To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
May/June 2016 Issue – The Presence of God, ‘You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.’ Psalm 16:11
The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):
Psalm 119:145-152 (NIVUK): ”I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.
Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law.
Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true. Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last for ever.”
Well, I think that today’s study is very good because it contains a very important message concerning belief (bible based) and spiritual experience. These two aspects of a Christian’s life should always be kept in balance with a fairly equal priority being assigned to each of these areas.
Unfortunately, in the area where I live, there has been a fairly negative view expressed (in particular, by Sydney Anglicans), concerning the role of spiritual experience. A view, which I don’t share.
I think I’ll leave it to Selwyn to cover this issue in greater detail.
He writes, in his introduction: “Those who recommend ending the day with an examination of consciousness (of whom I am one) say that we should always be ready to do two things in particular. One is to share with Jesus our sorrow that we were not more aware of His presence, and the other is to pray for His help in being more aware of His presence in the day that is to come.”
In regard to spiritual experience, he had this to say: “From the early days of my Christian life I has been taught to forget about experience and concentrate on beliefs. ‘You are what you believe,’ I was told, ‘and if you look to experience you may well be disappointed.’
Now I have come to see that this advice, though given with good intentions, was flawed. In attempting to direct me away from seeking to experience God, my spiritual advisors had deprived me of something that would have been of great benefit to my soul.”
As I said at the start of my commentary, there always needs to be a balance between beliefs and spiritual experiences; and there never will be a legitimate case when a spiritual experience is in conflict with a biblical truth. This is an important area of discernment for a Christian seeking to faithfully follow Jesus and to also experience His presence in their daily lives.