Don't Hold Your Breath
May 27, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. - Titus 2:11-14 NKJV.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? - 1 John 5:3-5 NKJV.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. - 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV.
Near Manning, Oregon is a the Highway 26 tunnel and it takes about ten seconds to pass through the tunnel at the 55 mph speed limit. Daniel J. Calhon, however, didn’t make it through the tunnel. He had an accident, and it resulted in himself and three other people going to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. What caused Daniel to have an accident? He told police officers that he was holding his breath as he went through the tunnel and passed out. State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said that people sometimes hold their breath through tunnels as part of a game or superstition. Hastings also said that investigators did not believe drugs or alcohol were involved. Daniel Calhon has been charged with reckless driving, three counts of reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault. (The Oregonian; AP; various other news venues 05.26.14)
One person that commented on this article noted that holding your breath for ten seconds does not usually cause a person to lose consciousness. He said this: “Do a search on "huffing driving" to see what I'm talking about, and I'm assuming the police looked for bottles of compressed air? I have second hand experience on this one - a friend's now deceased wife was a huffer and passed out several times while inhaling air and driving (as well as other places). She drowned after huffing, passing out in the bathtub.” It is shocking to think that people could be driving around do that!
Holding your breath for a Christian is like trying to live a sinful, worldly life after you have been “born again.” You can hold your breath for 30 seconds or so, but you cannot do it for days or even hours at a time. Your nature, once you have been “born again,” has been changed, transformed (2 Corinthians 5:17) and you cannot continue on the same path of life you were on before. You may be able to do it for a while, but your new nature will have to come up for a breath of air at some point. If you persist in holding your breath, there will be consequences. Physically, holding your breath can have consequences, some severe as we see with what happened to Daniel Calhoun. Spiritually, holding your breath will have consequences too, because “the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23),” and those wages must be paid.
Why do people try to hold their breath spiritually? I think the number one reason is succumbing to temptation. There is a continual spiritual pressure upon Christians from the world, the flesh, and the devil. However, God will provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we must choose to take God’s way. Another reason is that people become angry with God and they throw a temper tantrum by spiritually holding their breath. Little children sometimes have temper tantrums. Here are the top five things that have been reported that children do when having a temper tantrum: Scream, stomp, kick, cry, and hold their breath. I have seen kids do all of those things. To stop children from holding their breath, some parents have resorted to throwing cold water on them to break the habit.
If you think that you will gain God’s attention by throwing a spiritual temper tantrum, it may happen. Jonah (Jonah 1:17) threw a spiritual fit and what happened to him? He ended up in the belly of a great fish. Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:17, 26; Luke 17:32) looked back, and turned into a pillar of salt. Ananias and Sapphira ended up dead (Acts 5), and it didn’t work out very well for Adam and Eve either (Genesis 3). So if you are thinking about not doing what you know God wants you to do or doing what you know He doesn’t want you to do, here’s my advice to you and to myself: Don’t hold your breath, DO WHAT GOD WANTS!