Tuesday, June 23, 2020

What is a Spiritual Journey: The Moment of Realization

Last week we talked about the call to adventure. We start at a place in our spiritual journey where we don’t have any interest in God or spiritual things. And something profound changes in our lives, where we sense that call to take the spiritual adventure.

So we start down the road. We show up at dinner church. We join a bible study. We start to read the Bible. We watch Christian movies. We start to pray. We start to consider, maybe there really is a God. And believe me, we don’t just jump on this train as it goes by.

What’s happening behind the scenes is that God is pulling the strings inside us, drawing us slowly to Himself. In theology they call that prevenient grace. The grace that goes before salvation, you might say. The grace that finds you at the “not interested” phase, and guides you onto the road.

So you’re at the point of the call to the adventure. Many times what happens is we refuse the call. We run back to the dope. We run back to the bottle, the pills. We ditch the church stuff. See ya. But often times, something new will happen that will draw us again to be humbled, and to accept the call to adventure.

So you’ve accepted the call. You’ve begun the journey. Next in the journey, we come to the moment of realization, what Campbell, the author of the “hero with a thousand faces” calls “supernatural aid.”

For Luke Skywalker, in Star Wars A New Hope, this was the moment when he met Ben Kenobi and received instruction, and his father’s lightsaber. In Lord of the Rings, it’s the moment when Frodo meets with Bilbo and receives his armor, the mithril, and the sword, named sting.

For me, this moment would’ve been in 2011, when I had begun to search after spiritual things. And I wasn’t sure what to believe. I used to wear a necklace with the symbols of all the various world religions on it. It symbolized my own exploration of spirituality. I was still very much addicted at this time, but I was searching for truth. And as I’ve shared before I was watching out the window, during a beautiful sunny day, and I was watching hummingbirds buzzing about, wings moving as a blur, dipping their beaks into the tips of flowers that seemed shaped just right to allow the hummingbird entry. And so at this moment, I had a moment of clarity, what you might call a “holy moment” where I realized that indeed there must be a God of the universe.

For a moment in my darkness, and struggle, the glory of God appeared, drawing me to himself. So, have you come to that moment in your own spiritual journey? Have you come to the moment of realization: There really is a God. Jesus is really real. Or perhaps it takes the form of, I will finally decide to follow Him. I’m giving myself to God. I’m giving up cigarettes. I’m throwing out the alcohol. I’m done with sexually acting out.

God’s glory appears at beautiful moments in our lives. That is our moment of clarity, of realization. And indeed it happens through God’s word, through prayer, and in the natural world.

Our scripture today talks about the power of God’s glory, how he shines into a moment. It said this: “7 The Law was carved in letters on stone tablets, and God's glory appeared when it was given. Even though the brightness on Moses' face was fading, it was so strong that the people of Israel could not keep their eyes fixed on him. If the Law, which brings death when it is in force, came with such glory, 8 how much greater is the glory that belongs to the activity of the Spirit! 9 The system which brings condemnation was glorious; how much more glorious is the activity which brings salvation! 10 We may say that because of the far brighter glory now the glory that was so bright in the past is gone. 11 For if there was glory in that which lasted for a while, how much more glory is there in that which lasts forever!”

God’s glory appeared long ago through the old testament law. Indeed those who read it loved it, David himself writes time and again in the psalms, Lord, I love your statutes. I love your law. But in our time an even greater glory came through the activity of the Spirit.

The Spirit moves in this very room. I’ve seen it before. People moved to tears. That’s not me folks I’m just some guy. That’s God’s spirit moving in the room. Scott once said that he felt a hand touch his face as we prayed. That’s God’s spirit. We see people start to live differently. I’ve seen all of you grow and change over the last year. You aren’t the same people. Even those of you who don’t really care so much about God or the Bible. I’ve seen you change too. The Spirit moves. And it’s glorious.

The scripture finishes like this:

12 Because we have this hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who had to put a veil over his face so that the people of Israel would not see the brightness fade and disappear. 14 Their minds, indeed, were closed; and to this very day their minds are covered with the same veil as they read the books of the old covenant. The veil is removed only when a person is joined to Christ. 15 Even today, whenever they read the Law of Moses, the veil still covers their minds. 16 But it can be removed, as the scripture says about Moses: “His veil was removed when he turned to the Lord.”17 Now, “the Lord” in this passage is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. 18 All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.”

So that’s what it’s all about. At the moment of realization, the veil is partially removed, you might say. I was given enough by God in that moment to know that He was really real. It would be another year before he gave me the knowledge to cry out to Jesus Christ. And even at that moment, I didn’t fully understand who Jesus was or what he did until months later. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re gonna continue this series and explore this spiritual journey. Engage with this journey alright. Seek after God. And our ministry is going to be praying constantly that your eyes are uncovered and you come to see that God really is all in all.

Many of you have spent far too many years sitting on the sidelines, you’re a hero, inside, I can see it in your eyes, but you’re stuck. Addicted. Locked in. Depressed. Lonely. Alcoholic. Self centered. And Christ is the only way you can break free from the gutter that you’re caught in now. Christ took me out of the gutter, why, because I had to make that unthinkably terrible decision, and it was the very last thing I wanted in the world, to give my whole life over to God almighty, something I knew meant everything in my life would have to change. And I just didn’t want to have to do all that, I liked my sin. But I got so desperate, so miserable, so chained to sin for so long, that I finally said ANYTHING is better than what I’m doing now. So cry out in truth to Jesus Christ. Give it all to Him. That unthinkable thing, you must do. Give it all over. Do it quickly. And make a plan to live it out in the future.