MOVE TO NEW FRONTIER OF SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE
Man is a trinity – body, soul and spirit – and the spirit is the part that connects with God. It’s possible for God’s spirit to enter man’s spirit. The result is an intimate relationship and a new and better nature.
But – since we’re dealing in dimensions that transcend all vocabularies, measurements and procedures for evaluation of (physical) phenomena – how can we know this for sure? Answer: We know about our spirit by AUTHORITY and by EXPERIENCE. One way is objective, the other is subjective.
First, we know about our spirit because God’s book, the Bible, tells us about it. Topics 18-26 show why the Bible is trustworthy spiritual authority.
Second, we know about our spirit from personal experience. This is empirical rather than scientific, and it’s very powerful. It’s like how a person knows he’s in love. He just knows! No amount of external argument can prevail against one’s own repeated experience.
We can learn more about ourselves by venturing into a new frontier of spiritual experience, moving from academic to practical, along this route:
CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY THAT GOD IS PERSONAL
Nearly all religions say there’s a God – a powerful Supreme Being – but most do not regard him as a personal God. Instead they think of him as a ‘force’ or ‘principle’ rather than as a ‘person.’ (See Topics 10-15.)
The Bible says, however, that God is a person. He has a body (at least part of him, some of the time, known to us as Jesus Christ), soul (mind, will and emotion) and spirit (Holy Spirit). He loves us and cares for us, individually!
This is the major distinction between Christianity and the religions of the world.
But even among people who call themselves Christians, many think of God as being like the president of a giant corporation who’s too busy and far removed to get involved in the personal lives of all the people under him.
It’s fundamental to our understanding of God to determine for ourselves the degree to which we believe God is either impersonal or personal.
Logical reasoning goes like this:
IF he’s an impersonal God – remote and unknowable – we can only stand in awe of his mighty works but can never expect to understand his purposes or have any kind of personal relationship with him.
IF he’s a personal God – knowing and caring about us individually – he doesn’t see us as a mass of humanity but as individual people with whom he can have personal and simultaneous relationships.
WE GET ANSWER BY ASKING GOD DIRECTLY
Who’s right? The religions that say God is a force or principle? Or Christianity (Bible) that says he’s a person who desires personal relationships with us?
Since the beginning of human history, there’s been endless speculation about the nature of God. We could spend a lifetime learning what others think about God... and evaluating philosophies about him... and die still not knowing him.
With our limited means and abilities, there’s only one practical thing to do: Ask him if he’s a personal God. Here’s the reasoning:
IF he’s an impersonal God and beyond knowing, we’ll get no response – which answers our question – and we’ll have lost nothing.
IF he’s a personal God, surely he’ll be pleased that we care enough to want to know him and will understand that we’re merely doing the most logical and sincere thing we know to do. (Asking him is so bold and simple that it never occurs to most people to take such a direct approach.) If he responds to our direct inquiry in ways that convince us beyond reasonable doubt that he’s personal – which answers our question – we can then proceed to develop a relationship with him.
Speaking to God, and listening to God, is called prayer. An honest and direct inquiry to God about his interest in us should be our first kind of prayer. When a person prays for God to reveal himself in a personal way, this is a way of saying he wants a confirmation of God so powerful and so convincing that he’ll never again wonder if God really cares about him as an individual.
For some people, this revelation comes as an emotional encounter alone with God, often at a point of desperation. For others, it comes as logical comprehension from reading the Bible, or a resource like this, or from conversations with a friend. Sometimes it comes all at once and sometimes in pieces over time.
But however and whenever it comes, the personal revelation which God gives in response to our sincere prayer brings an unmistakable certainty that God can and will relate to us on an individual basis and that, through our spirit, there’s a whole new kind of life waiting to be discovered.
GOD REVEALS HIMSELF TO THOSE WHO CALL ON HIM
There are four kinds of people:
- Those who know God personally and now have an intimate relationship with him,
- Those who think they know God but really know only a religion,
- Those who don’t think it’s possible or important to know God, and
- Those who want to know God but don’t know how.
It’s for the fourth group that the information in this resource will be most helpful. They will appreciate the plain language, comprehensive coverage and Bible references. In the Bible, God has promised to make himself known to everyone who genuinely seeks him.
With the mind, a person can know about God. But with the spirit a person can know God. People, books and digital resources can impart information, but to know God personally there’s no other way than to call on him in prayer.
A beginning prayer can be as simple as this: ‘God, if it’s possible for me to really know you, please reveal yourself to me in some positive and unmistakable ways.’ Then wait for God to answer. He will, in the circumstances of life and in the quietness of an awakening spirit. Try it and see!