In part one of this series of articles you learn the fundamentals of experiencing God. Now we’re going to explore the three instructions Jesus revealed as the way to experience an inner life with Him.
Instruction #1 – Death Of The Worldly Self
The first step in experiencing God is to mentally and spiritually let go of the world. The act produces a spiritual death as stated in John 12:25.
“He who loves His life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
The good news is that the death of the worldly-self allows God to be seen and heard more clearly.
Only you can determine whether or not you need to let go of something physically, but remember, there’s little value of physical purging if your heart lusts. So this message addresses the condition of your inner being more than anything else.
The most important thing you can do right now is to show God a heart purged of the world. God is better able to embrace and fill an empty heart than a heart filled with worldly things.
Something you can start doing is to pray. Sincerely come before God and lay your heart before Him. Tell Him you no longer want the things of the world, the ambitions, the goals, the competition, the psychology, or anything else that stands between you and Him.
Tell God that you gladly give it all up for Him. Then show your heart free and clear of the world and ask Him to keep it and to fill it up.
As you practice these techniques, the word of God will become clearer and clearer. In a few weeks, or maybe a few months, the knowledge of God built up in you will become information that’ll guide you spiritually.
Instruction #2 – The Light Of The Body
Have you ever wondered how we could live like Jesus? After all Jesus, Himself said that we should be more like Him and do even greater miracles than His.
Jesus expects you to be like Him. How in the world are we supposed to do that?
The answer is in Matthew 6:22.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good your whole body will be full of light.”
The instruction Jesus delivers in this message requires faith the size of a mustard seed, and if you diligently practice it, it will become God's growing light in you.
This little verse is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible, and yet it contains one of the most
important instructions for a positive Christian life.
To understand this verse we need to look at keywords in the original Greek which allows us to understand the true meaning.
This verse is translated almost verbatim from the Greek except for three key words, “lamp,” “eye,” and “good.” Let’s take at these words in Greek.
The word “lamp” is translated from the word “lookh’-nos” (phonetic) which means a lamp, candle, or anything that illuminates.
The word “eye” was translated from the word “of-thal-mos” (phonetic) which means the eye, the mind, vision, or the vision of the mind.
The word “good,” which sometimes appears as the word “single” in some Bible translations, was interpreted from the word “hap-looce” (phonetic) which means whole, good, sound, perfect, or fulfilling its purpose. It can also mean, single in purpose, or one.
Now that you know the Greek meanings of these three keywords listen to what this verse sounds like as direct Greek translation.
The phrase, “The lamp of the body is the eye.” sounds like this in Greek, “What illuminates your body is the vision of your mind.”
The next phrase, “If therefore your eye is good your whole body will be full of light.” sounds like this in Greek, “If the vision of your mind is sound, single in purpose, or perfect, your whole body will be full of light.”
Putting it all together it reads like this, “What illuminates your body is the vision of your mind. Therefore the vision of your mind is sound or made perfect, your whole body will be full of light.”
So the message is pretty clear isn’t it. But what does Jesus mean when He says, “If the vision of your mind is sound, or made perfect”?
To understand the message, we need to take the position of the speaker. Jesus is speaking this verse. There’s only one thing that Jesus could ever consider sound or good in the mind, and that’s His word.
So if your mind is sound, made perfect, or single as one with His word, Jesus says that your whole body will be full of light.
What kind of light is Jesus talking about? Remember, it’s Jesus who is speaking. There is only one light He could ever consider being the light of all people, and that’s Himself, nothing else.
Now let me ask you this. How much faith does a Christian need to receive the living breathing word of God as light in the body? Not much. But it does require willingness, persistent meditative study, and a good heart.
Let me show you how Jesus explains it. Go to Luke 8:15.
Throughout Luke eight Jesus explains the parable of seed that falls on different types of ground. In verse fifteen He talks about the good earth that bears fruit.
Let’s read it together. Luke 8:15.
“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
In this verse, Jesus states that we are to hear His word, which requires a great deal of concentration in study and willingness to receive. Now, look at what Jesus says about those people who hear His word. “Having heard the word” and with what? With a noble and good hear. And what do they do with it? They “keep it” or build it, or cultivate it inside. And for what reason? “to bear fruit with patience.”
Actually, the word “patience” is better translated as the word "endurance." So in this verse, Jesus explains that we can be diligent and apply ourselves to the study of His word until it becomes clear in our mind, that’s the definition of “hearing.”
Then, His cultivated word in the person with a pure heart will grow to produce fruit. And the only fruit that the enlivened Word can produce in us is in His likeness. By the way, this is the product of a righteous life.
So a pure heart concentrated in the meditative study of God's word increases God's presence in us. Then everything you do will prosper and bear fruit according to the will of God. Notice that the emphasis is on God, and not prosperity. Prosperity is a result of God’s willful presence in you and has a much broader meaning than just physical possessions. That’s why we should seek God first, so everything else will be added to us according to God's perfect and divine will of God.
Once God is received that way, your mind will be fertile with His thought, and His peace will comfort you. Every inch of your heart will be filled with His love, and you will desire nothing except the desires of God in your life, which will be fulfilled by God as His living will in you.
By the way, this kind of relationship between you and God is an act of love on both sides. On His part, His can love you with individual countenance because you love Him enough to relinquish the worldly self and to cultivate His word within you. This kind of synergistic activity between you and God is what allows God’s light to grow brightly in you.
So meditate on His word daily just like it says in Psalm one. You should meditate on His word day and night so you can be like a tree planted by the living waters that produce Godly fruit.
Instruction #3 – God, You, And The Eternal PrayerLet’s go to John 14:23
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
This word was spoken by Jesus to His disciples at the last supper as part of His final instruction and summarizes the fulfillment of our most profound yearning to live with God as one, and rightfully so.
The only way we can live a pleasing life toward God is if His indwelling presence transforms us. It is His mind in you that guides your thoughts, your words, and your actions. If God' isn’t thinking through us, the chance of sin increases.
In this verse Jesus is not talking about formal education or memorization of His word, but rather He is talking about His word being built inside us with love and devotion until it becomes the thought of our mind.
Jesus says that this kind of activity produces the fullness of God in us and John 14:23 very concisely and precisely addresses the subject.
Now, look at the words, “If anyone loves Me.” So what kind of love is Jesus speaking of? Because this is Jesus speaking, we need to understand the words from His perspective.
Our love for God is defined throughout the Bible as being total and complete. This is how our love for God is described by the Bible, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” You can find that verse in Matthew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, and Deuteronomy 30:60.
So we are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Now look at what Jesus relates our implicit love for Him to, “he will keep My word.”
So Jesus relates the love of God to “keeping” His word. In other words, we need to internalize the thoughts and principles of God found in scripture until they become part of us. This is a lot like how the Bible explains marriage. The Bible teaches that when a man and a woman marry they become one.
Now let’s look at the word “keep” in the phrase “he will keep My word.” The word, “keep” in this verse was translated from the Greek word “tay-reh-o” (phonetic) which means to attend to carefully, to guard against loss, to stay fastened, and to fulfill or be fulfilled.
Jesus states that we are to attend to His word by keeping it, or building it up inside, and guarding it against loss so that He can fulfill His will in us. Without this instruction, God cannot accomplish His absolute best will for us.
Now, look at the last part of John 14:23.
“My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
Let’s address this part of the phrase, “My Father will love him.” This phrase doesn’t speak of favoritism or God’s preference of one person over another. What Jesus is speaking of here is the individual countenance of God over a person.
When God directs His attention to you in love, your body will be full of His presence, and that’s precisely what the last part of this verse confirms.
Let’s read it together: “We will come to him and make Our home with him.” This part of the verse says that the fullness of God will dwell in you.
But it goes deeper. Look at the words, “We” and “Our.” Jesus is speaking as one as the triune God. By using the words, “We” and “Our,” He addresses Himself in the plural, so in this part of the verse, He speaks as one in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Isn’t that amazing!
So does that mean that the entirety of God will come and dwell in you? No. If God were to live in you entirely, your physical body would cease to exist. You would vanish in His holy power.
So what does God mean when He says, “We will come make Our home with him”? God can make all aspects of His mind available to you. The mind of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost will be accessible to you.
This gift is also known as the Godhead. And based on Jesus’ own words, He wants to deliver the entire Godhead to you.
And it starts by cultivating His word in you so that His thoughts, ideas, and principles may be visible in your mind. But it has to be done with a love for God.
Love animates God's word in you. You see, love is God, so when you meditate, study, and practice the word in love, you do so in God.
This kind of love and devotion to His word can replace decades of damaging worldly psychology. Think about it.
If you spend hours learning the meaning of every verse you study, your mind will begin to change according to what you concentrate upon. If you continue to do this, the entire Bible will become a living word or the mind of God in you. And that’s exactly what’s described in John 14:23.
By the way, in case you’re wondering if God is calling you to abide in Him this way, let me help you answer the question with Jesus’ own words.
In your bible, turn to John 17:20. We’re going to read verses 20 through 21.
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
What you just read is one of Jesus’ last prayers before dying on the cross. He prayed this prayer for you at the last supper with His disciples.
In it, Jesus requests to the Father that those who believe in Him through the word of the disciples, that’s you, would become one with Him in the father.
Now listen to the request, “that they all may be one as You Father, are in Me and I in You; that they also may be one in Us” Pretty clear isn’t it.
Now I want you to think of the implication of this prayer and what Jesus did when He prayed it.
First of all, His word is eternal. So this prayer still stands for you today. Second, Jesus is God the Son. Can you think of anyone more powerful to pray than God Himself?
Now think about what’s happening here. God the Son is asking God the Father that you may become one with Him in the Father.
Now let me ask you this. Can God deny Himself? Of course not. The reality of your oneness with God exists in God as answered prayer if you take action in meditatively cultivating God's word. This prayer lives in God for you.
And the reason why God wants to makes us one with Him is explained in the last part of the verse, “that the world may believe that You sent Me” in other words, to make disciples of nations, isn’t that beautiful.
God wants us to receive the fullness of His mind, the treasure of His being, to think, speak, and act more like Him so we can lead others more perfectly to Him.
Can you think of a better way? There is no better way.
If you want to accept God’s answered prayer of oneness you need to internalize His Word.
Take some time every day, preferably in the morning to study and meditate on the meaning of His Holy Word. Every time you study and concentrate on His word you need to make it your own. It should affect the way you think, speak and act.