Spiritual Maturity: Sensitivity to God’s Ways and Wisdom (Part Two)

The Tree of Knowledge, painting by Lucas Crana...

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Mick Turner

(continued from Part One)

As we come to a state where we are more sensitive to the leadings of the Spirit, it is also imperative that we understand that we have an important choice to make. Since the beginning of time it seems humanity has been faced with this choice and, in fact, scripture tells us that it was because the first couple made the wrong decision that many of today’s problems first entered the world. And what is that important choice?

We must choose to either rely on our own knowledge or the wisdom of God.

 

When we make a choice between following our own wisdom or the wisdom of God it is important that we understand that we are choosing between two approaches to life. Just as there were two trees in the Garden, there are two ways we can go about living out our lives on a day to day basis. When we choose to live by our own decisions, we are basically choosing to establish our own standards of conduct and truth. This is basically the choice the serpent put before Eve, but he did all he could to deceive her by stacking the deck in favor of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “You will be like God,” said the Father of Lies and Eve made her choice. Leonard and Viola explain the situation, the choice, and the consequences this way:

The fall of humanity was all about women and men assuming the posture that they don’t need anyone to tell them what to do. They would decide for themselves what’s good and what’s bad. They would be self-sufficient and self determining.

 

When we choose the opposite, to eat of the Tree of Life, we basically choose to live as Jesus lived. We become the optimal version of who and what we are by living according to the leadings and the directions of the Indwelling Christ. Indeed, since his ascension the Master has become the tree of life. He is the “way, the truth, and the light,” and as we remain connected to him, he is the true vine, giving us light and sustenance. In essence, he enables us to live as he lived. Our task in the process is to “abide in him.”

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:4-5 NRSV).

 

In case his listeners fail to understand the dynamics of how their relationship with him is supposed to work, Jesus drives the point home in unmistakable fashion. “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Earlier in John, the Master describes his relationship with the Father in exactly the same way:

Most assuredly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself  (John 5:19).

 

I can myself do nothing (John 5:30).

 

Jesus did not act, speak, teach, preach or do anything else that did not come from the Father, with whom he shared a relationship of indescribable intimacy. In the same way, we are not to act, speak, teach, preach, or do anything else that does not come from the Indwelling Christ. It also goes without saying that the Master expects that now, as a result of his successful mission on earth, that we can share the same kind of intimacy with him that he shared with the Father. In terms of relationships of divine intimacy, the torch has indeed been passed: from the Father to the Son, and from the Son to us.

As a result of this divine intimacy we now have at our disposal a new guidance center. With Christ living in us and through us, we no longer have to fall back on our old way of dealing with life, which was fueled by dependence on human wisdom. Now we have a new heart and a new moral compass. The Indwelling Christ becomes our North Star and as we grow more accustomed to this new way of approaching life, we find that it becomes easier to discern the leanings and promptings of the divine energy within us. More importantly, we find that it becomes easier to yield to these leanings and promptings.

Before moving on to explore the dichotomy that exists between human wisdom and God’s wisdom, it is important to briefly touch on a pair of related themes: the unpredictability of God and the dangers of bibliolatry.

 

It is difficult to write and teach on these issues because both the view of God and the view of the Bible are “sacred cows” in the system of faith that has come to be called “Christianity.”

It is imperative that we understand that God did not create people to be a part of a “religion.” Instead, he created people for relationship. Religion has evolved as a way of seeking to regain intimacy with God – intimacy that was lost when humanity made the choice to live by the precepts of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When humanity became their own gods, they lost divine intimacy with the Creator.

The paradox in all this is that humankind knew – they could sense that something vital was missing and religion was one way to fill that void. Or so they thought. In fact, religion has become a major impediment to finding intimacy with God and this was clearly exemplified by the Master’s ongoing conflict with the religious leaders of his time. The fact is, the Hebrew religion had devolved to the point where it was little more than an attempt to control and domesticate God. And whether we care to admit it or not, Christianity has devolved to the same point. The church has made and still makes repeated attempts to domesticate, emasculate, and sissify Jesus to the point that he bears little resemblance to the firebrand radical that we encounter in the New Testament.

to be continued…….

(C) L.D. Turner 2011/All Rights Reserved

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