Imagine stepping out into outer-space for a spacewalk. As you take your first steps out of the international space station into the infinite realm of space, something terrible happens. You feel sick. Your hearing and speaking abilities suddenly vanish. Trapped in a spacesuit, you feel disoriented and can only think of one thing: get back to the space station -fast.

Sound like a sci-fi movie? Actually, it was real life for Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. Some time ago, Parmitano’s life was in jeopardy as he found himself in an unimaginable position.

According to the Associated Press, Partmitano’s life-threatening situation was caused by a leak in his spacesuit’s cooling system which was infiltrating the air in his helmet. The very suit that was designed to protect him from danger was now trapping him in deadly chemicals. What he needed, more than anything, was oxygen.

Fortunately, his spacewalking partner, American Christopher Cassidy, was able to help him into the space station where he discarded his helmet and was able to breathe.

Isn’t it interesting how something as simple as the air we breathe can be the difference between life and death?

In the beginning, God breathed into man’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7). It was the breath of life -the final ingredient that awoke man into consciousness before God.

When man sinned, it was as if (like the astronaut’s space suit) he began breathing the deadly chemicals of sin. The pure air that man breathed had been compromised and would now lead to death (Genesis 2:17). [understand that this is an illustration… death is a result of sin, not bad air]

And just as the astronaut was trapped in a suit designed to enable life, man’s body began to work against him. He felt pain, showed signs of aging, and experienced futility (Genesis 3:16-19). Unless someone intervened, he would surely die. The tainted air of sin is ultimately lethal.

Oh, and did you know the Hebrew and Greek words for Spirit (Ruach & Pneuma) can be translated “breath”? Interestingly, in John 20:22, Jesus “breathed on [the apostles] and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'”

In other words, when we experience rebirth (aka ‘spiritual birth), the breath of the Holy Spirit is breathed into our hearts just as physical breath was breathed into Adam’s nostrils. No longer are we enslaved by our sin-tainted “mortal bodies” (I Corinthians 15:53). We are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) breathing fresh air.

Have you found that fresh air? Are you breathing the breath of new life?

Sometimes, although I have new life, I find myself choosing to breathe tainted air. That’s about as wise as the astronaut walking back into outer space knowing his spacesuit has a deadly malfunction. It just goes to show how delusional our sin really is.

So, today I want to make this old Hymn my prayer:

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
until my heart is clean;
let sunshine fill its inmost part,
with not a cloud between.

Breathe on me, breathe on me
Holy Spirit, breathe on me;
Take Thou my heart, cleanse every part,
Holy Spirit breathe on me.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
my stubborn will subdue;
teach me in words of living flame
what Christ would have me do.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
fill me with pow’r divine;
kindle a flame of love and zeal
within this heart of mine.

Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
till I am all Thine own,
until my will is lost in Thine,
to live for Thee alone.