Saturday, June 21, 2008

Paths in the Wild Wood

A blog post is such a narrow little slip of words, especially for a talker like me! As I lay awake this morning at 2:00 AM, I stalked from where I have recently been here in the wild wood down a few different paths. The topic of humans in these woods seems a labyrinth, and I felt some... not fear…muddled thinking and self-questioning. What is what? Are my words Truth or opinion? Are these words supporting the life of the believer in the soul?

I answered a few of these in the spirit, and fell asleep again. The reason I began blogging to begin with is an attempt to articulate what I am learning about being in the spirit. As a learning journey, my words remain always a mixture of Truth, both known and sought, and the paltry level of my human understanding. Everything I say has opinion in it, yet drawing from the written Word and from my and others' personal experience with the Holy Spirit is a safe course. Open discussion is the safe boundary of iron sharpening iron over human understanding of Truth.

Proposition:
1. The meaning of in the spirit is held fully by God and only in a limited manner by the believer. (vs. 11 below)
2.The depth of Christian experience is fully dependent on the level of understanding life lived in the spirit. (vs. 12-13)

I Cor. 2:11-13
11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

Reflecting on verse 13, the main reason I resigned being an elder in a local body was a matter of conscience. I had been ordained an elder for twelve years since age thirty. At forty-two, I was overwhelmed by the understanding that I was very immature as a Christian. I was convicted by conscience that I had many spiritual words, but these were not connected with spiritual thoughts. I had begun to distrust my words as simply those of our group’s approach to the gospel. Truth? I just didn’t know. That is, I was gaining awareness that much spiritual pride colored my interpretation of scripture and that my heart was not full of love, nor did I possess the wisdom to give instruction to anyone on how to walk with God. Eighteen years of walking with God began to unravel, or so it felt. (There are those feelings affecting my life again!) I was confident in my Father, but my confidence in much of what I had been taught and believed about Him was undermined by the circumstances of those days.

The words I write to you, Blog-reader, are the gleanings of the last eleven years searching for the meaning of in the spirit. These posts are where I have been, and what I hope we can learn about combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words as taught by the Spirit. This is a search for that which is beautiful in God, but I know I only dimly see. (reference 6/16 post here.)

In the next post, I will return to thinking on hole and wound and the role of the conscience in going deeper into the things of the Spirit.

6 comments:

Iris said...

I have some things to say about this post, but must let it be until a bit later in the day. Too much on my plate to think clearly right now. I am glad to see you are blogging again. You had quit for a while, so I lost track of you. Thank you for commenting on my blog so I would know to read again. Your thoughts and ponderings are definitely worth the time to read.

I blog from a MacBook, and found a little inexpensive program called icamshare to do the video insert you commented on. I highly recommend the program as it makes it so easy to do. I do not know if it works on a PC or not. Even though I have an apple program to use, it was not as simple as icamshare. It is a lot of fun. Now I need to get busy using it as I intended.

I would listen if you choose to do some of this type of sharing.
Blessing,
Iris

Iris said...

O.K. Back with a bit of concentrated time. Your propositional statements have some problems I think.

1. My thoughts - Our understanding of "in the Spirit" is indeed limited due to our "understanding" of the mind of God. However, He has given the Spirit without measure -- even to us, so the limitation is in our understanding. Within our relationship with Him He may flow freely even in and among those of very limited understanding. So experience in and with Him is not really dependent on a lot of understanding. I know a lot of folk who know a lot of Bible, who have very little experience in Him .

2. "The depth of Christian experience is fully dependent on the level of understanding life lived in the spirit."
I do not find this statement to be true. The depth of Christian experience is simply a matter of relationship and personal capability within that relationship. The only part understanding plays is how that is expressed. Depth? No sure it is an appropriate term in working here.

A life lived in the spirit for the believer is a life of unending discoveries in and through the Word, and an ever widening, consuming relationship of wonder. It is quite exciting. I refer you to Ephesians 1:17 and verses following.

Just some thoughts. Now you may wish you had not visited my blog after all.
Blessings,

ded said...

Iris, thanks for stopping by and reading. No I do not wish I had not visited your blog yesterday! The exchange of thought and description of various perspectives is needed. It brings clarity and strengthens our love for one another.

Regarding your thought on proposition one, I completely concur. I was simply highlighting the limitation or our understanding you note. This blog piece doesn't address the issue specifically, but a large concern for me is that those of less intellectual acuity are often dishonored within communities of believers for no good reason. As you stated, He may flow freely even in and among those of very limited understanding. Our hearts are the center of our being, not or brain. As your comment states so well, Within our relationship with Him, He may flow freely... Yes! This post is one of a continuing theme of mine that Christians need to grow in their experience with Him, which is in the spirit.

On your second comment, I would say we are clearly on the same page except possibly over my usage of the word "depth". You said, A life lived in the spirit for the believer is a life of unending discoveries in and through the Word, and an ever widening, consuming relationship of wonder. What is the difference between "ever widening" and "depth"? Are we not both correct in our terms? Eph. 3:16-18 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth...

Isn't "unending discoveries" another way to say that one's understanding (spiritual heart not material brain) of being in the spirit is developing and growing?

Summing up, my propositions taken together were intended to mean that I recognize my lack of understanding in my heart (not my brain)is a given, and therefore I do not suggest I know all there is to know about being in the spirit. Yet, it is something I must speak about; it is so much more vital a topic than all the discourses and debates I read in the blogosphere over competing doctrines.

I absolutely howled with joy over your referencing Eph. 1:17! The end of this post we discuss referenced a post of mine on 6/16/08, in which I had pointed out Eph. 1:18. This so encouraged my heart that you and I were seeing in the spirit together!!

This post is part of a series (though I haven't labeled them part 1, 2, etc.) intended to encourage others to open their hearts and learn to see all of life through the love of God and not the intellect.

A seeing, I believe and I am persuaded you do as well, into which we grow by the measure of breadth and length and height and depth.

Jimazing said...

I am so far behind in my reading of your blog. The only thing I think I am behinder in is writing on my own blog :)

I love your imagery of the "narrow slip of words" that a blog is. There are so many things I want to say, but to write a short snippet is to invite misunderstanding. So I wait for time to put my larger thoughts together. As I fight to regain some margin, I hope to get back to the battle.

As unintuitive as it seems, I find it easier to trust someone who is humble enough to question whether their own words are truth or opinion. As I wrestle with the "truth" that I was taught over many years, I find myself trying not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I am finding it difficult at times to determine what's baby and what's dirty bathwater. Whether truth or opinion, your exploring and writing helps me. Keep it up.

ded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ded said...

jimazing,

Thanks for the encouragement, and thanks also for taking any of your time to read this blog.