Bob Greaves had written:
The Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost available to all. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ and became an indwelling witness to the human spirit, effecting spiritual rebirth and being the power within us that derives both the fruits and the gifts of the Spirit in the life of those who abide in the mysterious union with Christ living loved. The presence of Christ within is self-evident and requires no one else to confirm it.
Bob goes on later:
We were created as individuals and as a race to grow from full naiveté into participators of the divine nature. From the beginning it has always been God’s plan to prepare us to be His home, so to speak, and that He would live mysteriously deep within us as our spiritual energy and life.
Those sentences seem to sum up so much of my faith, but at the same time I recognise that this lies outside the realms of intellect, logic and reason.
It was early in 2006 that I had read “Adventures in Christ” by Andre Rabe. Andre suggested that the seed of God often lies dormant in man until . . . something much deeper that lies outside the realms of intellect, logic or reason occurs . . . that only through the Holy Spirit can we comprehend the things of God, and that faith is a catalyst that brings about a fusion between man and God – an intimate encounter – a treasure that needs to be handled and experienced!
Andre then said that so much theology tries to capture the wind by closing the windows! He went on to suggest that loving God with all our hearts precedes loving God with all our mind, and that our encounter with God begins with His initiative and not our decision, and that when we understand who Jesus is and what He has already achieved, there are no conditions to be met!
It was at this point that the following quotation occurred:
If I have to teach a person how to respond to such a revelation, that person obviously did not have a revelation of Christ. It is dead religious traditions that need to teach its followers how to respond. An introduction to the living person of Christ needs no artificial protocols.
This quotation became a significant factor in my exploring the whole question of head knowledge (conformity – the Bible as the Word of God) or heart awareness (a real relationship). I knew immediately that there was either something wrong with this statement, or that there was a lesson for me that I wasn’t ready for. Even at that time I had come to appreciate something of why people believed what they believed, often as a result of divisive, denominational theology, and how religious traditions were so much of what was needed to teach denominational followers how to respond to what they were being taught, and what might be expected of them.
It had been in 1998 that I had become aware of that freedom and liberation from the slavery of legalism, but with hindsight I can see that until about 2003 my faith had still been based almost entirely on head knowledge. By 2006 I was beginning to grasp the significance of allowing Jesus to live his life in and through us, guided by the Holy Spirit, and that the Christian faith (not my faith) was all about a loving relationship with Father God! It just did not (and still does not) make sense that our encounter with God has to be based on heart awareness first!
I understand that heart awareness sometimes (but not always) precedes head knowledge, but how often does this take place where children have been taught within a ‘church’ environment? Faced with the reality that the majority of ‘Christians’ have been brought up in a denominational setting that is limited by the beliefs and traditions of that denomination, it is no surprise to me that while perhaps the majority are just walking away, some of those who subsequently experience a heart awareness then endure wilderness journeys where their original faith is sometimes totally transformed and sometimes destroyed. And this brings me back to my belief that despite (or maybe because of) the problems of suffering, life is a progressive transition.