2 Timothy 3:14 “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,”
Inner discipline of the soul is a pattern of solitude that requires silence. Catherine de Hueck Doherty writes, “All in me is silent and ……I am immersed in the silence of God.”.
There exists a 16th century poem of St. John of the Cross. In 8 stanzas of 5 lines each, the poem narrates the journey of the soul to mystical union with God. The journey is called “The Dark Night” in part because darkness represents the fact that the destination—God—is unknowable.
The first verse of the poem translates like this:
In an obscure night
Fevered with love’s anxiety
(O hapless, happy plight!)
I went, none seeing me
Forth from my house, where all things quiet be.
At the beginning of the treatise Dark Night (the Declaración), St. John wrote: “In this first verse, the soul tells the mode and manner in which it departs, as to its affection, from itself and from all things, dying through a true mortification to all of them and to itself, to arrive at a sweet and delicious life with God.”
It is this manner of exposing the soul to God that David realized the importance of being left vulnerable to the God who created him.
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Internal reflection exposes the void that God’s truth can fill, while shedding the image of what we thought we were apart from Him.
The more we expose the darkness of our soul, the more we learn the true nature of who we are, and the more we maintain a right perspective toward God.
How do we go about this exercise in purification and holiness?—-It starts with a prayer, it continues with understanding our position, and then follows with a promise.
- Prayer–Submitting to God’s transforming power while placing ourselves in the light of God’s righteousness helps us recognize our weakness. Gaining a right understanding of God’s Holiness is necessary for seeing ourselves before Him. Prayer draws us near and God reveals truth as we submit ourselves to Him. Prayer is an act of humility before God and it is through humility and a contrite spirit we gain access into His presence. (Isaiah 57:15)
- Position–The revelation of the knowledge of God is a revelation of our place in His Creation. All you see and know is His. If anything is under our care, we are simply stewards of what already belongs to Him. Knowing our place in His creative order is to understand His purposes in us. We worship the Lord with our lives when we walk according to His leading. If we want to have meaning to our existence, we will only find it in Christ. It’s not easy to see ourselves before God’s glorious light, it is shameful and reveals depravity. It’s easy to want to pull away and hide from His revealing Spirit in us. The good news is, the Lord is in the business of restoration, not destruction. He wants to restore His Creation to what it was originally intended and our new life in Him is a part of that restorative order.
- Promise–What we do with the knowledge of who we are is what completes the process of restoration and healing. The Lord promised to never leave us or forsake us. He promised to comfort us as we walk through the valley of death, and it is by the knowledge of Him we are restored. We cannot change the past but we can affect our future, the miraculous discovery of God is meant to be life changing and creates a paradigm shift in how we see ourselves in respect to the world. If we will only accept the Truth that God reveals and walk in it, we will find the joy and peace we have always longed for.
Psalm 139:4-6 “For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.”
The book “The knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer is considered a masterful classic that examines how God has revealed truth to us.
Tozer makes a compelling case for christians to have a proper view of God. He warns: “The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high opinion of God”. He adds: “The man who has a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems”. He notes that the greatest sin we can commit is idolatry, that is, creating a false image of who God is. He warns; “An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand”.
The more we recognize how God has revealed Himself, the more we can gain a right perspective of life itself.
The process of self realization is not to diminish our value before God, we were valuable enough for God to die upon the cross for our salvation. When we realize who we were apart from Christ, we can move on toward all He has for us now. Self-denial is to remove all that inhibits so that Spirit of God may work out in us His salvation.
When we stop relying on the promises of this world, we stop dwelling on how people in our lives let us down, or we no longer hold onto the image we formed of ourselves based off the lies we received when we were young.
When we gain a right perspective internally, we live out a right pattern externally. When we stop trusting in ourselves, we can trust in Christ who loves us and gave Himself for us. When we act out of love for Him, that love transcends into a love for others. The way godly love is revealed is in accordance with His nature. If we dwell on His nature, we realize our position before Him and so it becomes more natural to walk in that understanding.
Deuteronomy 5:33 “You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and thatyou may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.”
Meditate on the attributes of God and allow the Lord to change your perspective on everything. As He reveals new insights, He transforms our inner man, then it is up to us to walk in the truth He imparts.