Recently in The Age Newspaper I read of a condition where people are unable to recognise the person that goes with a face. What they see is a face - but the ‘who’ of that face eludes them. It reminded me of a similar mental condition called agnosia, brought to fame by Oliver Sacks in his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. But agnosia is more than mistaken identity like thinking a person is a pair of sunglasses or a lap-top. Agnosia is the inability to form the correct and meaningful whole out of collection of sensory data.
Gestalt is about perceiving things as wholes rather than as unconnected phenomena. The ability to perceive wholes in phenomena and the facility of reasoning from cause to effect are key signs of intelligence. Spiritual discernment is related to this but is more the effect of lived oneness with god than mental ability.
‘The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit’ 1 Cor 2.14 NIV. One cannot make sense of our extravagant inheritance if contained in the bubble of the law. Similarly the outlines of reality are blurred when we live from the goldfish bowl of religion.
Life in the Spirit is the mode of spiritual perception. Living as part of the Being of God is key to our perceiving spiritual reality with accuracy. Life in religion is the paradigm of separation. Separation is the great darkness.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
But Jesus is life and that life is the light of all. The hurly-burly of life has meaning according to the relationship of the parts. We acquire meaning when we see patterns that we discern on the basis that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is Paul’s point in his statement, ‘In Him we live, move and have our being.’ God is the hub from which relationship and meaning flows. Thus the Christ is described at the start of John’s gospel as the logos – the one that Paul declares is not only the One in which all that exists finds its meaning and purpose. He literally holds the creation together and is the LIGHT of all meaning.
START AT THE RIGHT PLACE
If the church is our life, we will busy ourselves in trying to bring about revival by some new configuration of the church. But we will fail. We may even commit the folly of exchanging one kind of God-empty box for empty boxes another kind. I’m referring to formulas and configurations that lack the anointing of Holy Spirit because they are not the fruit of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Neither do they possess the authority to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons – even though such authority is already their inheritance. So they settle for multiplying institutions.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ John 15.5 NIV.
Avoid being entangled in other people’s Ishmaels. Anything not the effect of the Reality that is CHRIST IN YOU will end in confusion. We will impose right meaning on all that is about us when Christ is our life and we alive in the Spirit. If law and performance is our life, we will engage in a game of trivial pursuit and think we are pleasing God. This is our plight when we live in shadows instead of the reality that is Christ.
YOU ARE INCLUDED
To know God we must participate in God. This we can do because we have been positioned in union with God by Jesus Christ. ‘When Soren Kierkegaard talked about a “leap of faith” .. he meant that the reason must be in accordance with the nature of God, and that we must think in a dynamic way in accordance with a living, moving, reality.” This is to say that we must be in God on account of our inheritance. Not separated from God in the abstractions of legalism. (1)
The glasses that provide the correct interpretation of the Bible and its meaning for all are Jesus and His new covenant provision. This provision is that we have been drawn into the life of our Father and that the trinity lives in us. God is not somewhere else. We are not living in separation. Christ in us is His glory and ours. We are the agents of His new creation. We see correctly when we live as part of His Being.
(1) Ritchie, Bruce. T. F. Torrance in Recollection and Reappraisal (p. 51). Pickwick Publications. Kindle Edition.