It seems sometimes I want to bombard my readers with almost one blog post every day. 😉 Actually, it was only about two or three weeks ago as I started to listen more closely to several talks and to observe my immediate inner reaction to what was being said, as I saw that there is a big difference between ‘words’ and ‘Words’. Before I begin to expound on this deeper, I want to point you to Michael Clark’s excellent article about the confusing deluge of words of any kind, even in the Christian world on the internet and elsewhere. Please, read his article here.
We live in a time where information of all sorts is raining down on us no matter what. In fact, it is very difficult to get away from these negative influences ‘literal litter’ might have, since, as soon as we have heard a new thing within less than one second, how many more seconds, minutes, or even hours do we need to get rid of this new thought? Even if we consider a new idea uninteresting or silly so that it quickly disappears in our subconscious mind, you and I might remember some dream or other where exactly these thoughts seemed to have been processed further in the dead of the night. And if you awake from such a confusing dream, it might even follow and haunt you for some time on the next day… Dear brothers and sisters, is there ANY chance for us to escape from this restless haste and to protect our minds from being malnourished, undernourished, or to be found overeaten? 🙄 How can we feed our minds with spiritually healthy food that makes us grow?
What I realized lately was the fact that only these words that were spoken by God during a talk were those that fed me. Whether they lifted me up or whether I sensed an admonition there, it was so good to hear God speak. My spirit rejoices whenever I hear or read His Words of (eternal) Life (see Jn 6:68). Sometimes God speaks through Scriptures, this is true, but very often He uses normal words to speak to my heart. And He does not need many of them to bring across what needs to be said at a certain moment. However, today we hear and read countless ‘words of death’ so that we hardly perceive God’s still and small voice anymore. What I called ‘words of death’ here are these words that are not able to bring any life to our spirit. Instead, they leave us empty and unsatisfied if they do not even wound and hurt us on a deep level.
Even though we live in a physical world, we are surrounded and permeated by a spiritual world that has its influence on us all the time. Although we are not used to seeing angels and demons as Jesus did, there is a war going on in the invisible world and we are either its victims or we become overcomers of the devil IN Jesus Christ. Indeed, there is no neutral realm we could withdraw to if we cannot take this world and its ugly influences any longer. Either we run to God or we unknowingly submit to our fleshly desires and thus remain under Satan’s command. Not that thrilling a perspective, is it?
Returning to the question about how to feed our minds properly, I might suggest to meditate on one situation in the gospels where Jesus was hungry. We might all remember his talk with the woman at the well. Jesus’ disciples would leave him to buy meat while Jesus asked this woman for a drink from the well. I believe it was a joy for Jesus to reveal Himself to this woman and to point her to an eternal ‘drink’ she would not know before. Even his physical hunger did not seem to be important any longer as he explained to his startled disciples later,
“I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” (Jn 4:32-34 ESV)
Indeed, just yesterday in the afternoon I had a long talk on the phone with a Christian woman. This longer-than-usual-talk had an interesting effect on me as well. Before I really struggled with exhaustion, a strong headache and then some, but afterwards I felt somehow refreshed and quickened in a way that transcends the physical well-being and its primary needs. The reason was that this conversation took a direction nobody of us could have foreseen. Brothers and sisters, without sharing secrets here, I can tell you whenever we refrain from trying to dominate a talk by telling others what we think they should know, about God or anything else, and instead pray silently by waiting on God to give us the cue to speak up, we can be sure that God will always show up in our conversations. Promise! 😊 In order to substantiate my allegation, I am going to copy and paste Scriptures from the Apocrypha (here Ecclesiasticus chapter 4) where this shorter admonition of James 1:19-20 ESV that says, “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” is described more detailed. We read,
23 And refrain not to speak, when there is occasion to do good, and hide not thy wisdom in her beauty.
24 For by speech wisdom shall be known: and learning by the word of the tongue.
25 In no wise speak against the truth; but be abashed of the error of thine ignorance.
26 Be not ashamed to confess thy sins; and force not the course of the river.
27 Make not thyself an underling to a foolish man; neither accept the person of the mighty.
28 Strive for the truth unto death, and the Lord shall fight for thee.
29 Be not hasty in thy tongue, and in thy deeds slack and remiss.
But, dear brothers and sisters, let us not fall prey to the lie that God always speaks through Scripture. If that was the case, no Christian sects and cults could have ever developed. On the other hand, there is also a big danger in trying to be Spirit-led without having a profound knowledge of the Bible. How can someone learn to test the spirits if they have no proper grasp of what is revealed about God in Scripture? You can fall off your horse on both sides, as a German saying goes. 😉 In either case, we will be hurt, right? I understand that people who have come from legalism and finally were able to escape its rigid grip, often drop Scripture completely and try to find out what is right and what is wrong for themselves. If this approach is of temporary nature, no problem. Nonetheless, when Christians who left the Church years or even decades later claim to be Spirit-led without backing up their views with Scripture, you can be sure that they have listened to the wrong, very often worldly spirits, which offer more pleasing and “ear-itching” stuff that can easily be accepted by everyone, even by non-Christians.
However, that does not mean that everyone who supports his views with Bible verses has the Spirit of God inside him so that the anointing directly teaches him about what is true and what is false. The anointing must be received in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. If this has occurred to you, you will know it and you will ‘know’ Him (love Him intimately, that is). You will also know what is right and what is wrong without needing anyone to tell you anything about it. “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.“ (1 Jn 2:27 ESV) Let us not be deceived, brothers and sisters! If we are insecure about having received an anointing, we do not have it as yet (most certainly). If so, we could keep asking God to give it to us (cf. Lk 11:13).
In closing, here is a biblical example of how Scripture is used by God and by Satan. This story is also another example of how Jesus fed on the Holy Spirit so that even his (most probably overwhelming) physical hunger could be fought against.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Jn 4:1-11 ESV)