Far Better Explored Than Explained

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
(John 16:8)

Some things in life are better explored than explained such as an alpine trail lined with wildflowers, the Basilica Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the shoreline of Galilee, or even chocolate ice cream. Explanations just can’t do them justice.

The same is true of a relationship to God. It can be explained to death, literally. We quote Scriptures, memorize cute aphorisms, and read books trying to understand it. We have sought to understand him with our heads and missed the joy of discovering how God makes himself known, and how his purpose in the world is revealed each day. Many who can talk about God in eloquent terms have no idea how to live in him with grace and affection through the difficult challenges of living in a broken world. They have never explored it.

Perhaps the most significant proof of this, other than what I’ve observed with people, is drawn from the way Jesus lived. He walked this out very differently than we try to. For instance, he wasn’t preoccupied with a Sunday meeting or building an institution he called church. He was more interested in letting the reality of the kingdom flow through him in the encounters he had each day. It’s why he could spend an afternoon with a woman at a well, or on the hillsides above Galilee with a large crowd.

It’s incredible to me that we don’t seem to take much note of that. We act as if Jesus went to church every week to sing songs and listen to a lecture. He did no such thing, and, no, that’s not what going to the synagogue was like. He didn’t tell his disciples that’s what he wanted them to do every week. As far as we know, he never organized a single meeting, except for serving the Passover in the upper room, and even that didn’t take him long.

He seemed to wake up every day and navigate the circumstances and choices of his life with an eye to his Father’s unfolding purpose in the world. He shared the kingdom with others freely even as he sought to help the disciples learn to do it too. Even there, he didn’t hold an extensive array of classes teaching them all the intricacies of God’s attributes nor the mechanics of the kingdom of God. He didn’t offer them outlines of God’s characteristics or teach them a process for letting God’s power work through them. He didn’t offer them a curriculum, he let them watch it in his own life and explore that new reality in their own. He was offering them a different way to live—in a Father’s love, in power greater than their own efforts, in the growing simplicity of learning to trust his love.

He knew you couldn’t learn those things in a classroom or from a book. Real life has to be explored, and he encouraged them to do so—to ask questions, to struggle with their own fleshly ambitions, and to taste the power of his Spirit. At times, he even sent them to discover that they could pass the life of the kingdom on to others.

It is evident to me now that he wanted them to explore the kingdom, not analyze it. He knew they could only understand it by experiencing it, not by reducing it to a set of facts or propositions. The people I know who live most freely in the kingdom are those who are discovering it, not in seminars and classes, but in the circumstances of their own lives—a woman betrayed by her husband, a man who’s lost his job because of lies told about him, a mother whose son was convicted of murder, or a child tempted to betray his conscience for the approval of his friends. I am often asked if I have a discipleship curriculum I can recommend to others, or at least a resource to help them know the Lord better.

The curriculum for your journey is not in the Bible or some workbook based on the Bible. I know this gets me labeled as a heretic by some, but the curriculum for God’s work in you is in the Spirit himself. That’s why Jesus said that he would send the Comforter and he would guide us into all truth. He didn’t say he’d send us a book to follow, because you cannot follow a book. He didn’t entrust it to religious leaders. His Spirit alone can show us how to engage God in the reality you live every day.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m a Bible guy. All the wisdom we need is in God’s revelation of himself, but it is the Spirit that helps us make sense of his words as they fit into our experience. I know people well-learned in the Scriptures, who can argue theology with precision, but who have no life flowing in them. And, I know people who live by their feelings, thinking their every whim is the Spirit’s direction. They both flounder because in the end, we are still interpreting our own journey, instead of learning to listen and to rely on his indwelling Spirit.

Jesus didn’t tell us to live by our intellect or feelings alone, but by a growing sensitivity to the leading of his Spirit. And where does he make himself known? In the unfolding events of your life. Look no further than in the circumstances that already surround you and the internal thoughts you have in dealing with them. How can you love the people around you the way Father wants them loved? What is he showing you about the things that perplex you, cause you anxiety, or distract you from the life you truly want to live? I’ve come to conclude that the best way to learn how to live in the Father’s kingdom is by exploring it one day at a time.

How is he revealing himself to you today? What is he asking of you, if anything? Ask him to show you. Carve out time regularly that will take you away from the hustle and bustle of life to listen for him and look for him, letting his thoughts percolate to the top of your own. Seek him in prayer, not as a ritual to be rewarded, but learning to converse with One who loves you deeply and wants to show you the best way to navigate the circumstances in your life. This is where Scripture becomes incredibly valuable as you probe God’s thoughts with his words. Then, follow him as best you see him, learning by trial and error what is the voice of the Spirit and what are your own ambitions.

Taste and see that the Lord is good, that his ways are far better than ours. Come and learn that the impressions you so quickly reject, because they don’t make sense, are actually his nudging you into greater freedom. Discover just how loved you are. You can hear it explained until your mind is numb, but you can only discover it when you explore it, even entrusting your unresolved questions to him.

Embrace that, not only for yourself but in helping others with their journey as well. Rather than trying to explain it all to them, coach them on how to explore it with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Upcoming Travel

March 29-30 – Morgantown, WV
March 31 – Trafford, PA (Pittsburgh)
April 26-28 – Tjome, Norway (Tonsberg)
April 29-May 3 – Pescara, Italy
May 3-5 – Dinhard ,Switzerland (Zurich)
May 6-8 – Vallorbe, Switzerland

I am also planning on going to Kenya and Uganda this summer as well as in discussions about visits to Florida, southern Illinois, Atlanta again, among other places, You can keep checking my Travel Schedule, or if you’d like to be notified if I’m planning to visit your area, you can sign up on our email listand include your address <http://eepurl.com/bJ43Ar>.

 

In Case You Missed it…

Here are some of the podcasts and blogs that have generated the most interest over the last couple of months.

Podcasts at TheGodJourney.com:

Wayne’s blog at Lifestream.org

 

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7 Comments
  1. Jan Shifferd March 20, 2019 at 8:25 am

    A wonderful read! Thanks,Jan

  2. Jeff A March 20, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    I can’t hear this enough and so beautifully written.

  3. Tim Stiles March 20, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Love this Wayne..your life and journey has helped me so much after 29 years in The Way…

  4. Kate March 21, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Quote by Colin Smith I read recently hits on this recent blog article written by Wayne:
    “Christianity is not primarily a set of beliefs at all, although beliefs are involved. It’s much more about being in a relationship with someone you love. Thus exploring Christianity has little to do with collecting hard evidence and building a theory. It is more about looking at what is on offer, and then seeing if it is sufficiently attractive, to take the plunge of entering a relationship and exploring further. The beliefs follow on from there. It’s more like a courtship than a scientific investigation.

    But what is involved in courting God with a view to entering a relationship? A good start would be to find out as much as possible about him or her. This can seem difficult as God has no physical form, so cannot be physically touched, seen or heard. But that is not the end of the matter, for the claim is that historically he was physically amongst us, as a man called Jesus.

    To evaluate this claim, we could look at the eye witness accounts, as found in the gospels and letters of the New Testament, which the early church went to a great deal of trouble to ensure were accurate. Another useful move would be to seek the company of those who claim to know him spiritually and talk with them about their experience. In this way a picture can be gradually built up. At this point, a tentative prayer asking Him to reveal himself might well be appropriate. Effectively he is being held to his promises such as this one:
    “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt. 7: 7-8)

  5. Kevin March 21, 2019 at 9:38 am

    I have come to realize without a doubt that nothing or no one, is known unless it (they) is (are) experienced personally. Knowledge is just a fantasy unless it is experienced firsthand which would actually require physical effort, and is also why I think people are so in love with knowledge. Coming from a bit of a wild background mixed with the religiosity I was reared in, the idea of transformation was very attractive to me so when I came back in I really came back in looking for the correct teaching and theology which would transform me. But theology and “correct” teaching and memorization does not transform, but instead creates an image to conform to, especially when it’s interpretation is enacted by others in that organized setting. What I have found is that life itself, real life with the “pagans” as real friends, transforms a person, and it is the presence of the influence and speaking of God personally which allows a person to see life in sobriety and true reality. If they call you a heretic, I have certainly now crossed and obliterated that line. I truly now am convinced that Jesus’ main point was to simply clarify the point so that we might live freeeeeely by the point, period. The spirit of the law written on the heart. To just be…to live…to be loved…to love. To not do ANYTHING religiously, or from obligation, or coercion, or from guilt, but whatever it is it is genuine and pure, and that is what a Father loves and that is what friendship requires and is what a good marriage requires. Now all my old theology is totally off the rails as the things (theologies) I was told as being God directed are nothing more than mind games created by people as they tried to please and reconcile themselves before “the gods”, and carried into the great misunderstanding of The Living (Word) God. There is one simple equation I have discovered: what the prophets said, what Jesus said and lived, what the religious leaders said and the customs invoked in Gods name, and what happened to those of each group. I no longer find it even a little coincidental that religious leaders (sons of hell, whose father is the devil, etc), the cream of the crop of their day, tried to silence the voice of God by killing all the true messengers. When I look at Sinai and I see God desiring a new beginning out of slavery, a nation of priests, individual interaction, no go-between’s, true spiritual and personal liberation, I can only imagine it was the type “A” priests who rejected that offer and convinced the people that it would be best if God just told them what to do and they would enforce that law. Compare all that with the life of Jesus, minus any sort of habits or hang-ups with “bad” people, and Judaism looks to me to be a totally false religion that God had been attempting to personalize into relationship from day 1. I’m not sure what I believe anymore in regards to God directing feast days, and sacrifices, and adornments for temples, etc; it all sounds a bit fishy, much too childish and mind gamish, as well as contradicts the word of the prophets. “What is required of me oh God??” “You KNOW oh man what is required!” I think Micah 6:6-8 is as clear as it gets if we want to see Gods heart. Or Isaiah 58, which speaks into so much more than just fasting; Jeremiah 22:15-16 in regards to knowing God, and so many more. Jesus and the prophets weren’t speaking about actionable items or agendas or behaviors, but a condition of heart and mind and motive which would result in a natural lifestyle of love without boundaries, of possessing a humble power under control (meekness). This heart of God was real and happening and infecting individuals long before church, and long before one offering from the heart became ritual of sacrifice for the masses. Maybe you’re right; maybe God gave them religion in order to win them out of it; maybe children require rules to get them off to a start so they can one day figure out the spirit of the rules which may simply become a part of them. I don’t know anymore about those things I was once certain of. all I know is that I love what love (meekness) is. I don’t think think there is anything more attractive or compelling, or that which draws me closer to God than when I see true love in meekness, or when I may briefly touch it myself on occasion; it brings life to “I must become less, He must become more” in a natural, relational way. The point is simply: know God personally… personally… personally. And if you think you know, keep searching, keep walking, keep hiking, keep sitting under a tree alone, and keep looking like you haven’t found anything yet, because I am certain that the best has come and is yet to come when a person truly desires to KNOW God personally.

  6. Danie Du Plessis March 22, 2019 at 2:30 am

    Thank you for this Wayne,
    The Holy Spirit is so faithful.
    Just a simple testimony. Yesterday morning I felt the need to take communion and as I started to pray I spontaneously started to pray in the tongue God gave me. And as I was praying in the spirit I was filled with such gratefulness and joy. When I finished praying I said to the Lord I know that this gift is to build me up but If it is to share with others, I need an interpretation. I then had a very strong impression in my spirit from the Holy Spirit saying,
    “This is from the heart of the Father”. The Father is saying: ” I don’t want you to have communion with me in a ritualistic way this morning. Your communion with Me must be a moment of simple worship. I am not A narcissistic God who wants to be worshiped all the time because it makes Me feel good. I want you to worship Me because of the spiritual and physical benefits there is in it for you and all of My children. Don’t make it complicated. Keep it simple and sincere. I know what you are going through at the moment. Wait for My plan! Worship and wait! Trust Me! I love you with an everlasting love. I will not let go of you!”
    Kind Regards,
    Daniel du Plessis

  7. Will Pearce March 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    When “disciple” (a verb that speaks to a process) came to be translated as “make disciples” (a verb with a stated outcome), it indicated a shift that had already occurred in Christianity. Even when this distinction became widely discussed back in the ‘70s and ‘80s (with lots of sage head-nodding), we then defined “disciple” as “the process of making disciples” in conformance with the status quo.

    Thanks, Wayne, for pointing out so clearly that discipling means living in, experiencing, exploring Father’s reality of loving and being loved, not committing to a program which will never be enough and will never be mistaken for “streams of living water.”

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