Spiritual Death by Asphyxiation Part 1

I have a book. Shocker, I know. It’s titled, Howdunit Forensics: A Guide for Writers by D.P. Lyle, M.D.
In chapter 8, Dr. Lyle discusses Asphyxia: Depriving the Body of Oxygen. Trust me, people, I’m going somewhere,  just hang on and breathe deep (pun intended).
There are several ways to deprive someone of oxygen, but as I read through it, the Spirit began to speak to me turning what I read into something spiritual. And I want to share that with you.
Today we’re talking about ways the enemy tries to suffocate you, spiritually.
Environmental Suffocation: “…if the oxygen content of the air is deficient, it is of little use to the body. Normal air is approximately 21 percent oxygen. When this percentage drops to 10 to 15 percent, judgment and coordination suffer…”
The enemy studies us. Creepy, I know. Our weaknesses become apparent to him. Think for a moment about some of yours. I personally have more than one.
Let me tell you one I don’t have. I’m not tempted to gamble (but I never say never and guard myself anyway). I live near casinos, but the thought of spending money, that I’ll probably lose, makes me nauseated because I’d rather spend the money on something I’ll have forever, like house décor or books!
photo credit: Grant Cochrane/freedigitalphotos   
But there are people who fight the urge to take their paycheck to the casinos every day. Those who don’t fight it, don’t understand it.  When my stomach is full, I fight the urge to go back for one more plate, because it just seems so good. And I usually lose that fight. Therefore, I may not have gambled away my money, but I have poured away my self-control and sinned. It’s called gluttony. It really is a sin and not a social faux pas. I’m guilty of it often. Those who don’t fight it say things like, “Just push back from the table. Just stop eating.” If you struggle with it, you understand the difficulty and people like that make it worse not better. An excellent bible study for this can be found here, by Dee Brestin. And here, the Lord’s Table. 
And some women and men struggle with insecurity and their identity. They want to be noticed, loved, and wanted (which is good thing–God made us that way, so we would want Him). And this is the example I’m using today because we live in an adulterous generation.
What is spiritual Environmental Suffocation?
It’s this:
Molly is in her 30’s. She’s been married over ten years, has two children and loves her family, her church, and God. She teaches on Wednesday nights–the girls’ class on purity. She reads her Bible and truly loves Jesus. She wants to do something wonderful for the Kingdom, but she’s not sure what that is yet. She’s been asking God.
Molly goes to work Monday through Friday, just like her husband and on the weekends, they work around the house, shuffle kids to programs and sports and maybe catch a movie once a month as a date night.
One Sunday, Molly fits into a new dress and she’s proud of the few pounds she’s lost. She takes extra care with her make-up and even wears a shoe with a heel! When she steps out of her bedroom, her husband, who loves her very much says, “You look nice.”
Nice? Really? Her heart plummets, but she smiles and say, “Thanks. It’s new.”
After church she and her husband decide to go for a drive, like old times. They laugh, hold hands. He even kisses her knuckles a few times like when they were first dating.
On Monday, Molly wears the same dress to work. Getting her money’s worth. Chris, an attractive man–married– drops a few papers on her desk, makes small talk about little league and as he’s leaving he says, “That dress looks great on you.”
Not nice. Great. And Molly’s heart does something odd…it skips a beat. Someone looked at her and found her attractive.
The oxygen level just went down a few percents.
It was subtle. She didn’t even realize it. But on Tuesday, she takes extra care when she gets ready and lingers before her husband as he sips his coffee. “Have a good day, I’ll be home in time for dinner. Love you.” He kisses her cheek, knowing not to smudge her lipstick, and leaves.
At ten a.m. Chris blows through the office, a frown on his face. He didn’t notice her. But Molly liked the way that felt. So she follows him to the coffee pot. “You okay?”
“Not really.”
She presses, and he tells her about the fight with his wife.
The oxygen level just went down another percent.
*You don’t share intimate details of your life with a person of the opposite sex. It bonds you emotionally.
After the conversation, and good, godly advice from Molly, Chris says, “Did you do something different with your hair?”
photo credit:
George Stojkovic/freedigitalphotos
As the weeks progress, something happens. Molly feels guilty over her feelings for Chris. She’s looking forward to work just to see him. It’s nothing, she just likes the fact she’s being noticed as more than a decade old wife and mother. And she’s helping because some of her advice she’s given Chris has worked. He said so himself. Right? I mean, she’s a Christian who loves God and would never do something like that.
“Hey, you want to grab some lunch? We can take separate cars so it doesn’t look bad.”
The oxygen level has just plummeted to about 10% causing judgment to suffer.
“Sure. Where?”
And in a few more weeks of that a full-blown affair has taken place. It’s been going on emotionally for awhile, but one day instead of lunch, they end up at a hotel.
photo credit:
Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos
“…below 10 percent loss of consciousness occurs, and at around 8 percent death is all but assured.”
This is how the enemy suffocates us environmentally. He uses settings to trap us. It’s subtle.
He slowly takes away the oxygen level. Until we’re operating in the flesh. We like the way whatever he’s dangling at us feels. We stop praying because we don’t like the conviction. We stop reading the Bible for the same reasons. We don’t switch on praise music in the car.
The levels continue to drop. Until, we refuse to hear the wooing of God.
“… he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Proverbs 28:14
Had Chris come onto her in a huge flirtatious way, she probably would have seen the red flags and ran. Chris didn’t see her neediness, she was only helping him and yeah, she looked pretty and maybe he felt guilty for saying it, but she cared enough to help him. And his wife didn’t seem as interested.
Slow deprivation of air.
I don’t need to re-enact the aftermath of the affair, we all know they never turn out well. They destroy families, friendships, and ourselves.
Maybe this has been you. Maybe you’re in the aftermath. Maybe it’s not an affair, but something else you’re weak to–a setting the enemy has created to rob you of life-giving air.
Know this:
God never quits. He can take the aftermath and bring healing and beauty. It may not be in the form of getting your family back, but it could be. Either way, He’ll forgive you. He can reshape your life and who you are.
photo credit: freedigitalphotos(dot)net
He can breathe new life back into you. Bring the oxygen level up to keep you going for days, months, years.
But it’s important to pay attention. Pray God will use His Spirit to nudge you when the levels drop. To guard you against falling into temptation and give you the strength to withstand the strikes of the enemy.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. ” 1 Corinthians 10:12-14
God always makes a way! Don’t let the enemy hide the door to get out, don’t let him fool you into thinking you can’t escape. You can. We can.
Next Wednesday, we’ll look at ways the enemy suffocates us through smothering.
I’m over at LivingBy Grace! Come over and let’s chat about environment.
Have you ever said, “I’ll never do that.” And found yourself in that exact sin? You don’t have to be specific, just share how God brought you out and what you learned.

32 thoughts on “Spiritual Death by Asphyxiation Part 1

  1. Girl, this post is so powerful I don't even know where to begin commenting. I immediately thought of fire. I know, weird right? But fire needs oxygen. Remove oxygen slowly and the fire gets smaller and smaller until it's out. No fire – no light. We're trapped in darkness, suffocated by the enemy with no air to call out. Thank God that the Holy Spirit maps the places we fall. And cries out when we can't. You gave me goose bumps and one doozie of a keeper post. Wow!

    1. That's not weird at all! Great insight, fiend! Thanks, Donna. Your encouragement means so much to me! Seriously.

  2. Great writing and a great message!

    1. Thanks, lady!

  3. This is soooo true. That scenario was right on. I love your perspective in this post and feel it's Godly. It's so easy to judge someone for something we don't struggle with, and easy to fail to see our own sins.

    1. I've been guilty of failing to see my own sins. Thanks, Jess!

  4. What a thought provoking post, Jessica! Strong message. And yes, I can say that I have dealt with sins that I keep returning to. That gluttony thing is a bugger.

    1. Thanks, Sherrinda! I can relate. That's why I posted those Bible studies. They were both eye-openers for me.

  5. Oh – this is sooooo good. That's why God tells us to Stay Alert. The devil prowls around us, looking for somebody to devour.

    Also….this verse comes to mind: Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

    It's always such a subtle downward slope, isn't it?

    The world screams, "Do what feels good!!" Yet those things that feel good lead to addiction and depression and broken marriages and broken hearts.

    This is such a good post, Jessica.

    Reminds me of that song….It's a Slow Fade!! Oh my goodness, I totally forgot about that song. Do you know it?

    Check this out. Super super powerful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QASREBVDsLk

    1. Katie, I love that song and your wisdom. Awesome scriptures to go along with today's post. I'll be thinking on them for sure!

  6. Sorry…I'm back.

    Here's one of the lines from the song.

    "Be careful little eyes what you see.
    It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings."

    So true!

    It also says "People never crumble in a day"

    1. Never be sorry for coming back, girl! 🙂

  7. This is poignant, Jess. Seriously. It's that subtlety thing that's the worst. But that's why we need posts like yours…to remind us even the little blips can be satan's attempt to suck us in. We need to recognize the blips for what they are – strategy. The good thing is, we get to fight back with a strategy that can be summed up in one word: Jesus.

    1. Thanks, Tagg. You nailed it. We can fight back! If we're paying attention. Which sometimes, I'm not. 🙁

  8. Great post. Hubby and I always talk that you don't just JUMP into sin, all too often it's a little erosion here and there until the ground is gone beneath you and you never noticed. Yet, it's still a struggle to remain so close to God that we hear Him whisper…the enemy is crafty and just when you think you've got him pegged he changes his tactic. Love what you shared today, Jess!

    1. So true, Susan. Changing tactics to keep us off guard. I'm glad that the Word says we know his wiles. And even when we fall into the trap, God gives us a way out. Good insight!

  9. Love, love, love this post. Love your heart behind this post. Love the wisdom behind this post. We studied this type of situation in our Sunday School class. I think the book it was based on was called Close Calls. A couple in our class–so they're only in their twenties–described how one of them fell into an affair with a day-to-day slow fade like the one you described. God brought them out, and their marriage is stronger than ever, but it took a toll. It destroyed trust, which is hard to rebuild. But God can do it. I really think that ONLY God can do it in situations like this.

    And I definitely struggle with the gluttony one. I heard about a book on the radio–Made to Crave–that I'm hoping will help remind me to satisfy myself with the Lord and not with food.

    1. I agree, Linds. I think only God can do it in situations like that. I have a good friend who went through something similar as well and it is only the grace of God that gets her through. I watch and am amazed by them and their testimony!

  10. A great – powerful – example! We've really got to watch the little things, like you said, and be diligent and committed to talking things out with God and our spouse.

    1. Thanks, Stacy! I agree that talking and consistent communication with your spouse is key! Great insight!

  11. Such a wise post! Great writing!

    The enemy lurks everywhere…even in the smallest compliment…Wow!

    1. Thanks, Loree!

  12. Great message today, Jessica. Satan is so sneaky the way he creeps in and sucks the oxygen out of us, little by little. I still struggle sometimes with maintaining a positive attitude, but in the past, I was really bad. Satan had no trouble pointing out things that would contribute to sour thinking. Now I know that it takes constant reading of the Bible and praying to God to combat this.

    1. Great points, Brandi! I've been on the sour-thinking train before too.

  13. This is so true. I watched a show a few weeks ago called "Unfaithful." It's a reality show that chronicles two different couples and how a spouse betrayed them. It always started subtly.

    1. I've never seen that one! What channel is it on?

  14. Wow, great post. I personally had to quit a job I loved because of all the infidelity around me. It got to the point where I had to have my Bible open on my desk at all times to keep me focused because there was so much sin around me.

    I was married and in my late twenties and into my early thirties and I was considered attractive. I worked with lawyers who made a lot of money. I could always tell the ones who were unhappily married: they were the ones who flirted with me. The happily married guys kept it to "hello". I admired that about them.

    So, although I never fell for all the temptations, the answer came to me one night when I was invited to Happy Hour after work and I actually thought about going. I rationalized it inside my head!What's wrong with a little drink with friends?? That's when the Holy Spirit said, "Enough. It's time to quit…" and I agreed. I told my husband that night and told my boss the next week that I had to quit.

    So glad I listened because that slow drip, drip, drip is REAL and can turn even the strongest of Christians away from the Truth.

    Thanks for this post!

    1. Ruth, this is an amazing comment. I'm so glad you got out when you could. I've been in the same type of working environment. God always gives us an escape, it's if we want to take it that makes or breaks us.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. Excellent post, and you are SO right. If the changes are incremental, it's way easier to slide into something that's detrimental or downright toxic. We get used to the changes, and we don't notice where we are until it's too late. Asphyxiation is a great parallel/analogy. Slow spiritual asphyxiation!

  16. Wow! You are awesome at giving excellent descriptions of biblical truths!! Thanks!!

  17. This is an incredible parallel. I have had the oxygen sucked right out of me. I've followed my wandering heart to places God never wanted me to go. So thankful He goes looking for sheep that wander off.

  18. Great truths here, Jess! Wonderful analogy, too. Our enemy is very clever and he's out to win the war. So important to guard our hearts! Hugs & God bless!


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