May. 4, 2019

Finding Spiritual Balance

It has been a long time since posting to this particular page, Into The Stillness, but it seems to be the right place for it to go.

This comes of being confronted with a very good diagnosis of the spiritual conundrum of the objective versus the subjective paradigms, addressed in this segment from T. A. Sparks on Christ in Heaven and Christ Within. See link. And I will post the entire comments from the link as well, following the link, itallicized. 

http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/000631.html

"Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)

We feel the importance of saying a word with regard to Christ in heaven and Christ within the believer, that is, what is objective and what is subjective. It is tremendously important that we should keep a proper balance of truth. A very great deal of our trouble is because of there being an unbalanced emphasis upon some aspect of truth. It is good to know the truth, and it is good to rejoice in it, but it is just possible that even truth may get us into trouble. There are many perils lying in the direction of truth, even spiritual truth; and there are not a few of the Lord's people who have fallen into those perils. It is not that they suffer from want of light, but they are suffering very much because they have not got their light properly adjusted and balanced. Thus it becomes very necessary for us to get things in their right perspective and proportion. Preponderance on any one side will always lead to spiritual injury, and very often to disaster. The history of many instrumentalities which have been raised up and used by the Lord is eventually the sad story of a loss of power and effectiveness because of striking an unbalanced emphasis, of putting some side of truth in a place out of proportion to that which is complementary to it....

If we over-emphasize the subjective we take something from the glory of Christ. If we over-emphasize the objective we take something from God's purpose. It is a matter of the work of God in Christ, and the purpose of God in Christ: and these two things must both have their place. May the Lord give us understanding, so that we come into a place of rest and are delivered from the perils which lurk in the vicinity of every Divine blessing.

A greatly needed word for the times! I don't say that out of criticism but only realizing how much I struggle with this, given the journey I've been on, as well as the background where I grew up being so extremely objective and emphasizing the doctrinaire and almost frowning on any life changing spiritual experience.

There always seems to be a struggle within, due to the lack of understanding so eloquently put forth by Mr. Sparks. There's the camp that insists upon being in a brick and mortar church building, juxtaposed to an equally vehement opposition to "belonging" to a denomination and/or attending a church - the ones who insist that "We don't go to church; we are the church." The former insists upon right doctrine, the latter on spiritual experiences (in my experience and opinion). Either extreme seems lopsided, but it is very, very difficult to find a body of believers where there is a balance, where there is not this polarization. This may be why so many choose the "none" option, which is in a sense, a new group who decides to head for the desert, so to speak.

But what does this do to Christ's prayer in John 17, "that they may be one"?

And there is also the extreme of "tradition" versus "scripture." As if one should almost refute the other or throw Scripture under the bus. However at this point in the journey, it's clear that in so many areas of the most ancient traditions, there seems to be an abysmal lack of knowledge of or respect for the Holy Scriptures - which shows in their beliefs and practices. Yet those of us who insist on "Sola Scriptura" as the final authority are labeled as those who are shallow thinkers and / or worshippers of what they call a "paper pope." This is a shocking duality that seems to be further dividing the church, if it may even be called that anymore. But Jesus prayed in His final prayer, "Sanctify them in Thy truth; Thy word is Truth." Not sanctify them in tradition!  And did He not also quote the Scripture to the very devil who tempted Him 40 days at the beginning of His ministry? As well as to the Pharisees, who, He said nullified the Word of God by their traditions?

Certainly the elephant in the room is that Scripture is full of subjective experience. "Signs". Yet Jesus also said that it is an evil generation that seeks signs. Makes one wonder. Especially when one signs on the dotted line of some church membership papers, one wonders what will unfold from that decision!

This is a treacherous place to be when one is seeking the balance between the objective and the subjective. Neither polarized camp seems to have any answers. Everybody says, "We have the Bible as our authority." But then so does every cult that cherry picks its beliefs from that holy book.

Yet Jesus tells us that men would know we're His disciples by the love we have toward one another, a love like His!

If we are truly "in Christ" should this not result in some sort of ongoing and noticeable experience, with a growth in the manifestation of His love, since it is not merely an objective reality that is spoken of? Anything else seems to be either unbelief or lack of the experience, so that one does not actually know if he or she is born again, which is an obvious reality to anyone who has had this experience.

There's the warning that we're not to be lukewarm but either cold or hot. And we may be judged according to that, by those who emphasize either the objective or the subjective. However, what if it's not a matter of lukewarmness, but rather being zealous to find one's balance in this treacherous spiritual lanscape, and to find likeminded souls, who truly desire companionship with the living Christ and seek His manifestation within and among themselves together?

 

Thoughts, discussion, kind comments, prayer requests?

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