Prior to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man was spiritually alive for the breath of life was breathed in by God into his nostrils (see Gen 2:7). Hence, prior to the fall, it was perfectly alright for man to breathe from his nostrils.
To digress a little, prior to the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, man’s spirit could be corrupted and die for his spirit was not yet sealed with the blood of Jesus. It is because Adam’s spirit was not yet sealed that his spirit was able to die when he was disobedient to God. But hallelujah, because of the blood of Jesus, our spirit no longer dies when we are disobedient. What a loving God!
Light-bulb moment: The blood protects our spirit-being from corruption. Just as the blood protected the Children of Israel from the angel of destruction in Egypt, the blood protects our spirit-being from being touched by evil. It is the blood that keeps us clean and so guarantees our entry into heaven.
Once Adam’s spirit died, the breath he was drawing from his nostril was no longer the breath of life or the breath that leads to a life of abundance, goodness, and greatness. Because his spirit had died, his breath had become the breath of death – a useless breath that produces only those things that come from death – things that cuts down rather than builds up, destroys relationships, and produces all manner of ungodly things. Prior to Christ, many men were not living but simply existed!
But God is not cruel. Prior to Jesus, he made a way for man to experience life. Although the Holy Spirit could not reside within man, the life of God could be experienced when the Holy Spirit breathed His power into man from the outside. Since man could not breathe life from within, the Holy Spirit became the respirator that sustained man as he waited for Doc Jesus to perform spiritual surgery. Hence, prior to Christ, real life was only experienced by allowing the Holy Spirit to breathe into man’s nostrils.
It was this external breath of God (and not the breath of man) the prophets and men of God in the Old Testament relied upon. It was the breath of God that propelled Abraham to wealth, Isaac to become prosperous, and catapulted Joseph from the pits to the palace. Conversely, those who relied on their own breath such as King Nebuchadnezzar were relegated from the palace to the wilderness. Hence it is clear why Prophet Isaiah warns us to not to keep company with people whose breath is in their nostrils. The ungodly things that come out of them will corrupt our good character.
Food for Thought: When we choose Christ, we choose the ability to live every second of every day. We do not have to go through periods of merely existing.