The Importance of Oxygen
Most people can live about 40 days without food; they can live about 4 days without water, but they can’t live more than about 4 minutes without oxygen.
As you read these words, your chest is softly, rhythmically, and automatically rising and falling as air enters into and exits your lungs. You probably weren’t even consciously aware of this until I called it to your attention. Yet, without this intake of air, which contains oxygen, your physical life would come to an abrupt end. The Bible says:
Clearly God used two separate and distinct steps in the creation of man.
First, He formed man of the “dust of the ground”; when a body is placed in the ground, it eventually reduces to the same ingredients from which man was originally formed: mineral ash or “dust of the ground.”
So after step one, God had nothing but a dead, lifeless body to work with – it is devoid of LIFE.
- Why is it motionless and lifeless?
- What makes the difference between life and death?
Answering these questions brings us to the most basic and important substance in man: oxygen! It is an ingredient of such monumental importance that without it, life is absolutely impossible.
God breathed into Adam’s dead and lifeless body the “breath of life,” and that dead body comprised of all those dead minerals suddenly became a living person! Of course, just as oxygen was so absolutely necessary to produce life in Adam, it is that oxygen itself that is absolutely vital and necessary to sustain life in our physical bodies to this very day.
Most of us know that at birth, a child’s first and most basic need must be met: oxygen – the same “breath of life” that God breathed into Adam at creation. When the baby takes into her little body that first breath, we immediately see the chest start to rise and fall as it rhythmically and automatically continues to take this “breath of life” into her lungs, breathing in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide throughout life.
Most of the time we are not even consciously aware this process is taking place! Yet, if our oxygen supply were to be cut off in just a few seconds, we would quickly become aware of our need for oxygen.
How Smoking Affects Oxygen Intake
Few people who smoke realize that smoking dwindles their body’s oxygen supply, as the tars in the smoke slowly build up on the lining of their lungs. After a person has smoked for a period of time, their lungs take on the appearance of the inside of a wood stove chimney that is lined with black sticky creosote.
This coating of the lungs with tars, restricts the intake of oxygen and the person slowly but surely suffocates the body’s cells, depriving them of their most important need: oxygen! And if that isn’t bad enough, tobacco smoke also contains carbon monoxide, the same deadly substance found in automobile exhaust.
Carbon monoxide combines with the hemoglobin in the blood and reduces its oxygen carrying capacity. This decrease in oxygen causes the heart to pump faster to try and make up for the deficiency, constricts the blood vessels, thus creating poor circulation and there is so much more.
If you are a smoker, and love life, please STOP smoking right now! And yes, you can stop smoking if you really want to. Thousands of other people are quitting every day. The bible says:
But that verse doesn’t mean God will intercede and do it for you by simply asking Him to do so in prayer. If you desire the victory, you must take note of the first three words of that verse, take them to heart, and apply them.
When the Bible says “I can do…” it means that you must participate if you want the victory.
In other words God is not going to do it for you.
If you want the victory over smoking you must determine in your heart that you desperately want to quit and if you will do your part, then God will do His part in strengthening you so that you can achieve victory. You have got to be personally involved if you desire the victory.
“The greatest need of the body is pure air!”
Oxygen – To It We Owe Our Life
Let’s explore this subject of “oxygen” and see what we can learn.
First, our body is a living organism, comprised of approximately 100 trillion living cells. Each of these cells is a miniature generator, which requires fuel in the form of nutrients from our foods and oxygen from the air.
When we breathe we take in oxygen through our lungs which is then placed into the blood. When we eat or drink, after digestion, the nutrients in the foods we eat and drink are then placed in the blood along with the oxygen. The blood then dumps the oxygen and nutrients into the extracellular fluid which surrounds each cell.
The living cells, which comprise our entire body, then take in this oxygen and the nutrients from the extracellular fluid which surrounds each cell and burns that oxygen and nutrient-rich fuel into its own cell generator. After the burn, this spent fuel, which is now toxic, is dumped back into the extracellular fluid for removal from the body.
The quality of the air we breathe and the quality of the foods we eat, along with exercise and the adequacy and efficiency of the waste disposal system, determines the quality of cells, our health, and the length of our life.
The Greatest Need of Our Body
In my first book, Why Christians Get Sick, written some 30 years ago, I listed God’s seven natural laws for wellness. In that list I make this important statement:
Let’s look at some facts about oxygen:
- The quality of the air (its purity) we breathe affects the quality and length of life we live. Breathing good clean fresh air increases the quality and length of our life. Breathing polluted air decreases the quality and length of life!
- Increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain (through deep breathing and exercise) will cause mental abilities to increase and the brain will become more alert. Decrease the supply of oxygen to the brain (through smoking, air pollution and a sedentary life) and the brain’s mental abilities will decrease and become sluggish. Cut off the oxygen supply to the brain for only a few brief moments (as during a stroke) and parts of the brain will die. Interrupt the oxygen containing blood supply to the heart and a heart attack results, and if totally shut off the person dies.
- Increase the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells and the body becomes full of energy and life. Decrease the supply of oxygen to the cells and the body fails to provide the energy necessary to perform properly, and we feel tired, sluggish and listless.
- An increase in the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells helps us mentally and emotionally, and we become happy and optimistic! Decrease the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells and we become discouraged, depressed and pessimistic!
- Increase the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells and sickness has difficulty obtaining a foothold! Decrease the supply of oxygen to the body’s cells and it provides the breeding ground for sickness. Sickness and disease have great difficulty surviving in a well oxygenated atmosphere, but they proliferate in an oxygen deficient atmosphere.
We could go on, but the above should be adequate to show the importance, yea the imperative of making sure our bodies receive an adequate supply of oxygen so that we can experience life to the fullest. In John 10:10, Jesus said:
How To Increase Oxygen Intake
- Exercise – One of the best ways to increase oxygen intake is through daily vigorous exercise. Exercise, especially vigorous aerobic exercise, automatically requires the body to take in copious amounts of oxygen rich air.
- Deep Breathing – Learn to breathe deeply – make it a habit. Try counting as you inhale till your lungs are full, and whatever that number is, exhale for the same number. Over time you will increase the number of intakes and exhales, thus increasing oxygen intake and increasing lung capacity. (My current number of inhales and exhales at age 81 is 12.)
- If You Smoke, Stop! – Smoking coats the lungs with tars that hinder oxygen uptake, which slowly suffocates the body’s cells.
- Sleep With Windows Open – The fresher the source of oxygen-containing air, the better.
- Drink Raw Vegetable Juices – Another way to oxygenate the body is through the daily drinking of freshly extracted, raw, oxygen-rich vegetable juices.
Remember – When a body is well oxygenated, it is difficult for disease to take hold and flourish. A poorly oxygenated body is ripe for disease and allows disease to obtain a foothold and flourish.
I personally do not smoke, I sleep with the window open, practice deep breathing, drink freshly extracted vegetable juices and, almost daily, speed walk at least 4 miles because I realize that in addition to my 100% plant-based diet, it is imperative that I keep my body well exercised and oxygenated.