Just imagine you were an experienced mountain climber and there was a particular mountain you know like the back of your hand. You have been at the summit several times, you even found different ways to climb up and down, your muscles are athletically trained, and your body knows how to deal with sudden pains and injuries too. Looking at the sky before you begin to climb, you know from your own experience without consulting the weather forecast which weather lies ahead of you and you know which clothing and how much food you will need.
One day some people approach you and say, “Tomorrow we will join you and we will summit the peak together.” After sizing them up, you realize that you need to tell them politely yet nonfactitiously, “I am very sorry, but I must tell you that there lie many months, maybe even years ahead of you until you can climb up with me.” Out of love you might encourage them to take the first steps and to accompany them if necessary, however, you won’t try to take them to the summit with you since their physical condition is obviously rather bad.
In order to put the story more spiritually, the sanctification process is a long one. If someone who stands at the beginning and has not received the Holy Spirit yet – although he might believe in Jesus – wants to fully understand someone who has been filled with Holy Spirit, there will arise some problems. Once again, Oswald Chambers provides a very helpful devotional on this delicate issue.
Why Are We Not Told Plainly?
He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. — Mark 9:9
Say nothing until the Son of man is risen in you – until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you understand what the historic Christ taught. When you get to the right state on the inside, the word which Jesus has spoken is so plain that you are amazed you did not see it before. You could not understand it before, you were not in the place in disposition where it could be borne.
Our Lord does not hide these things; they are unbearable until we get into a fit condition of spiritual life. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” There must be communion with His risen life before a particular word can be borne by us. Do we know anything about the impartation of the risen life of Jesus? The evidence that we do is that His word is becoming interpretable to us. God cannot reveal anything to us if we have not His Spirit. An obstinate outlook will effectually hinder God from revealing anything to us. If we have made up our minds about a doctrine, the light of God will come no more to us on that line, we cannot get it. This obtuse stage will end immediately [when] His resurrection life has its way with us.
“Tell no man . . ” – so many do tell what they saw on the mount of transfiguration. They have had the vision and they testify to it, but the life does not tally with it, the Son of man is not yet risen in them. I wonder when He is going to be formed in you and in me?
Pondering on Oswald Chambers’s last paragraph, I wonder whether we could put it physically again and say, “The day the ropeway was invented, everybody was able to have a mountain top experience.” In some cases, it really makes sense, esp. when people are not able to walk on their own any longer because of a certain sickness. However, the sanctification process does not need our body. Everyone will be sanctified on a long and often painful path where glory and miracles rather belong to the last part of that process. We all must go our way alone although we can offer others some help at times, yet we cannot skip those painful portions we need to have experienced before we will be glorified. Or in other words,
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom 8:16-17 KJV)
Basically, our spiritual way with Jesus to God is neither about our thoughts or feelings, nor is it about gathering more and more spiritual blessings. Finally, it is all about HIM, about loving God more than anyone and anything else on earth and in heaven. And then, it is about loving our neighbors as ourselves. That’s all.