Monday, June 12, 2017

You Will Experience the Truth, and the Truth Will Set You Free

Hole, in the lower right corner of the window screen

Monday morning. Another day of experiencing God begins.

Jesus said, You will experience the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32) Such experience happens today.

There are two kinds of knowledge: 1) knowledge by experience; and 2) knowledge by theory. If a theory has no experiential cash value, it can usually be discarded. Experience convinces, more than theories do.

I take "Emmanuel" literally. God, with me, in experience and encounter. I know God this way. This happens now. Now, God is with me.

The kind of knowledge intended by the Greek word in John 8:32 is experiential knowledge, not simply intellectual knowing. I know Christians who say, "Whoaaa, watch out for experiences. Don't base your doctrine on experiences!" But "in the real world experience counts for a lot, and any theory that does not work in experience is soon to be discarded." (Charles Kraft, Confronting Powerless Christianity, Kindle Location 74)

Last week Linda and I were sitting in the upstairs office of our home. We noticed a wasp in the room. I opened the window, in hopes the wasp would see it. It did, and flew to attach itself to the window screen. Then, I shut the window, encasing the wasp between the glass and the screen.

The world between the glass and the screen is mediocre. Tiny. Trivial, in comparison to the world beyond the screen. I was hoping the wasp would find the hole in the lower right corner, and make its way into the vast freedom of the outside world.

We left our office and went off into the day. Eight hours later I returned, only to see the wasp in the same position, attached to the screen, looking at the unreachable reality lying before it. It was unaware that, only a few inches below, there was a way of escape.

And then, the wasp slowly rotated, turning 180 degrees, and began walking down the screen, towards the opening. Would it escape to freedom? Finding the hole, the wasp perched on it for a moment, moved its wings, and exchanged the barren environment for a world of rich experiential possibilities.

When you read the story of Jesus in the Gospels, and the experiences of the first church in the book of Acts, it can seem like these are unattainable realities. But the truth of the gospel is that the kingdom of heaven is available and accessible, presently, in experience. The kingdom of God is real! It's Monday morning, and this is very good news for me.