The Air I Breathe – Louie Giglio

Making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland

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The Air I Breathe – Louie Giglio

Think back to the summer of ’99. It was the year of the bilingual popstar. Ricky Martin was going Livin’ La Vida Loca, Geri Halliwell finally found Mi Chico Latino and, my personal favourite, the Vengaboys with the classic Boom Boom Boom Boom!!

You may have been sat at home, dunking your biscuits watching The Powerpuff Girls. I, however, was sat in a tent in the rain in a muddy field somewhere in Somerset drying my underwear using a portable gas stove. (The trick is to make sure that the frying pan isn’t too hot. Oh yes, and never, ever use butter.)

This was Soul Survivor ’99 and the Lord was seriously challenging me with regards to the depth of my walk, my theological presuppositions and my pursuit of him.

And this year was the first time I heard Louie Giglio preach. Each morning he took us through 1 Samuel, the life of David and the journey of the Ark of the Covenant from captivity into Jerusalem. The way Louie Giglio handled the Scriptures was an absolute revelation to me. His preaching was immense.

Two years later I remember excitedly pre-ordering this, his first book proper, and eagerly reading it in two days flat.

The Air I Breathe rightly addresses and defines worship in the broadest possible terms. Louie Giglio understands that worship is the activity of the human heart directed towards whatever we value the most. The implication of this truth is that every human being on the planet is, in essence, a worshipper. And, at its core, unbelief is misdirected worship and misdirected worship is, in fact, idolatry.

So how do you know where and what you worship?

It’s easy. You simply follow the trail of your time, your affections, your energy, your money, and your allegiance. At the end of that trail you’ll find a throne; and whatever, or whomever, is on that throne is what’s of highest value to you. On that throne is what you worship. (p. 11)

This changes the way in which we view evangelism, salvation and our ongoing sanctification. Suddenly the issue become not whether we worship or not worship, but rather where our worship is directed. Louie writes, ‘Worship […] matters because every day there’s a battle for your worship’ (p. 30). The challenge of this book, therefore, is to see Christ more clearly and, as we do so, we see that he is most valuable. This book calls us to expend our worship upon that which is most valuable and most glorious. The Air I Breathe calls people to worship the living God, because he is the only fitting and worthy end of our worship.

Louie understands that worship begins with seeing and that this seeing is only possible because God reveals himself,

Worship is our response to God. In other words, we don’t initiate worship; God does.

He reveals; we respond.

He discloses; we respond.

He unveils; we respond.

He chooses to show us how amazing He is; we say, ‘God, You’re amazing!’ (v. 51)

The Air I Breathe strongly gestures towards Dr John Piper’s Desiring God (reviewed here). Both Dr Piper and Louie Giglio are concerned with calling believers to abandon their weak, worthless devotion to lesser gods and instead to pursue Him. Both understand that, in doing so, we are engaging in the activity for which we were created and, as we do so, we find complete satisfaction in Him. Jesus said, ‘I come that they may have life and have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).

In this respect, The Air I Breathe is a difficult read, Louie Giglio challenges us to identify and abandon idolatry wherever we might find it in our lives and instead to draw near to and eagerly pursue Christ. On the other hand, however, this book is both accessible (I would have no hesitation recommending this to a new believer) and short (103 pages in my edition).

The application of the message of this book is broad; Louie Giglio encourages believers to understand worship rightly as incorporating every area of our lives. When taken seriously, such a challenge inevitably becomes life changing. It is crucial that believers and the Church of Christ continue to take this challenge most seriously and, as we do so, we see Christ most glorified in us. As this happens a lost and dark world will begin to see Him and, as we see, we pray that they too would come to worship him.

Andy Evans

To purchase The Air I Breathe, click here.