God created life to be a spiritual experience within the material world. To say that we do not experience God or do not come into contact and experience spiritual things, paranormal events, or have a deeper knowing that something else is going on behind the scenes would not be fair to most of our life experiences. Even for those who do not profess the Christian faith, the majority of humanity acknowledges that life at its core is spiritual.
You are Spiritual
By nature you are spiritual, God made you that way.
Some people loathe this idea, even Christians. It is hard for people to get their mind around the idea that things happen that they cannot explain rationally, scientifically, or for some Christians, that they can’t make sense of it based on their readings of the Bible. Truth be told, the basis of the human existence is that of a spiritual nature. Even for those who are born into this world before they have been born again and regenerated, their consciousness, the conscience that God put in each one to inherently know right from wrong on some basic levels, is from God and is spiritual.
This is how God made us. Each one of us have been given the gift of life, and in the same way that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, all the fullness, all the production value of the natural world, so are the people within the world that have been brought into this material reality.
Psalms 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.”
We often quote the first part of this verse but neglect the second part. God has made each and every one of us for the purpose of knowing him. When we understand who we are and our identity is strong within us, then we are able to walk into the totality of what Jesus said when he reminded us of the first and great commandment. We are to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, and all of our strength. How are we going to do this if we don’t know who we are, if we are unknowingly holding back parts of us from the Lord?
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is God, and he wants you to experience him.
The Holy Spirit is the experience of God, it is God coming into contact with his creation and making himself known. The word for “Spirit” just simply means wind or breath. It is air in motion, what cannot be seen but can be felt and experienced. The Holy Spirit is God in motion. God is moving, he is moving in our lives where we can see it and behind the scenes, at all times. When we experience God in a way that is registered by our minds, this is an act of the Holy Spirit.
God wants to be experienced, not just read about in a book. It is one thing to know about God by reading about him. It is another thing all together to know him by experience. Unfortunately, many Christians are taught that the theory and doctrine about God is the most important thing, and that the experience of knowing God, well, that is dangerous. God is the Holy Spirit, and he is the one who inspired the Scripture, breathing it out of himself so that we can know him. Wanting those who dwell on the earth to know him, the Holy Spirit is not limited to the Scripture with respect to how men come into contact with him (Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus as an example).
Why do some Christians and church leadership get so frantic over religious experience in our culture?
There are other spirits and false teachers warned about in the New Testament, frequently. This is a very real subject that we should be aware of and keep our minds in a posture of watchfulness for ourselves and others. Paul writes of another spirit that people think is the Holy Spirit, and another Jesus who is not the Jesus that Paul preached, and even another gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4).
But with all of this being rightfully said, if God is the Holy Spirit, is all experience bad? Most will clearly say no, but in their actions they say that we should be suspicious about every little thing in our own lives and the lives of others. This little part called suspicion is the culprit. We do not need to walk in this way. There will be a Judas among us, yes. But as I have often reminded people around me, when they all sat at the last supper and Jesus said that one will betray him, it’s not like they all immediately looked over at Judas and said, “It is so obvious its you. We all know you’re a thief and you’ve been in the enemies camp plotting against our Lord.”
Being suspicious of every religious experience and story is repressive. Christians and church leaders do not want to venture into the space of religious experience because they don’t have clear bounds of right and wrong with many instances. Leaders don’t want to look bad in front of other leaders, lose members of their churches, or mislead the people they serve. To be honest, this suspicion is more the symptom of fear than genuine spiritual vigilance.
When it comes to the Bible itself, the very word of God, it is full of the experiences of people coming into contact with the Everlasting God.
You can’t read a page of the Bible without it describing the human experience, and how God has stretched himself out to make himself known to us. God is the center of the story, he is the main character of the text of the Bible, not us. But God has made it clear that humanity is the crown jewel of his creation. He said, “It is very good.” God revealed himself as the Holy Spirit, the God in motion, the God of experience.
We do not need to be afraid and pull back. If we aren’t true to ourselves, what we think and what we are feeling, how can we give all of ourselves to God? He knows what we struggle with and where we doubt. He knows that we feel pain and where we have been being fake (in the Bible that is called being a hypocrite). God wants us to draw near to him. How can we love him with all that we are if we won’t even face what is really in our hearts, minds, and soul? God created you because he wanted to make himself known to you, and he is going to do this through experience.