“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9
“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.'” Matthew 16:17
It’s the human way to depend on human strength, and too often, it’s what I do with the Christian faith. I treat this grace-based spirituality like a crossword puzzle. Think hard. Do a little research. Usher forth the creative powers from within. And arrive at…sanctification? No, frustration.
Revelation comes down from heaven, like manna, like the glorified Son who put on flesh. Without that descending Dove speaking to our hearts, what can we hope to understand or accomplish? The more I live, the more I realize my powerlessness. All my righteousness, nothing but filthy rags. All my striving, only weariness.
So why do I keep spinning my wheels? How do I learn about myself? How do I learn about God? There’s a fine line between striving and seeking. We are to seek Truth. Pursue righteousness. We are not to control, manipulate, or depend upon human effort. Here’s the line: We can turn our faces heavenward and the heart can gaze upon the Godhead (A.W. Tozer’s “eyes of faith”), but we can not produce revelation. It’s an “open hands” verses “grab” position. We are to ask and seek first the Kingdom, but we are hurting ourselves to think that we are smart enough to work in ourselves any bit of righteousness. Any knowledge of the Father, Son, and Spirit must come from Father, Son, and Spirit. And furthermore, any self-knowledge, any wisdom, must also come from that Trinitarian Lover of our souls. This means that if I want to understand God’s goodness, I need him to put it into my heart. I need to experience it. I need the descending Dove to speak.
We can be so timid of the word “experience.” Certainly we don’t use our experiences to construct a theology. But experience and revelation cannot be separated. Revelation is the truth of God experienced in our hearts. It’s that moment when the lights come on and all the pieces come together. It’s when what we know in our heads becomes who we are. And this only comes to our finite beings through the infinite God.
In reality, we know so little – of God and of ourselves. The lies that secretly settle into the well hidden areas of our psyche are greater than we realize. The mercy, love, and goodness of God is also deeper than what we choose to believe. Our heartbeat must always be, more, more, more of Him, and less, less, less of ourselves. He wants to be known. He wants to reveal Himself, so let us pray for His knowledge to transform us in deeper ways. Let us pray that his greatest Revelation, His own Son, penetrates the crusty surfaces of our hearts and brings peace and truth in our inner parts.