Friday, April 4, 2008
More Simple Ways to Quench the Spirit and Protect Your Heart from Experiencing Intimacy with God
7.) Perpetually second-guess any moments or instances of peace or hope that you are tempted to enjoy.
("Despise not the day of small things..." Zech. 4:10)
8.) Overdefine what it means to experience God's presence, so that your definition rules out the following:
a.) everything that is not explicitly "religious" in content/tone
b.) everything associated with the imperfect, the incomplete; the stunted and the stunned; the distracted, the dislocated; the torn, the tossed, and the turning; the ragged, rotting, and raw; the botched and the bleeding; the broken, the unspoken; the tentative and the trembling--everything that struggles and staggers, all that is perplexing, under-the-radar, out-of-your-control.
c.) anything that doesn't "feel" like "something"
d.) anything you haven't "earned" in some way
e.) anything that is familiar to you
("Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, 'Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.'
But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, 'I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?" He turned and went away in a rage.
But his servants approached and said to him, 'Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, "Wash, and be clean"?' So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean." 2 Kings 5)
9.) Take personally each of your thoughts, emotions, and transitory physical states--they are all your fault, and every one of them of them accurately and completely represents your spiritual condition. You are not inadvertently absorbing any of them from situations and people in your vicinity or in your world, and none of them is coming as a stealth attack or even a bombardment from the enemy of your soul, whose strategy is to first torment you and then blame you for the torment.
( "Put on the whole armor of God,so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood & flesh,but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the cosmic powers of this present darkness,against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God,so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day,and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of trutharound your waist,and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whateverwill make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith,with which you will be able to quenchall the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation,and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. Ephesian 6:11)
10.) Remember that monitoring and immediately confessing to God every single imperfect thought, feeling, impulse, or mental image is much more important than delighting, however brokenly, in God and in the people around you.
(Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. Ps. 40:5)
11.) Keep in mind that the holiness of God is pretty much the bane of your life.
("Sing to the LORD, O you saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." Ps. 40:5)
12.) And most importantly, live, pray, and believe in the context of a transactional relationship with God, in which you are the initiator of every interaction.