For many years I have sought to understand the beauty contained in John 15. It is a glorious piece of Scripture that invokes so many deep meditations and implications, and yet I really couldn’t understand the enlightened wisdom contained therein. At first glance, it sounds like a poetic and philosophical teaching that most of us can appreciate but cannot fully understand. I have said to myself, “Wow, that is so very profound! But what does it really mean?” I could read my own thoughts into it, but I know that until the Spirit breathes life into it, I will be bound to mere earthly understanding. But recently, the Holy Spirit has been burning into my soul the true understanding of this great and mysterious teaching of Christ.
Note: If you haven’t read the Introduction to the Solid Food Series, I suggest that you do read it so you know where we are going.
Before we begin, let me share my personal experience with God’s manifestations of wisdom. I have often wondered why God just doesn’t shed immediate light on certain subjects. I mean, if we are to be transformed, then why doesn’t God just open our eyes to gaze at the splendor of His glory? The answer lies in process. We are transformed not all at once but rather by a process of maturity in walking by faith. And we know that it is impossible to please God without faith. The process that I have experienced brings to mind an apparent truth: God has to reveal Himself one step at a time, for to show us too much at one time would render us paralyzed. If one could gaze too far forward into God’s design, it would result in spiritual blindness. Sitting in a dark room for a long period of time has a two-fold effect on our vision. Number one, we can detect even the slightest appearance of light; and number two, if too much light enters all at once, we would be blinded. In a real practical way, our eyes need to adjust. Another point to ponder is the journey of discovery. So much of our understanding of grace, spiritual fruit, and wisdom is the journey…not the destination. For, to be granted immediate access to His glory would rob us of the refining beauty of process. The nuts-and-bolts if you will of sanctification are the actual burning up of the dross that inhibits our sight. We must be willing to walk in His rhythm so that He may use us to help others on their journey. If He just granted immediate access for us to His glory, then how can we help another that has not been granted the same? We all seek to experience and truly know our God, but when the Lord has revealed Himself, the progression of maturity compels us to reach out to others. Everyone is different and everyone has their own unique destiny. If we honestly want to heed the call of Christ, then we have to know that His call requires us to lay our lives down for others. What benefit is it that we know or have experienced something divine but lack the grace to share it with others? We all should know two main points here before we move forward: number one, anything that is worth having requires a great deal of work (remember the “count the cost” example in Luke 14:28); and number two, you can’t keep what you don’t freely give away. These are just the spiritual laws of our Savior’s Kingdom and should not be disputed, grudgingly accepted, or resisted.
One more thing before we start. Please read John 15. As you begin to read this, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, teach you, and open your eyes. I will use many other verses, but this teaching will not make much sense if you don’t prepare your heart by reading the passage, meditating on the passage, and allowing the Spirit to shed His light into it. The Spirit may only shed a little light for you or He may dazzle you with new eyes. For the purpose of this teaching, it does not matter whether you are graced with much light or little light…because I am confident that if you fulfill this much of what I am humbly asking you to do, then the teaching that follows will edify you to the extent that the Spirit allows and deems appropriate.
I will begin this teaching Saturday morning (July 7th, 2012) and will post it by 10am EST. In the meantime, I need you to read, meditate, and pray over John 15. We need to be speaking the same language and be on the same page. I will lift my readers up in prayer between now and then. May His will be done!
May the Lord bless you on this journey,