Saturday, February 11, 2017

High Stakes and Little Time

God exposes us only to the light and truth we have the capacity to obey. Everything that you know is right, right now, is within your current capability to do. However, with few exceptions, everything that you know, right now, is still insufficient to save you.

A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge. One is not saved until he puts all things under his feet. In the case of sins, you do not put them under your feet until you gain enough knowledge to perceive that righteous behavior is wiser than sin.

God does not force new truth on anyone. He patiently waits until the experiences a man encounters within his capacity prepare him for new truth. Though that time is variable, it tends to be long. Passive people, even when perfectly obedient, will require far more time than our current life limits provide to obtain the glory God is willing to give them in this life.

How do you experience more? First, you actively pray for more. When you cry to the Lord and express your desires to know him no matter the cost, something changes in you. You become more sanctified because as you turn your heart to him. You unlock experiences that he otherwise could not send to you. When you do this, I suggest you think long and hard about it before you do. Most of us are in complete delusion about what we actually want. Realize that the results of this type of prayer will deeply unsettle you. You will go into it thinking you are doing pretty well with God, and come out of it realizing just how far from him your desires are. He will break your heart into many pieces, he will expose your ugliest inner workings. By definition, this will be worse than anything you've been through, because you are asking him to turn up the heat. Surprisingly, he need not send any externally obvious Job-like trials to you. There are 1,000 points of improvement in any given day; 1,000 occasions where God could inform you of a higher order of behavior, thought, or desire. When we live in a state of reconciliation to God and hunger and thirst after righteousness, he can reveal many points of improvement to us on any given day. We can live in a constant, aggressive state of improvement. The only thing that limits our rate of growth is our own heed and diligence in seeking and applying his word. This is directly proportional to the trust we have in God. If we really believe he is everything he is, and we truly trust him, we will beg for his instructions every moment of every day.

Second, you must get rid of your unbelief. When you are already experiencing everything possible through prayer and a contrite spirit, God can still give you more through what I call revelatory proxy experiences. This is when God gives you a vision or other revelation that allows you to experience what someone else experiences, or what you would experience in the future under certain conditions. There are many of these in the scriptures, particularly in the Old Testament. Prophets aware of future calamities wept bitterly for the sins of Israel not just because they were told of what was going to come, but they knew what it would feel like when it did. They were not just given information about future events. In the spirit, they had actually lived through them. Our spirits are not bound in time like our bodies. At any moment, God can move our spirits forward or backward in time, and in an instant give us any number of experiences that would take much time in the body. This has happened to me on several occasions. On one of these, I was dealing with some situation with my kids in my house, and as I turned to descend a set of steps, I was instantly in the future. I instantly knew the situation: I was outside of my home, in a small group of men. We had been holed up in sanctuary for a long time due to a ravaging plague that had either created or exacerbated apocalyptic conditions. The others had been grumbling about finding more space, since it had been a while and they perceived the danger was gone. For a long time we scouted around, finally coming to a certain house. We talked about who would go inside to inspect for any corpses, knowing that doing so would expose that person to infection. I went inside, and as I searched this home I saw the contorted, tortured body of the former owner. Then, after the passage of some time in the vision, I was back at the top of the steps, and no time had passed here. I almost collapsed in physical and emotional exhaustion. The only difference between my seeing that vision and having actually been there was the lack of physical exposure to the plague. In no time at all, God was able to have me experience all these things. Sometimes, the supernatural lack of passage of time is not the miracle of revelatory proxy experiences. Sometimes, the miracle is being able to experience things in our bodies that our totally outside our normal circumstances. For example, I was once praying when I had the sudden prompting to pray for a man I had seen at church. It was just the normal "please bless so and so." Suddenly, as I thought of the man, his current emotional state was downloaded to me. This man had been struggling for some time with his wife who had early onset dementia. I knew exactly how he felt. I was able to pray with earnest struggling on his behalf, and God worked a miracle in response. I have never had a wife decay with dementia, and yet I know exactly how that feels. Once a similar occurrence transpired when I prayed for a friend with a chronic intestinal disease. As I prayed, I was immersed with incredible pain in my stomach. It was exactly what he was feeling at the time. I prayed and prayed for God to heal him.

We need to tenaciously ask for more experiences from God. The stakes are high and there is little time. Of course, none of this matters if we haven't already repented from all our sins and reconciled ourselves to God's commandments.