Swimming in the deep end
By what method do you receive revelation from God? What I mean by that is: By what method do YOU receive revelation from GOD? Recently I've been asking people this question and the most frequent responses might surprise you.
1. They get it from "the Holy Spirit" in some kind of personal download.
2. They get it at church from speakers and/or through worship.
Both of these methods are viable and even important. Yet if we scrutinize each we will find that neither provides depth of understanding or the kind of revelation that will alter our spiritual DNA, grow us to maturity in Jesus, and draw people to Jesus through our abundant fruit.
Let's look closer.
Consider that a primary method of receiving revelation through hearing directly from the Holy Spirit requires us to sort through a cacophony of voices. In our personal atmosphere we daily sort out all kinds of sounds. The sound of our own voice or thoughts, others voices, the accusers voice, all kinds of sound machines blasting the airwaves with information, distractions and dilutions. Even if we are experts at 2 Corinthians 10 and "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ", it is still a time consuming affair. From all of that, we can and should be able to hear the Holy Spirit. But let me ask you. When was the last time you heard the Holy Spirit's voice so clearly and thorough AND included a depth of understanding that changed your spiritual DNA forever never to return to old patterns? I find frequently the Holy Spirit gives me personal clues but these are intended to lead me places that I have to be intentional to discover.
What about having our primary source of Godly revelation coming from and through others? I welcome hearing His brilliance through the articulated message from His children, yet they too provide me clues and concepts that lead me in a pursuit. I love the seeds of righteousness others plant for me to take hold of. But those seeds need watering.
The Holy Spirit whispers concepts and frequently uses others to whisper concepts that require much more attention than simply letting the whisper work on its own. In order to commit them to my spirit and affect a real shift toward righteousness I find I need to be intentional to study. .
I've noted that through an intentional and demonic assignment, believers have become so inundated with distractions (many of them seem very good on the surface) that they have little time dedicated to deep, personal study of God's word. When convicted on the topic, many of us turn to commonly taught gimmicks to get us realigned. We "read through the bible in a year"; "read this 15 minute daily devotion"; "download an app to listen to the word on the way to work". Please don't get me wrong, these are all good. They just aren't a substitution for deep study and pursuing God's heart in the word. Whispers are opportunities not the whole. The available depth of understanding comes from deep pursuit. Deep pursuit is intentional and disciplined.
Did you ever wonder how Jesus by the age of 12 years old caused the teachers in the synagogue to marvel? Or how He taught the people "as one who had authority"? Or how He knew the scriptures so well that he was never upended by the pharisees and teachers. Jesus not only knew the words of the scripture He sought and understood the heart of the Father through scripture. It's too easy to believe that Jesus received this all simply organically as the Son of God. That theology leave us out of the possibilities Jesus consistently pointed us to. Jesus was a clear student of God's word as it manifests God's heart.
I believe Jesus wants us to teach as one who has authority because we do have the authority. When Jesus gave to us the Glory the Father gave to Him, I believe He gave us access to the same authority He carried while on earth. But we are not going to receive sitting around waiting for the atmosphere to give it to us through some weird form of absorption. We too, have the wonderful option to pursue it.
Over the next two blogs I'll discuss some study tips that go beyond simply reading the bible because that's what Christians are supposed to do. We will develop a hunger for the depth of understanding that changes our spiritual DNA forever. As our study works in us - it flows out from us to others - a contagious pursuit of a deep and loving relationship that is worthy of the gospel of the Kingdom of our God.
Change the world anyone?