Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Receiving The Holy Spirit
When the Holy Spirit enters your soul, you will be changed. You will see and hear things that others don't see and hear. You will experience an elated state of mind convinced that you have found the solutions to all the problems in your life.
Unfortunately, seeing and hearing things and elation are also indicators of schizophrenia and mania. So how do you distinguish between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the effects of a mental illness?
In the case of schizophrenia, the affected person suffers from hallucination. He sees, hears, smells and feels things that others don't. These effects of schizophrenia become a problem and indicate a mental illness when they begin disrupting the normal life of the person. When he cannot properly function in school, at work, or maintain relationships, its time to seek psychiatric help.
Under schizophrenia the affected person also suffers from delusion. He refuses to change what he believes to be true even when presented with irrefutable evidence that his belief is not true or logical. For instance, he may believe people around him are cheating, plotting to poison, or spying upon him. He may also have delusion of grandeur and believe he can accomplish things beyond his immediate resources and ability.
In the case of mania, the affected person may be either elated, or irritable and angry. He would have racing thoughts, increased talking, faster speech than normal, risk taking, grandiose plans and impulsive behavior. Normal people do experience some of these characteristics of mania, but these become indicators of mental illness when they disrupt the person's normal life.
On the other hand, while the indwelling of the Holy Spirit would enable you to see and hear things that others don't, you would have this experience no longer than a few days. Better still the experience wouldn't disrupt your normal life. If these revelations begin to disrupt your normal life know that they are not from God, they may be the effects of a mental illness, or from evil spirits.
This is the reason priests don't normally teach the mystical underpinnings of the gospel. If they did, they would be introducing us to the activities of spirits. And since in the spiritual world there is no telling when we would run into evil spirits and be misled or harmed, priests seek to protect us from direct contact with spirits, and when we do come into direct contact with spirits the experience is gently explained away.
Priests have a good reason for protecting us from receiving direct revelations from spirits. Can you imagine the pandemonium that would occur in the church if half the congregation began seeing and hearing things that others don't see?
Well meaning as the priests are, we don't need that protection. We need to know the mystical underpining of the gospel in order to understand who is God, and his relevance in our lives. Agreeing with this is why Jesus spoke in parables telling us earthly stories to explain spiritual principles aimed at helping us understand the nature of God, and his relevance in our lives, and letting us know we can have direct relationship with God by worshiping him in spirit and in truth.
Matthew 13:3-23 is one such parables. Jesus told the story about a farmer who went out to sow seed, pointing out that the seed stood for the word of God, and those who hear, understand and apply the word of God in their daily lives would receive the Holy Spirit.
Before I lose you let me say quickly that receiving the Holy Spirit, or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a mystical process. In our conscious state of mind, you and I cannot understand this process. To understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we need help from the word of God.
By hearing, reading and practicing the word of God we prepare our souls for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but practicing the word of God is not easy. If it were human relationships would be far better than they are today, and consequently most of the problems we face would have been solved.
Still, practicing the word of God is doable when done on the foundation of love. A love that is willing to give without expecting something in return. I know I've caught your attention because what I'm saying is very seldom done. In the natural course of our lives when we give we expect something in return. For example, when you treat your neighbor kindly, you expect him to treat you kindly in return. If he doesn't you would stop being nice to him.
But the gospel teaches differently. It encourages us to treat our neighbors kindly, regardless whether they treat us kindly or not. This is hard stuff to swallow, and is the reason so many people are unable to practice it in their daily lives. Instead, we practice the dictum: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth which leads to spiritual emasculation and blindness. We are forever hearing but not hearing what matters, and forever seeing but not seeing what matters for our happiness.
Knowing that humankind was headed for disaster is the reason God came in the person of Jesus and lived among us, so that we might receive the Holy Spirit by hearing and practicing the word. By hearing and reading the word, we acquire faith by which we can see God, and strengthen our love for him.
Our love for God can be demonstrated only by practicing his word. And what is the word of God? In the form that matters the most, the word of God is this: love your neighbors as you love yourself, meaning do onto your neighbors as you would want done onto you. Loving your neighbors as yourself is the mystical underpinning of the word of God.
If you love your neighbors as you love yourself, you wouldn't accept any revelation that told you to do onto your neighbors what you wouldn't want done onto you. For example, you wouldn't accept as a legitimate revelation to steal your neighbor's property, or take his wife or husband, or do harm to your neighbors, because you wouldn't want your neighbors doing these things to you. The mystery in this spiritual principle is that love opens the door to your soul for the Holy Spirit to live in you, protecting you from been misled or harmed by evil spirits.
By this spiritual principle God has revealed to you and I the mystical underpinning of his word. You don't need a PhD, or a Masters Degree, or even a high school diploma to understand the word of God, and have a direct spiritual relationship with him. Certainly, Jesus and his twelve disciples didn't have PhD and Masters degrees, yet they understood the mystical underpinning of the gospel, and taught it to all who had ears to hear.
To be sure, the word of God is a mystery, but by his grace we now know that by doing onto our neighbors as we would want done onto us, we can transform our souls into hospitable dwelling for the Holy Spirit, making us three persons in one, as God is three persons in one; making us children of God, as Jesus is the son of God.
As a child of God, remind yourself daily that the Holy Spirit lives in you. Know that the Holy Spirit will not make you do what you don't want to do. The presence of the Holy Spirit in you, makes available to you God's wisdom and power. It's your choice to use them to create the conditions in which the things you hope for will become real in your life.
If you have questions send them to me for answers. I don't charge for answering your questions. I received the Word freely and freely I give it to you. Meanwhile, read my articles on "The Meaning and Application of Faith."