Volume 22 Issue 9
“Nothing will ever be solved,” the waiter sighed.
“Really?” I asked.
“It just gets worse. Why vote? Why do anything? Nobody cares,” he continued.
The young waiter’s lament had come at the end of a casual conversation about politics, the war in the Middle East, and globalism. He was bright, well educated and articulate, but his words revealed that his heart was gone, his spirit drained. Sadly, his emptiness is emblematic of today’s culture.
His sentence stuck in my head. “Nothing will ever be solved.” I wanted to reject this idea. Yet, if I’m honest I must admit that at certain moments I’m inclined to agree. At least, I’m ready to argue that man’s cyclic brutalities of war, greed, racial conflict and the like will never lead to utopia. And, although many things are better, many things are worse. But this analysis of the world’s condition, this type of thinking is just that – brain thinking. The better assessment comes from examination of the heart. We must ask, not what are we thinking, but what are we feeling? What are we seeing with the spirit, the soul? (Proverbs 23.7) What do we see through the eyes of faith? This is the question of our time. This is thinking from our hearts… heart thinking.
I was in Yosemite National Park a few weeks ago. As I took in the magnificent scenery I recalled the words of famous photographer Ansel E. Adams, who dedicated his life to capturing the canyon valley on film. A few years ago, I had recorded in my journal this quote of Adams: “When I’m ready to make a photograph, I think, I quite obviously see in my mind’s eye something that is not literally there, in the true sense of the word. I’m interested in expressing something which built up from within while it is not abstracted from without… it would be the equivalent of what I saw and felt.” When I saw the power and beauty of Yosemite I understood what Adams meant. There is more here than what one is privileged to see through the eye alone. It must be felt. It is emotional. Therefore, in his photos he attempted (and succeeded) to express not just what he saw but also what he felt.
I believe a similar depth of understanding is needed in the Church. What one knows intellectually or learns through human wisdom is one thing, but it falls extremely short of the understanding we can reach by accessing what we feel and sense in the realm of the Spirit. There is a deeper level of knowledge that comes through the power and work of the Holy Ghost that allows us the ability to “know that we know,” even when we cannot readily explain how we know. Mere book-knowledge and intellect fall short of what is revealed to the Christian by the Holy Ghost. It is the duty of the Church to rely on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without this reliance we are left to our own devices and human wisdom; this will inevitably bring about colossal failure. Complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit will eclipse our personal expression and bring about an unspeakable relationship that transforms the mind and the spirit, creating union with Christ.
The opportunity to know God and to be empowered by God is connected solely with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The world by human wisdom will never know God (1 Corinthians 1:21). The call to men by men who are merely regurgitating what they know through their own humanistic powers or what they imitate from religious traditions, without experiencing Holy Spirit revelation and comprehension, falls on deaf ears.
In a sense the young waiter was right in his opinion that “nothing will ever be solved.” Nothing will be solved until men cease from greed, corruption, sinfulness, hate, murder, fornications, and adultery. Nothing will be solved until fearless Spirit-baptized men and women proclaim what they know through the Holy Ghost, what they know by revelation and what they know through the experience of the new birth. The solution to man’s fallen condition will not come through academic acumen and mental astuteness. We were forewarned that the weaponry of the Spirit would not be carnal. The battle will not be won by might, by influence, by science, by philosophy, by politics, by statism, by works or by cool. It will be won by His Spirit. We must feel it. We must let it burn within us. Say it. Teach it. Preach it. Think it. Love it. Live it. Die for it.
Adams’ photographs are unparalleled because he gave expression to the spiritual power of the creator’s masterpiece – Yosemite Valley. We must do the same with our expression of the Pentecostal outpouring. It cannot be communicated in some flippant way, like a snapshot taken from the rolled down window of a tourist’s SUV. It will take time, time spent feeling after the Spirit. Time spent waiting for His anointing.
Dull, careless impressions of un-anointed church services will be forgotten. It is the masterpieces created by God through men whose souls are on fire with the passion of the Spirit that will be remembered forever.