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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual solution’

I stand at the door and Knock!

Jesus is knocking at your door …

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev.3:20)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The invitation from Christ is clear … “if you Hear my voice (my word) and open the door to your heart, I will come in and have dinner with you.”.  When that event happens in your life, then you have entered into an understanding of what a true, fulfilling spirituality involves and you will begin to live a life empowered by His Spirit.

One of the main problems we modern Christians have, however, is that many of us don’t ever hear that knock at the door of our hearts – we are not even aware of how to open that “door”. That is why many of us are personally in the spiritual doldrums and don’t even realize our sad and desolate state or what to do about it. Some of us do sense something missing in our lives but we can’t quite understand what might be causing our discomfiture. It’s some missing quality in our lives that we can’t quite understand or seem to know how to fill.

Oh, of course, we try to fill that void with activities, entertainment, sports, business, relationships, politics, etc., … but nothing really seems to satisfy that dry, empty feeling we unconsciously within us that seems to leave our lives seemingly without purpose and spiritual energy.

Many of us rightly sense that maybe what we need is to get closer to God, but when we attend worship services at our churches to try to fill that void with religious activities, we, again, for some reason, don’t sense that, our insistent lack is being satisfied.  Because we detect that our need might be a deeper spiritual one, we flail around looking for a “spiritual” solution, and since we didn’t find it in “church” we begin to look elsewhere.

And, if we somehow avoid getting into drugs and alcohol, we end up looking into false spirituality movements such as the occult, transcendental meditation, Yoga, and other forms of spiritual darkness, which the enemy uses to divert us from the real spiritual life that is available to every converted and baptized Christian. Yes, we are all baptized into Christ by one Spirit and the Spirit of Christ is in us, but we must cooperate with God to activate the release of His Spirit in us – it is not automatic- you have to open the door!   The main manner the Lord has instituted to activate our spiritual lives is through what is termed in the scriptures the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.

Now, admittedly, some of the problem does rest in the fact that our religious traditions do not properly prepare us regarding “opening the door to our spirits” and consequently neglecting the care, and feeding of our “spirit” nature or the “release” of the Holy Spirit in us. Our modern Christian religious culture blandly assumes that the Spirit of God will work in us and through us without our full consent. Now it is true that the Spirit of God may work around us to bring us to the point where we eventually yield to His Lordship, but He does not force Himself on us inwardly – He waits for us to give ourselves to Him as LORD of our lives – something that most of our mainline religious traditions inexplicably overlook.

The main emphasis of our modern religious structures is to provide an intellectual and theological basis for our faith based on the scriptures. And to ensure that our religious needs and necessities may be satisfied at the “body and soul” levels of awareness through community religious, mission, charity, and fellowship activities. “Spirituality”, if addressed at all is left to the “religious” and “ordained” in their insulated communities, while providing some crumbs like pseudo-spiritual devotions and piety for the “laity’.

This results in the religious communities concentrating their ministry efforts in providing religious services and activities that focus on training us in the “body and soul” basics of Christianity, that is, Bible Study, Worship of God, living the Christian Life, Community services, Fellowship groups, and so on.

Hearing-Gods-Voice

If Anyone Hears my Voice …

Although there is no doubt these are necessary accoutrements to the mission of the church, and are to be considered, yet, there is a dearth of training in what ought to be the centerpiece of the Christian life, the need to understand how to hear His Voice and open the door to our hearts to let the person of Jesus, into our “spirits” so that, through our encounter with Him, “in the Spirit”, we may interact in a more personal and intimate manner with our Lord and thus receive the direct and personal spiritual strength and guidance we need to be “true” witnesses to the Good News of Salvation.

Part of the problem is that our religious culture does not feel comfortable dealing with the “spiritual’ component of our lives directly. All our community effort is focused on reaching the faithful through our intellects, senses, emotions, or through personal participation in rote religious activities that they “hope”, God will use to seep in to our spirit nature or at least get our spirit man involved.

Because God is gracious, this may work for a few people, but, today, because of the enticements of the “World” and the “Flesh”, the Spiritual Life and Energy that the Lord intends us to have is not coming through to us in our everyday lives as it should. This is especially true of our young people and that is why, although they try to remain faithful, are sometimes tempted to leave the fold and seek spiritual fulfillment elsewhere.

In my “catholic” tradition there is a move afoot to attempt to bridge this gap and reach out to those who are culturally and traditionally members of our tradition, but who, for what ever reason, are, like sheep lost in the desert, who are not being watered and fed spiritually, not so much because there is not food and drink available, but because they haven’t been made aware of the Rivers of Living Water and Bread of Life that the Lord has provided for all that believe. This effort to re-evangelize our disenfranchised brothers and sisters is being termed as the “New Evangelization”.

Again, here, from what I have read of this effort, it still falls short in incorporating a renewal in the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as the starting point for renewal. We cannot out of our own human effort expect to bring spiritual life into being or renewal in others. And yet we continue to merely retrench our traditional “body and soul” methods in our attempt to breathe life where there is none. In order for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and thus receive the renewed Life in the Spirit that we need, our own spirit must first be brought to life.

Here is what Jesus told Nicodemus, when he was enquiring of Jesus about who He was:

Jesus answered,  “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  “Do not marvel that I said to you,  ‘You must be born again.’  “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:5-8)

That tells us that in order to be sensitive to the wind or “breath’ of the Spirit, our spirits need to be “re-born” or “re-activated” by the Holy Spirit in order to be sensitive to His “spiritual” leadings. Without this “spiritual” sensitivity we will walk in the motivation of the ‘flesh’ instead of walking in the “Spirit”.

In order to walk in the “spirit” we must have a spiritual re-birth and re-set our minds from the “flesh” to the “spirit”, just as the Apostle Paul, tells the believers in Rome:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:5-6)

The Apostle Peter further tells us that it is through the inspired Word of God that we are to find this re-birth:

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1Ptr.1:22-23)

Jesus is the Open Door

Jesus is the Open Door

This then, brethren, is the doorway into true spirituality – a renewed and true spirituality through which you may find spiritual food and drink- His Word. This is a spirituality that will empower you in living your full Christian life under that energy and power of the Holy Spirit – a spirituality that will permit you to be a channel of that life to others and bring to life your routine participation in the affairs of the Christian community.

The Apostle Paul also chides the Christian Community in Galatia about their intent to put aside their empowered Life in the Spirit into which he introduced them, and go back to mere perfunctory religious performance and rituals of the past by telling them …

“ You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain — if indeed it was in vain? Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? “  (Gal. 3:1-5)

This is the question I now want to ask you all…” did you receive the Spirit by merely complying with religious practice or by the hearing of faith that enlivened your spirit?”

And,  “if you were spiritually enlivened by the hearing of faith, why do you now think you can bring about spiritual revival by merely reverting back to religious performance?”

Now, here is the crux of the matter:  Once we have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit and have His Life in us, are we not now impelled by His Spirit to be His envoy to others so that our brothers and sisters may also come to this new life in the Spirit? How can we do this except by the same Spirit that enlightened us?  So then it behooves to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and ask for the Holy Spirit to anoint us as He did Jesus to be His empowered messenger of the Kingdom so that we may also preach and teach the Word of Life and the release of the Spirit with signs following. That, brothers and sisters, is what the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” accomplishes through us!

It is only by yielding fully to the Holy Spirit that we can be useful to him in any revival or spiritual that He may bring. It is then, and only then that we may proclaim to those who hunger and thirst for true spirituality the words of Isaiah the Prophet:

“Ho, everyone who thirsts,

come to the waters;

and you that have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,

and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me;

listen, so that you may live.”

(Is. 55: 1-3)

But first we must consciously activate or release the Spirit that is in us from our Baptism and Confirmation.  It is only then that we can be sensitive to His Voice and respond to His Call. With our spiritual ears open, how can we refuse when Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts? For, as scripture says, He is the only one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger and our spiritual thirst.

It is just as Jesus told the Samaritan woman;

Jesus Offers Living Water

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”  “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:7-14)

Or, as Jesus proclaimed at the Great Feast Day:

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 

(John 7:38-39)

And later, as Jesus told his critics:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  (John 6:35-40)

And, later, at the synagogue in Capernaum…

Unless you eat of my flesh and drink my blood…

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58)

This scripture has, of course, great meaning to those of us of the Catholic persuasion for it is the Word Of God, telling us of the Divine venue Jesus provides for us to dine with Him by actually the offering of His own person in the Eucharist thus permitting us to enter into an intimate abiding in HIM as we commune together. Now Jesus is the “Word Made Flesh” so that here again we have Jesus, the Word, offering Himself as the doorway to intimacy with Him and the Father.

Of course, it is up to us to receive Him in faith and, when we do, He will enter into our hearts and provide the spiritual intimacy we seek.

Jesus is always ready and willing. Now, the question is, ARE YOU READY to accept His offer to dine with you, “in the spirit”, not just in the world of your imagination? Are you ready to satisfy your spiritual hunger and thirst to the fullest and have the world of the spirit opened up to you? Are you ready to yield yourself totally to Him and Him alone?

If you are, then, just as the initial scripture says, open your spiritual ears to his voice and open the door to your hearts by saying, “Yes, Jesus, I open my heart to you, release the Spirit in Me, and Come into my Heart and Be My Lord Forever”, and I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed! For He says:

“And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.  “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

(Luke 11:9-13)

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you… and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you … and give you peace.  (Numbers 6:24-26)

Shalom!!

Your Brother and fellow pilgrim in  Christ….. Bartimaeus

© Bartimaeus, BRTimeo and quietplace4prayer, [2003-2012].

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Entering the Inner Stillness

Enmeshed in life’s commotion,

Our ears deadened in the strife

As cries our famished spirit

For the real sustenance of life.

From an inner thirst and hunger

Beyond all the world can impart.

Beyond the parched desert of emotions

For a Love that satisfies the heart

Why then, do we refuse to listen,

If so desperate our plight ?

To words of  Life beyond our hearing

To visions of Love beyond our sight

A Love that knocks incessantly

‘Til our gates we open to its Life.

To drink in the Living Water

And consume the Bread of Life.

Enter then, that inner stillness,

God’s sanctuary, in your soul,

And imbibe that Love Eternal

That fills and makes you whole!

                                                                    Jorge Madrid Sr., AMDG

(By Jorge Madrid Sr., as excerpted with permission from “Thy Kingdom Come” by Jorge Madrid Sr.; © 2003 Madrid Family Trust, all rights reserved)

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Recommended Links:

About Prayer

Prayer: Our Response to His Call

True Spirituality

A Prayer to receive the Holy Spirit

Releasing the Spirit

Hearing God’s Voice …. And obeying it!

Jesus, the Source of Living Water, and us

False Spiritual Practices and Conforming to the World

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