Trying To Understand

Light & darkIf we are to receive spiritual understanding we have to be taught by the Teacher, the Holy Spirit, who alone can lead us into all Truth and tell us of things to come. There might be teachers within the Church but unless the Holy Spirit takes what any of us say and bring revelation to our hearts we do not really understand. Men may have great intellectual knowledge and be full of the wisdom of men but this will not guarantee that they find the Truth.

The journey for us all must begin with us responding to the light within, with which every man who enters the world is enlightened - "the true Light which coming into the world enlightens every man," (John 1:9). Jesus Himself said, “I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12) If we follow this Light it will lead us to the Kingdom and bring us to this new life which is only found in Jesus who said, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me,(John 13:6).

We need to also be aware that the expression ‘true light’ implies the existence of the false. There is a Spirit of Truth and a spirit of error. Sadly although the Light came into the world men loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19) But for those who discover the Life that is only found in Jesus they receive an anointing within that is true and not a lie, and which, as it abides in them, will teach them about all things. (1John 2:27)

This anointing within comes because Christ (His title means Anointed One) lives in those who have found the Kingdom and been born again of the Spirit of God. Although this anointing within is given to every true believer this essential ministry of the Holy Spirit is ignored by many and reliance on mental understanding is given priority. So it is I emphasise this ministry that the Holy Spirit alone can give. It is essential that we allow all we see, hear and read to be tested by the Greater One who is in us (1John 4:4) if we are His.

It is important that we know that there is a process of growing up spiritually. Our minds have to be renewed according to the knowledge of God, knowledge which will never contradict scripture which the Holy Spirit brought forth through men led by the Spirit of God. But scripture has to be rightly divided, interpreted aright, and only the Holy Spirit in us can do this.

The Lord is wanting us to grow up in Him until “we all attain a unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.(Eph.4:13) So let us consider this spiritual growth.

Growing Up Spiritually

Scripture explains that as new Christians we are likened to babies. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "I, brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ," (1.Cor.3:1). Paul said that as babes in Christ he gave them milk to drink and not solid food, (v.2).

The writer to the Hebrews states that "everyone who partakes of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness (knowing who they are in Christ) for they are a babe, but solid food is for the mature," (Heb.5:13&14).

Paul explains in his letter to the Church in Ephesus that the gifts (gift ministries) of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are "for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ," (Eph.4:11&12).

Peter, in his second letter, exhorts us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2Pet.3:18) having started the letter by stating that "grace and peace are multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord," (2Pet.1:3). Peter goes on to say "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us through His own glory and excellence," (v.3).

So what is this 'knowledge'? It is certainly not intellectual knowledge but rather 'revelation knowledge' that is imparted to our spirits by Christ who is in reality our only Teacher.

Paul said that he counted all things as loss "in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus" going on to say "that he might know Him and the power of His resurrection," (Phil.3:8&10).

John describes this spiritual growth in his first letter (1John2:12-14). He explains that little children - that is little children in the Lord - know their sins are forgiven for His Name's sake (v12) and that they know God now as their Father (v13). He explains that young men in the Lord have overcome the evil one (v.13) and are strong and the Word of God abides in them, (v.14). But he goes on to explain that fathers in the Lord "know Him who has been from the beginning" (v.13&14). This is revelation knowledge of God and our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

To grow spiritually, therefore, it is essential that we look to the Holy Spirit as our Teacher. Jesus said, "Do not be called Rabbi" - which means teacher - "for One is your Teacher" (Matt.23:8). Jesus told us that it was the Spirit of Truth who will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13). And if we have the Spirit of Christ, from the youngest to the oldest, we have Him in us to teach us. John tells us "the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need of anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him," (1John 2:27). This means that if any of us teach, preach or share anything it means nothing unless the Holy Spirit takes what is said and implants it in our hearts.

We can now see why Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus (Eph.1:7) that God would give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened so that they may know the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His inheritance in the saints and what is the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe - the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of the Father.

The following are the prayers that Paul prayed for the first Christians, prayers we can pray so that we might receive wisdom from above, spiritual discernment, revelation knowledge including a knowledge of God's will for our lives that we may walk in a manner worthy of Him. In this way the scriptures will be opened to us as never before and we will begin to grow in a knowledge of Jesus to a mature man.