face about!
"Ye would not come to me, that ye may have life," says the Christ of God today as much as He did through the lips of the Master nineteen hundred years ago. "He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not." "I am the resurrection, and the life," says this same Christ within you today. Notice that it is "I am," not "I will be," present tense, not future. "He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live." It is as though He said, "He that believeth on Me as the source of his life and turns away
from human ways to Me as the Way, even if he seems to be at the very last gasp of his soul, body, or circumstances, I say he shall be made alive by the same power that was able to raise up Jesus from the dead."
God's gifts are to all alike; but we have to learn how to receive freely that which He gives, how to open ourselves to the inflow of divine life through the Christ at the center of our being, exactly as we would open ourselves to the warm rays of the sun. "As many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Elsewhere we have said that all conscious taking or receiving from God is a mental process. The human mind believes itself, in the matter of life, cut off from God, a separate being, something apart from God. This belief is not correct. The wire of communication between the Creator and His creations is never cut, the channel of inflowing divine life never closed. Each individual blade of grass receives its life, its springtime renewing force, as directly from the fountain of all life as though it were the only
thing in the universe. Each sparrow draws its life directly from the same source. "Ye are of more value than many sparrows."
How can man by mental process stimulate and increase this inflow of divine life? How can even the least of us consciously draw upon the inexhaustible Fountain for the life more abundant that we need for soul, body, and circumstances?
"The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life," said the Master. Words. Is there any power or life in words? Let us see. "Only say the word, and my servant shall be healed," said the centurion. That was all that was done; but a little farther on we read, "The servant was healed in that hour."
"He sendeth his word and healeth them, And delivereth them from their destructions."
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please."
All words of Truth are alive with an invisible energy that has power to work miracles. Truth is
mighty to accomplish results, but in order to do so it must be spoken into activity. It must be put into words. The same Christ who said, "I am ... the life," said also, "I am ... the truth." Life, Truth, Christ are one. The words of Truth that you and I speak in the name and spirit of the Master, become His words, full of life and health. Such words set into motion the invisible energy that accomplishes results, and nothing is accomplished when it is quiescent.
Speaking definite, positive words of assurance to oneself or to another has marvelous power to lift and transform, power to fill the fearful, trembling heart and the suffering body with a consciousness of the real living presence of God. There is wondrous life-giving power in definitely and vigorously compelling oneself to "sing unto him [Jehovah] a new song," even making it a song of praise and thanksgiving for benefits. Everyone has power through his will, apart from any feeling if need be, to follow the prophet's advice, "Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah." No matter how deep or poignant his misery, a person can compel himself by mere will power to look up to God and say,
"Bless Jehovah, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
Who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy desire with good things."
No matter whether you feel like it or not, say it. Put it into words. Out of the depths of misery begin sincerely and earnestly to speak words of praise and thanksgiving, and soon you will find yourself involuntarily saying,
"I will fear no evil; for thou art with me ... My cup runneth over."
This is God's way of working to deliver us out of our troubles. Thus He comforts us and gives newness of life through our first "speaking comfortably" to ourselves and to Him the words of Truth. Such words have power to free the channel between our own centers of life and the fountain of all life—channels that may have
become clogged by our selfishness or ignorance —so that a great, surging influx of new life can take place. "Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." Praise and thanksgiving open wide the gates to salvation.
You may say, "Of what avail is all this except to uplift my thought, making it easier for me to bear my trouble, illness, sorrow? It cannot change the real, visible conditions." Yes, it can and does. Lazarus was as dead as he ever could be and there was no faintest stirring of life when Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee." Jesus understood that the gates in the wall of salvation from this death would fly wide open at the paean of praise. Every instant that our hearts are thus uplifted in the spirit of gratitude (which, remember, is aroused by our first beginning to speak words of gratitude for benefits received) this mighty energy that we have spoken of and that is none other or less than the Spirit of the living God, is working to change, restore, and heal the very trouble that seems about to destroy us.
Oh, how many times this has been proved by those of God's children who, in some degree
at least, have come to know the way of the Father's working even as Jesus knew it. How many times they have proven that the solution of the problem, the healing of the illness, depended not upon human effort but entirely upon taking the thought altogether off from the distress and centering it, by main force of will if need be, upon thanking and blessing God for all His benefits. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith Jehovah of hosts," is the work accomplished. This is a spiritual law, infallible and unchangeable, a law that works; and many times it is the only thing that does work.
No one is so weak in will but that he can thus compel himself to "take . . . words, and return unto Jehovah," even as he would take hold of a mighty lever to lift a heavy weight.
"He that will, let him take the water of life freely."
Preceding Entry: God a Present Help 23-34: 2. The Will of God
Following Entry: God a Present Help 51-59: 4. Christ in You