Company for My Mind
Most of my believing life has been spent in settings where the Word has entered my being through my *mind. The first Bible study I ever attended was with people studying for advanced degrees. The churches I've attended have placed their greatest emphasis on the study and teaching of the Word. "Study" has been in the middle of the titles of most of the Christian groups to which I have belonged. How grateful I am for this firm foundation for my faith.
One eventful evening, however, God demonstrated that He had other ways, other doors, through which His Word could enter my being.
It wasnít that I had been doing anything wrong by studying the Bible with my mind. Our minds are one of Godís good gifts to us. I just hadn't realized there was any other way of approaching Scripture. I would pray and then study with my mind. Over the years the Spirit taught me many truths that way.
The thing is, after 20 years of only welcoming God and His Word in at my mind-door, He had to beckon me to the place where I would let myself be vulnerable to Him and His entering in another way. The beckoning process began with His letting me see the cost of such vulnerability. A new acquaintance of mine had an encounter with Him and His power and was ostracized for it by her Christian friends. "Count the cost," He was saying. Then He sent an old friend back into my life. We had lived near each other years before and been with each other in church, in Bible studies, as Sunday School teachers and as good buddies. Now here she was with a new dynamic relationship with Jesus, one that had happened in a powerful way. Gradually God led me to the place where I could say, "Do whatever You want to do, Jesus. Even if You want me to fall at Your feet in public, even if itís this being 'slain in the Spirit' business, Iím willing."
I believe that surrender, that willingness to die to myself, was what He was waiting for. Several months later I walked into that eventful evening.
A friend once said to me that when God showed Moses the Promised Land, He was probably more excited than Moses was. I think that was probably Jesus' reaction that night. "Yes! She's opening the door!" My mind was there as an observer, probably relieved to not have to be doing all the work.
Then Revelation 3:20 ("Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he
with Me.") describes the rest. He did come in (Yes, He was already in, but He did come in in some new sense) and now He does eat with me and I with Him.
There was something important about my falling that evening. I believe it had to do with symbolically getting out of the Spirit's way. It had to do with not standing on my own--my own understanding, my own way of relating to God. I needed to stop being conscious of myself so Jesus could get my full attention, so I could focus fully on Him. I don't believe there has ever been a time in my life when I was less self-conscious. The closest would have been the first time I saw each of my newborn babies. It was an encounter--all three times--with someone I loved with my whole being. I didn't want to look anywhere else--least of all at myself; it didn't even occur to me.
I still study the Word with my mind. I stand amazed, though, at how many creative ways the Spirit has to teach me His Word that donít look a bit like studying. My mind is grateful for His company!
I Corinthians 2:9-10, 13
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him--but God has revealed it to us by His SpiritÖ.This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by name.
*I use the word mind here to refer to "The faculty of thinking, reasoning, and applying knowledge: Follow your mind, not your heart." (The American Heritage Dictionary, definition #4)
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