Going deeper than the mind …
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8;16, ESV
Has it ever occurred to you that there is something deeper that the mind? Living in a western mindset causes us to examine most things from the mind, in the courtroom of reason.
Even those of us who call on the name of Jesus, often relate to God solely by our mind. We experience Jesus from a third-person relationship. By this I mean that we gather information about Jesus, His life and the Bible, but often neglect a first-person experience.
I notice it in our songs when we sing about Jesus rather than to Him. I often wonder why the song writer remains in the third person. Are they simply enthralled by the knowledge about Him rather than with Him face to face?
When I sing such songs, it feels as though Jesus is not in the room – as though He is far away, say, in heaven, and we are singing about the concept of God, or redemption or some other aspect of our new life in Jesus. It doesn’t feel as though Jesus is right in front of us and we are singing directly to Him.
The apostle Paul’s words cut through the concept of God and takes us right into His presence. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit. This testimony of the Spirit is more intuitive than intellectual. It is to be a living relationship.
Jesus says the same thing in different words. “My sheep hear My voice … and they follow Me” – John 10;27, NASB. Yet, I meet Christians with great regularity who tell me they cannot hear His voice.
We have a great disconnect. I believe it arises out of our emphasis upon our minds – upon knowledge. Please hear me, knowledge is the framework, the riverbed by which we are led to greater understanding of God. Yet, knowledge itself is not the river. It is not the end goal of how we relate to our Lord.
Jesus also said, “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth” – John 4:24, NASB. This “Spirit to spirit” element is a missing ingredient. Once added, it enhances our relationship with Jesus. It is the daily and moment-by-moment living relationship that the Father seeks from us.
Yesterday, I met with a young man who has had Bible information about Jesus for much of his life. He had a general faith, but not a specific one. To penetrate deeper than his mind, I inquired if he had the testimony of the Spirit in his spirit. I carefully pointed out that this is deeper than his mind.
He answered in the negative. So, we then talked about Jesus’ words in John 3 about being born a second time – what we frequently called being “born again.”
In simple terms, I explained how our spirit is separated from God because of sin. We looked at other words of Paul in Ephesians 2, where he wrote that we are dead in our sins and trespasses.
Being dead simply means that our spirit is not alive in relationship to God. Thus, we have need to be born again. Our bodies were born physically, but we need our spirits to be made alive by redemption. This is the second birth.
Faced with an awareness that he did not have this internal witness of the Spirit to his spirit, this young man bowed his head and prayed to receive Jesus into his heart to be his Savior, to forgive his sins and to be born a second time.
From this time forward, we will focus on taking knowledge and making it personal. By this I mean, as he gains new information in his mind, I will teach him how to hear this information by his spirit in his heart. I will lead him to know the voice of Jesus in a living, first-person relationship with our Great Shepherd.
If you desire to know more about this second birth, I have explained it in my very short book entitled Born Twice Die Once.
Here is a link to find it.