Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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

Hole, in the lower right corner of the window screen

Wednesday 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, in ways theories cannot do.

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. Some will respond, "Whoaaa, careful now, 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)

One day 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. I closed the window, encasing the wasp between the glass and the screen.

The world between the glass and the screen is a prison. Tiny, 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 away, the prison door was open.

And then, the wasp slowly rotated, turning 180 degrees, and began walking down the screen, towards the opening. Would it make it 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. You will know this, and by it you will be free.

See the chapter on "The Case for Experience" in my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church ($4.80 on Kindle).

Throughout my book on prayer I write of the experience of God - Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (now $6.00 on Kindle).