If you were to search the song title “Breathe In, Breathe Out” on Rapgenius, you would find two very different entries. The first was put out by Kanye West on College Dropout (2004), and it’s rhymes are concerned with…well, let the man speak for himself: “now I’m rappin bout money, h*#s, and rims again.”
However, the second entry is off the 116 Clique’s Compilation Album (2008), and the title, also “Breathe In, Breathe Out” (a clear homage to Kanye’s earlier song), is actually about a believer’s relationship with God’s Word. Unlike much of the rap world where “breathing in” usually has to do with inhaling controlled substances, Lecrae spends his bars explaining how naive he was as a new Christian.
I know this song is six years old, and many of you have probably already heard it. However, Lecrae’s personal experiences as a young Christian are familiar to every new generation of believers. In his first two verses, he talks about how his immaturity in the faith led him to believe that zeal was more important than time in God’s Word. When Christian brothers and sisters sought to disciple and teach him, his attitude was, “Man they couldn’t tell me nothing, thought that I was on to something, and I was running all directions, just a brother trying to gun it.”
He neglected God’s Word, which was meant to be breathed in and out daily by believers. Instead, he excused himself from time God’s Word: “I was telling folks I know the Spirit got my back, but I never picked the Word up and read the facts.” As he grew in his faith, he realized two things: the importance of God’s Word and the necessity of discipleship. Before, he thought other believers were just trying to kill his religious buzz, when in fact they were just trying to help him to grow in wisdom and understanding. Before, he thought God’s Word was for some believers, but he learned that God’s Word is essential for every believer.
In his final verse, he talks about a conversation he had with a friend:
And he told me theology was for them birds
And he really didn’t need it when he read the Word
Look left, Look right for a sign from God
But he didn’t know the word was inspired by God
Telling people bout a couple funny things he heard
But the things that he heard they ain’t match the Word
If they don’t match the Word, well, they ain’t true
Cuz the Bible is the final say on the things we do
As Lecrae began to pour into the life of his friend, he began to show him how important that what we believe and do actually match up to God’s Word. He explained to his brother that reading God’s Word is not optional; it’s for all believers. The Spirit worked in his friend’s heart, and as he began to spend time in God’s Word, his life was changed, and his desire for time in the Word grew daily.
I appreciate Lecrae’s honesty, and I think his experience is not uncommon among so many Christians–both old and new. We have to realize that God’s Word is like air: we can’t survive without it. If we expect to breathe out things that are honoring to God (i.e. acts of love, words of truth, etc.), we have to spend time breathing in the love and truth of the Bible.
Besides, I can’t help but promote a song that encourages us to “Do the hot, hot…hot in the church!”