Be More Than The Sum of Your Knowledge
I vividly remember the moment I really "got" the gospel. I was drinking heavily, hitting town a good number of nights a week and creating a debris of poor relationships behind me centered around propping up my own ego. When God broke through with these simple words, "I love you son, come home to me" grace stood out like a street lamp in the country side and I realised that this christian life is one totally lived from a Spirit without. That grace allowed me to enter into my Fathers house with confidence because I didn't need to understand him, earn him, grasp him or even know how to manage him in order to experience him.
Ironically, or maybe not so, those early encounters and experiences of the kingdom were some of my most powerful compared to the few years that followed. They were certainly some of the most pure.
As time goes by the temptation to understand and to rationalize God bears down on us like the weight of gravity and our temptation is to simply go on with business as usual. We realise that dependance on the Spirit is uncomfortable at best and deeply costly at worst. Of course that cost returns to us a hundred fold in the joy of knowing that God is real and he is close, but the part of ourselves that loves creature comforts drives us subconsciously back into the old Egypt that enslaved us.
This can be a real danger for our spiritual communities in the days we're living in. The information age is a playground for the best of us who long to know more about humanity, the cosmos, society and economy but the temptation toward a faith based on knowledge and not revelation grows with every new discovery. Science proves that meditation is actually neuroscientifically beneficial but instead of re-digging the wells of our dessert Fathers' Christ-fullness we adopt other cultural forms without second thought. We seek to access our inner selves rather than the quiet place where the Spirit of eternity dwells and who not only speaks but transforms us within with unprecedented power.
We glean from TED and their incredible communicators to create better illustrated sermons but the Spirit that used to lead ours, used to set ours apart, dwindles in His leading. We long to understand things and that's beautiful. I read the American Scientific and I love history books, I Podcast TED Talks Daily and read political affairs magazines but as interesting as these are they can't give me a drop of what God has to offer through his Spirit; that is, life giving, life empowering revelation that can only come through relationship with the Source of it all himself.
Life giving, life empowering revelation can only come through relationship with the Source of it all himself.
We can run the danger of becoming less and less a spiritual community and a more and more purely cultural one. We're finally bringing balance to the arts, creativity, protest in politics and global awareness which is amazing but none of that will renew us and none of it is the hope of the world. It's the way we see history and context due to the hope of the world, Jesus, but he remains the only loving Person great enough to effect true change. Yet, in our process of discovery we can live less and less in the place of trusting in him first and more and more in the cleverly designed and ultimately flawed plans of our best thinkers.
Few of the major events in Acts that shaped history made much sense but there's a clear hero in all the acts of the apostles that gave their random acts of power world changing influence - the Holy Spirit. When we lean on Him, depending on his life flow over our clever plans, believing for things unachievable even with our greatest schemes, we are accessing the only love that can transform the world and her people. Our churches don't need more knowledge, the most powerful church in history was an early church who didn't even have a written New Testament. They didn't have TEDx, or the scientific development we have today, nor did they have access to Twitter or the recorded arts like we do. They had Pentecost, obedience, radical love and unity.
We live in a privileged generation. One that get's to enjoy a world growing in knowledge faster than any other time in history and it's a beautiful opportunity for the church. I am certainly not saying that this is any way a bad thing. But we're also part of a generation that could run the danger of living totally out of our own knowledge, information and techniques. In our quest to throw out old cultural attachments to our spirituality we run the danger of throwing out our spirituality completely and missing out on the most beautiful part of our salvation - our relationship with God personally and daily through his Spirit living within us.
We can live a life greater than our knowledge, We can live a life a life of revelation.
So, let's be a people that love the age we live in enjoying all it's benefits without being satisfied by knowledge and practicality alone. Let's be mystic in our search for truth in the sciences, constantly holding it in the balance with the inner presentness of our cosmic Father. He is good and his goodness and love are not known through knowledge alone, they're known through our daily dependance and seeking of him tangibly in the depths of our very being.