( Isa. 55:1-8 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ) Cease from thinking of the self and the willing of the self, keep your intellect and will quiet, then you are ready to receive the impressions of the Eternal Word and Spirit. See your soul above all outward senses and let your imagination be locked up by Holy thoughts, opening the way for the Eternal Hearing, Seeing and Speaking to be revealed in you. Now you are the organ of His Spirit, and so God speaks in you, whispers to your spirit, and your spirit will hear His voice.
( 2 Cor. 5:17 ; Rom. 4:13,15,17-20 ; Rom. 5:1-2 ) If you can stand still from self-thinking and self-willing, then you may arrive at length to see the great salvation of God, being made capable of all manner of Divine sensations and Heavenly Communication.
( Gen. 2:7 ; Gen. 1:26-27 ; Rom. 6:17-18 ; 2 Cor. 4:16 ) Man was descended and derived from the earth, given Eternal life by the breath of God. This life was given before man could think and will for himself. God initiated and activated man’s thinking and willing. Man’s life is in God, and this life came into the body. Thus if you remain quiet and silent as when God made man’s nature, then you will hear God speak.
( Col. 3:1-3 ; James 4:6-10 ; Matt. 10:37-38 ) To hear God, three things are required:
1. Resign your will to God and realize you exist simply by the mercy of God.
2. Hate your own will and resist from doing what your will drives you to do.
3. Put your soul under the Cross and die daily to temptations of the flesh and things of life.
( John 1:1-4,10,16 ; 1 John 2:16 ; 1 John 5:1-5 ) The world is but an image, a shadow of the Substance and the Reality which is Christ: for all things came into being by Him. Of His fullness we have received which is a state of living above images, figures and shadows of this created world. We rule over creatures in Jesus from whom all things came into being. Therefore, we are to rule by Christ and in Him rule and control all things.
( Matt. 18:3-4 ; John 15:4-5 ; Luke 9:23-24 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ; 1 John 5:19-21 ) We are to lean upon the Lord for all things. As we depend upon the Author and Fountain of all things and become like him in all dependence by union of my will with his will, as I give my desires and will to the Lord, and I receive no new thing unto my self, then I will be free of all things and will rule over them as a Prince of God.
( Matt. 28:18-20 ; John 15:5 ; 1 Cor. 1:30 ; Phil. 4:13 ; Prov. 14:12 ; Prov. 21:1 ) Christ is the strength of my salvation and the power of my life. I can do all things by the faith which He works in me. But I must give up my entire life and resign my will wholly to him and desire nothing without Him. I am not to be delighted by my own reasonings, and abilities, but put them all under the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus my will will be walking in Heaven, I will behold all things outwardly with my reason, and inwardly with my mind. Therefore, I will rule in all things and over all things with Christ unto Whom all power is given both in heaven and on earth.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on selected verses from above.
View whatever you desire or possess whether it controls or possesses you: talents, gifts, skills, ambition, wealth, career, family, children, homes, pleasures, appetites, etc. To the extent they control you, you are in bondage and enslaved. Bear this principle in mind: the meaning of life is for God to reveal His life through you to others according to the talents and gifts He has given to you. Evaluate and measure your thoughts, speech and actions accordingly. Work out Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet” and Section A.9, “Contingency Plan” for those things that control and influence you inordinately. See Section 8.2, “Sins of the Flesh/Self of the Flesh” for additional insights.
Reference: See [Boehme1] for further reading.
( Col. 1:13 ; 2 Tim. 4:17-18 ; 1 Cor. 6:16-20 ; Phil. 3:17-20 ) Our spirits have been translated into the highest of Light but our bodies still exists with the creatures. Spiritually, we walk with God knowing in our minds we are redeemed from the earth – separated from the creatures, to live the life of God.
We can will in our mind that we are separated from creatures and go forth from them. Therefore, in my mind’s eye, I am with God and He directs and guides me on how I should respond in my body on the earth in my relations with creatures. If we are the Temple Of God, the Spirit of God dwells within me. Thus, the Holy Spirit Who dwells within, dwells in the ‘will’ of the mind.
( John 15:5-7 ; Matt. 16:24-25 ; Eph. 4:22-24 ) To make this a reality, let your ‘will’ abide in the words of Christ, then His word and Spirit will abide in you. If your will goes into creatures, then you will be separated from God because creatures still live in you, that is, in your bodily appetites. Daily we must be aware that we can descend quickly into the shadow of things. Thus, we must daily die to creatures, and exercise a daily ascending into Heaven in our wills
( Gal. 6:14 ; Matt. 10:34-39 ; John 16:3 ; 1 John 2:2 ) To remain in a state of repentance and humility, you must leave that which loves you, and love that which hates you. All things that please and feed you, your will feeds on it and cherishes it. All visibles and sensuals by which the imagination or sensual appetites are delighted or refreshed, the will of your mind must leave and forsake, even count it as enemies. At the same time, you are to love that which hates you and even to embrace the reproach of the world. To do this, you must learn to love the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and for His sake to be pleased with the reproach of the world which hates and derides you. Being crucified to the world and the world to you, you shall have continual cause to hate yourself in the creature and to seek eternal rest which is Christ. In Him you may have rest and peace but in the world you will have anxiety: for the world gives only tribulation.
( Col. 3:1-3 ; 1 John 2:15-16 ; 2 Cor. 5:19-20 ; 1 Pet. 4:19 ; 2 Tim. 1:12 ; Matt. 26:8-9 ; 1 John 1:7 ; Phil. 3:10 ) To accomplish what God desires requires meditation on the word of God for, at least, half-hour to an hour a day. By faith, you will throw yourself beyond all creatures, above sensual perceptions and apprehensions and move into the sufferings of Our Lord, into the fellowship of His interceding. From this you will receive power from above to rule over death and the devil, and to subdue hell and the world when you endure in all temptations.
By the practice thereof of being in the Presence of God, we allow ourselves to be penetrated and clothed upon with the supreme Splendor of the Divine Glory. By this, we would taste in itself the most sweet love of Jesus. Then our spirit would feel in itself the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be very pleasing to it – and thereupon, love the cross more than the honors and goods of the world.
( Rom. 12:1-2 ; Phil. 2:5 ; Phil. 3:10 ) You must be willing to offer your body, the right of yourself, and to renew the mind in order that the mind can have dominion over the body according to the will of God. The body is to die without to the customs and fashions of the world, and within to the lusts and appetites of the flesh. Now there is a new mind being subject to the Spirit continually and directed to God. The body becomes the Temple of God and of His Spirit in imitation of the Lord’s body.
( 1 Pet. 2:23 ; 1 Pet. 3:13-18 ) By offering our souls and spirits up to God when bombarded from within and without, the body would penetrate into itself and would sink into the great love of God. Thus it would be sustained by God and refreshed by the sweet name of Jesus. The body would find within itself a new world springing forth as through the anger of God into love and joy eternal which will clothe the body as with a garment.
Therefore, the world and the creatures can’t touch him while he remains in this love because this love makes him invulnerable both from within and without. Whether he is in heaven or hell all is alike to him because his mind resides in the greatest love of God. Now he has God for his friend. Angels are his friends. God is his helper which is sufficient for anything in this world – under it or over it.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on selected verses from above.
Read Hebrews chapters 3 and 4. List areas in which you seek approval, acceptance, sense of value and purpose, that is, trying to find the meaning of life through creatures, things or possessions (the world, the flesh, and the devil). Check for emotional dependency (co-dependency) on others for acceptance and approval rather than focusing on God and His word. Review Section 5.10, “Perfectionism” .
Note: All things and creatures bound to the world compete with God and are enemies of God, see James 4:4-5 ; Col. 2:9-19 and Matt. 10:37-39 .
11.3. Virtue of Love
( Gen. 1:1,31 ; Rom. 8:31,32,39 ; 2 Cor. 5:18-21 ; Eph. 2:4-5 ; Eph. 3:18-21 ; Titus 3:4-5 ; 1 John 3:13,16,19 ; Rev. 3:12 ) The virtue of God’s love is the principle of all principles; its power supports the heavens and upholds the earth. Love being the highest principle is the virtue of all virtues. It is the holy root from which all things flow, the Holy power from whence all the wonders of God have been wrought by the hands of His elect servants. Whoever finds this love finds all things.
( Gen. 1:26-31 ; Zech. 7:9 ; Acts 1:8 ; Acts 2:1-4 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ; Eph. 1:17-33 ; Phil. 3:10 ) When you go forth from the creature and that which is visible, and have become nothing to all that is natural and creaturely, then you are in that Eternal One which is God Himself. Herein you will perceive within and feel without the highest virtue of love. God’s love – its power – is in and through all things. And as you perceive the power in your soul and body, the fire will burn away all the dross and enlarge the soul as wide as the whole creation of God: for God’s love abides in all of His creation. To realize this is to set the Throne of love in your hearts.
( Deut. 3:24 ; Job 9:4-10 ; Ps. 84:8,9,13 ; Prov. 21:30 ; Isa. 40:12 ; 1 Cor. 13:7 ; Eph. 3:17-19 ; 1 John 4:16-19 ) This virtue which is love is the very life and energy of all the Principles of Nature. It reaches to all worlds, to all manner of beings. The workmanship of Divine love is the first mover: both in heaven above and on the earth beneath and in the water under the earth. Love’s power supports the Heavens and upholds the earth. Should this love fail or recede the world would disperse as loose dust before the winds.
God’s love is higher than the highest heavens. The Throne of God is higher than the highest so must love also be which fills all things and comprehends them all. Thus, this love when permitted to manifest to the soul – the Light of Godhead – darkness is broken through and the wonders of the new creation will be successfully manifested.
Love is indeed the virtue of all virtues, worker of all things. It is a powerful vital energy that passes through all power, natural and supernatural, through the whole creation of God: inspecting and governing all things.
( Deut. 30:19-20 ; Josh. 24:15 ; Matt. 26:29 ; John 6:38-40 ; John 14:23 ; 1 Cor. 10:3-5 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ) Two wills exist: the false self of flesh and appetites; the other the true self, human spirit in union with the Holy Spirit. The will is the partition wall that exist in the soul which divides between the two principles or states of heaven and hell. The creaturely will can be broken by nothing but by the Grace of self-denial which is the entrance into the true fellowship of Christ. And this is totally removed by nothing but a perfect conformity with the Divine Will.
Not by self-effort but by the Light and Grace of God received into the soul will the darkness be broken and melt down one’s own will, and bring it into the obedience of Christ. Then the creaturely will is removed between you and God and the true self. All we need to do is to be obedient and passive to the Light of God shining through the darkness of the creaturely being.
( Ps. 84:1-2,10,12 ; Prov. 14:12 ; John 6:63 ; Gal. 5:16-18 ; Heb. 5:13-14 ) We are not to resist the Sun of Righteousness – the Light of the Grace of God – to be received in our souls. To receive or not is our decision to choose or not. Therefore, by our choice we seek the Fountain of Light – the Sun of Righteousness – which illuminates the properties of our natural life and leads the sensual and rational life into the most perfect order and harmony. This is done by ceasing of our own activity and concentrating our eye on one point – the promised Grace of God. Gather all your thoughts and by faith press into the Center, laying hold upon the word of God. Be silent before the Lord, sit alone with Him, your mind being centrally united in itself and attending His will in the patience of hope.
( Matt. 6:22-24 ; 2 Cor. 5:7 ) How you see determines light or darkness. There are two wills within: one that sees through the false self of flesh and appetites, the left eye; the other, the true self in union with the Holy Spirit, seeking holy things, the right eye. The left eye, the eye of Time competes with the right eye, the eye of Eternity. The soul of man determines which eye he will follow. The left eye always seeks to satisfy the self nature, and must be controlled. You must permit your right eye to command the left eye to desist and to follow godly standards . The left eye will be trained to follow the right eye, and in time both can exist together and be of mutual service to each other. This unity can be accomplished only by entering fully into the will of Our Saviour Christ, and thereby bringing the eye of Time into the eye of Eternity and then descending by means of this unity through the Light of God into the Light of Nature.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on selected verses from above.
For the next week or so, maintain a journal and note what you see and how you look at what you see, the judgments you make, how things affect your spirit, whether good or evil. Make a list of those things that reflect the left eye of the flesh and its appetites, and correct same by seeing as God sees via Section A.4, “Victory Over Sin Worksheet”
See also Section 11.9, “Union with God” for additional insights.
Note: We are to look at all of life from God’s perspective, and this is a lifelong effort and activity which leads to a pure heart and a humble spirit.
11.4. Will of God
( Isa. 26:3 ; Isa. 40:6-7 ; Matt. 12:50 ; Matt. 13:22 ; Rom. 8:5-6 ; Rom. 12:2 ; 1 Cor. 2:1-16 ; 2 Cor. 4:18 ; 2 Cor. 6:17-18 : 1 Pet. 4:1 ) Develop a single eye that concentrates upon the Center, the Presence of God within your soul. From this Center, the eye of Time looks at nature through the eye of Eternity. Resign yourself to the Eye of God in your spirit, then you can labor with your hands or head and allow your heart to rest in God. God is a Spirit, dwell in the Spirit, work in the Spirit, pray in the Spirit, do all things in the Spirit. Remember you are a spirit, created in the image of God: present yourself as a naked spirit before God in simplicity and purity. In this position the world, flesh and the devil, the temptations of life, and the fashions and customs of this world will not be able to draw you out… Mind them not… They can’t hurt you if you choose to abide in His will.
( Rom. 8:29 ; 2 Cor. 3:18 ; 2 Cor. 4:17-18 ; 2 Pet. 3:10-14 ; 1 John 4:16-17 ) The world of naked matter, of corruption and decay, the lusts thereof, lead to frustration and anger, and darkens the root of our being. Do not let the things of the world even enter into your imagination. Your hope lies in beholding and seeing God’s Light in your soul being divinely illuminated.
( Eph. 4:24 ) Let not your eye enter into matter or fret yourself with any thing whatsoever either in heaven or earth. But let it enter by naked faith into the light of His Majesty and so receive by pure love the Light Of God. This Light attracts the divine power into itself, putting-on the Divine Body, and thus, we grow up in it to the full maturity of the Humanity of Christ.
( Ps. 37:7 ; Ps. 91:15-16 ; Phil. 2:12-13 ; Phil. 4:13 ; James 4:6-7 ; 1 Pet. 5:6-7 ) Nothing is required of us but let our will be in the will of God. We are to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. If you have followed so far you have nothing to care for, nothing to desire in this life, nothing to imagine or attract. All you need to do is cast your care upon the Lord Who cares for you. And let him do with you as He wills according to His good pleasure. God knows what is best for us if we but trust Him.
( Matt. 26:39 ; Luke 11:2 ; John 4:34 ; John 5:20 ; John 10:10 ; Rom. 6:13 ; Col. 3:1-3 ) When you imagine after anything other than God, then it enters in to you. In time it will take over your will, overcome it, and lead to darkness. But when the will imagines or lusts after nothing but God, to give glory to Him, it receives the will of God into itself. And there it dwells in Light and begins to work the works of God.
( John 5:30 ; Acts 17:25,28 ; Gal. 6:14 ) The resigned will of a truly contrite spirit which is crucified to the world, the center of this will is impenetrable to the world, flesh and the devil. Nothing in the world can enter or adhere to it because the will is dead with Christ unto the world. The will is alive and quickened with Christ in the center of this life. When the love of self is banished, there dwells the love of God. For as so much of the soul’s own will is dead unto itself, even so much room has the will of God to take over.
( Matt. 13:36-46 ; John 4:34 ; John 5:30 ; Rom. 6:11-23 ; Gal. 2:20 ) You cannot enter the spiritual realm by comprehending it but only by a complete surrender and the yielding up the will: then the love of God becomes the Life of your nature. You live now by God’s will forasmuch as your will has become His will. It is no longer your will but the will of God; no longer the love of self but the love of God, which moves and operates you. You will become dead to self but alive unto God. So being dead, you live rather God lives in you by His Spirit. This love therefore apprehends and comprehends you: there the Treasure of Treasures is found.
( John 16:33 ; Rom. 5:3-5 ; Rom. 12:9-23 ; James 1:2-4 ; 2 Pet. 1:3-10 ; 1 John 1:7 ) It is the love of God as it penetrates into the dead self that burns and purifies the ego, the greed and envy, the deceit and vanities and the false and treacherous ways. In the world you must have trouble and your flesh will be disturbed. In this anxiety of the soul arising from the world or the flesh, the love of God will enkindle itself and its conquering fire is made to blaze forth with greater strength for the destruction of that evil. For the way to the love of God is folly to the world but it is wisdom to the children of God. Whosoever obtains it is richer than any on earth. He who gets it is nobler than any emperor can be – and more potent and absolute than all power and authority.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
2 Pet. 1:3-4
BSAF on selected verses from above.
See Matt. 12:50 . Bear in mind your relationship to the Lord as His brother/sister/spouse. Review areas of your life still influenced, controlled or manipulated by the world, the flesh and the devil. Review Section A.5, “Dying To Self” for insights and prepare a contingency plan ( Section A.9, “Contingency Plan” ) to deal with these failures.
Note: The issue is the will, and you determine who will have it: God or the devil!
11.5. That Which is Perfect
( 1 Cor. 13:9-11 ; Isa. 40:3-8 ; 1 Pet. 1:7,14 ) That which is perfect is a Being: Christ. He is the substance of all things. He is unchangeable, immovable, and without Whom and beside Whom there is no true substance, in Whom all things have their substance. The fallen self, the creature, the I, the self, the me, the mine, must all be lost, and done away. As long as we think of the interest of the self, so long remains the Perfect unknown to us. That which is Perfect is come, by the pure word of God, and through the word may be known, felt and tasted by the soul. Thus, we are nurtured and grown into complete salvation which is the substance of Christ Himself: all of Him, none of the self.
( 2 Pet. 1:4 ; 2 Cor. 5:17,21 ; John 3:3-6 ; 2 Pet. 1:2-4 ; 1 Cor. 1:30 ; 1 Cor. 3:11 ; Gal. 2:20 ; Col. 2:10 ) God took human nature or manhood upon Himself and was made man, and man was made divine; thus, healing was brought to pass. As I accepts this, I die to the self, the I, the me, the mine, and move from the flesh to the spirit. A new creature emerges entirely, cleansed and washed clean, made righteous. The center of my being replaced by God Himself from Whom I live and breathe and have my being: all that I need to live the righteous life, giving glory to His Holy Name.
( John 15:5 ; 2 Cor. 12:9-10 ; John 8:31-32 ) Man should acknowledge that in himself, he neither has nor can he do any good thing. None of his knowledge, wisdom, will, love and good works come from himself. But the righteous acts are of the eternal God, from Whom all good things proceed. When we recognize this and refrain from claiming anything for our own, we shall have the best, fullest, clearest and noblest knowledge that a man can have as well as the purest love, will and desire. When the vain imagination and ignorance are turned into an understanding and knowledge of the truth, the claiming of anything for our own will cease of itself: all goodness is of God.
( 1 Cor. 13:9-11 ; 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ; 1 Cor. 2:7 ; 1 Cor. 4:4 ) Accordingly, we are to make judgments, discriminate, and discern all outward things on the basis of inward truths. It is of sin that we do not love the best. As the inward man holds to the truth of God’s word, he will see that the Perfect is without measure, better and nobler than all which is imperfect. Thus, that which is imperfect and in part would become tasteless and be as nothing to us.
( Matt. 19:17 ; 1 Cor. 2:9-16 ) All manner of virtue and goodness and even the Eternal Good which is God Himself can never make a man virtuous, good or happy: so long as it is outside the soul, so long as man is holding conversation with outward things by his senses and his reasons. The like is true of sin and evil. Sin and wickedness, can never make us evil: so long as it is outside of us, so long as we do not commit it, or give consent to it.
The Goodness of God resides within and as we live in pure submission to the Eternal Goodness, we will live in the perfect freedom of fervent love. To partake of the Goodness, we must cease always seeking ourselves and our things. Let God draw us up to something higher, that is, to an utter loss and forsaking of our own things, spiritual and natural. And even to withdraw His Presence from us in order for us to learn to seek alone the Honor of God.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on Luke 9:23-24 ; Eph. 6:6 ; Phil. 2:12 ; James 1:25 .
God is in all that He created. Ascertain the extent your happiness is found in created things, and not in God Himself, that is, the extent you seek God’s hand rather than His Face. Ask the Holy Spirit for the wisdom to know the difference, and what to do about it.
11.6. Listening to God
True listening is obedient listening. To listen to God is to obey Him. Wisdom from above is received by those who are prepared to obey it. To listen in prayer for the voice of the Lord is to find the mind of Christ; it is to gain transcendent wisdom: a wisdom that includes understanding, guidance, knowledge, exhortation, and consolation.
To be born from above is to be drawn up into this Union of the Holy Trinity – this listening obedience. This love calls forth the real “I” in each one of us. And from this real “I” or true self, praise is called forth. Love then flows down from the Uncreated into the created, and then into all other created beings.
( John 17:23 ) “I in them and you in me” – This is the ultimate point of everything for which Christ came to earth to accomplish. The incarnation and the cross was for this. All He suffered on our behalf was to bring us back present to the Father.
When Christ says to the Father that He has given us the glory that was given to Him, He speaks of the Father’s presence. The glory of God is the presence of God. Listening to God is an important part of the presence of God we are to practice, that is, acknowledge always. Just as we learn to practice His presence within, without, and all around, so we must learn to open the eyes and ears of our hearts and recognize His voice.
( 1 Thess. 5:17 ; Luke 2:52 ; 2 Cor. 4:18 ) Practicing the presence of God is a way of praying continually as the Scriptures exhort us to do. The practice of the presence, then is simply the discipline of calling to mind the truth that God is with us. In this listening we come out of our spiritual adolescence – our immaturity – and begin to mature in Christ. To listen to God is to receive wisdom from above. Like Jesus, we grow as we continue to receive it.
To fail to listen to God is to be listening to other voices that are not of God. It is to miss the vital walk in the Spirit and our immensely creative collaboration with Him. This collaboration requires the new self – one in union with Christ – that is always maturing in Him.
The Secret of Guidance
Promises for guidance are unmistakable:
• ( Ps. 32:8 ) “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shall go.”
• ( Prov. 3:6 ) “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct (or make plain) thy paths.”
• ( Isa. 58:11 ) “The Lord shall guide thee continually.”
• ( John 8:12 ) “I am the Light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
1. Our motives must be pure:
( Luke 11:34 ) “When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light.” So long as there is some thought of personal advantage, some idea of acquiring the praise of men, some aim at self-advancement, it will be impossible to find out God’s purpose concerning us. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the single eye, that glorifies the Lord, not self.
2. Our wills must be surrendered:
( John 5:30 ) “My judgment is just because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” We are not to extinguish our will but surrender it to the Lord so that the Lord can take , and break and make us. If and when you are not willing, confess that you are willing to be made willing. Hand yourself over to Him to work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure.
3. We must seek information for our mind:
God uses our mind to communicate His purposes and thoughts. No need to run to others for their opinions or ideas as to what we should do. But there is no harm in taking pains to gather all reliable information on which the flame of holy thought and consecrated purpose may feed and grow strong, acting on the materials we have collected. God may act miraculously to guide us, and other times allow ordinary light of reason to be adequate for the task. He will leave us to act as occasion may serve.
4. We must be much in prayer for guidance:
The Psalms are full of earnest pleadings for clear direction: “Show me thy way, O Lord, lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” It is the law of God’s house that His children should ask for what they want. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.”
5. We must wait the gradual unfolding of God’s plan in providence:
God’s impressions within and His word without are always corroborated by His Providence around, and we should quietly wait until these three focus into one point. Thus, meditation, prayer, and acting upon and applying faith precedes God’s power and provision.
Note: Review Section 11.8, “Inordinate Desires” . It is the corruption and pollution of the world’s many voices (TV, movies, magazines, etc.) which crowds out and dampens the ‘fire’ of God’s voice and His presence in our souls.
11.7. Center of the Soul
Three Greatest Gifts
At conversion and baptism, we are regenerated and receive the grace of life in terms of faith, hope and love. These theological virtues are the center and the core of our soul in the spiritual life process: the substance of which we are being conformed to the image of Christ ( Rom. 8:29 ). Being adopted as children of the Father, we share in the nature of triune God within by these virtues: faith, hope and love ( 1 Cor. 13:13 ; 1 Thess. 1:3 ).
The Gift of Faith enables us to believe that God ‘is’, and enlarges the capacity to believe God’s word and His promises. Faith affirms what cannot be understood by the intellect (transcends human wisdom) and partakes of godly wisdom ( Heb. 11:1 ).
The Gift of Hope provides the capacity to trust God: that His promises will be fulfilled, that He is with me in trials and difficulties, and that eternal life is mine now and in heaven. Hope empties itself of all natural possessions in order to be possessed by the divine. To the measure our memory is dispossessed of things, to that measure we possess God ( Rom. 8:23-25 ; Matt. 10:34-39 ).
The Gift of Love is the capacity to love God above everything: to respond to all of life’s encounters in goodness, patience, and kindness ( Luke 14:33 ; 1 Cor. 1:30 ).
Four Cardinal Virtues
The virtues or mansions of faith, hope and love are surrounded by four virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. These are the fitness or core centers which characterizes our spiritual growth:
Prudence is the source. Justice, fortitude and temperance are the properties. Prudence, the state of our being, is associated with our conscience, which is the voice of our spirit. Accordingly, our conscience is to be docile, sensitive, and capable to respond to the slightest promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Justice is to establish God’s will on earth, to care for the widow and orphan, to defend the defenseless, to secure and exercise honor, integrity and equity in the economic, political and social arenas of life.
Fortitude is the development of the muscles of the will to remain faithful, to resist temptations, to endure trials, to overcome fear and anxiety, and to undergo challenges and persecution: to abide in love regardless.
Temperance is the tightrope on learning how to balance and control the skills in the use of passions, impulses, instincts, and, thus, to bring order and harmony to our desires and reasonings.
These four virtues enable us to move in consonance with God’s grace to establish His kingdom and will on earth ( 2 Pet. 1:3-10 ).
Seven Expanded Properties
Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord : These are the expanded properties of the above four virtues or mansions of which we can enter at any time. The mansions are filled with the Light of the Holy Spirit which speak to the inner recesses of our soul giving beauty, light, and wonder to our being. The more we enter the light, the more it increases and partakes of the radiance of the Holy Spirit – the divine nature – thus, escaping the corruption of the world ( Isa. 11:1-5 ).
The Fruit of the Spirit
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Fidelity, Gentleness, Self-Control : As these virtues are exercised, they allow the flow of the fruit of the Spirit. The sanctity of the Glory of God invades the soul and drives out darkness and sinfulness, and, thus, the soul is being filled with His grace in all mansions. The fruit of the Holy Spirit reflect this overflowing. As these virtues are exercised, it gives glory to God, reveals love of and to God, and to all others. Thus, we become encircled by light, by wonder, being lost in waves of endless adoration in clouds of angels ( Gal. 5:22-26 ).
See also Section A.12, “Anchor Posts” .
Reference: See [StTeresa1] and [StThomas1] for further reading.
11.8. Inordinate Desires
A prerequisite for the journey of the soul is a ‘still’ house. To attain to this stillness is to rid the soul of any desires, which impede the entrance of God’s grace and His Presence. Desires are not to make loud demands and to engage our will. Thus, it has to be free from inordinate ‘desires’, namely all those “for the external things of the world, the delights of the flesh, and the gratification of the will.” ( 1 John 2:15-17 ).
From birth our souls were ‘empty slates’. Over the years, our senses deposit abundant “writings” upon the slate. In receiving information from all five senses, the soul becomes aware of the broad range of objects in the external world, which become imprinted on the soul. It is then in the power of the soul to desire what it has experienced. In so doing, it draws the will to what it desires. Objects themselves can never damage a soul, but the turning of the will toward them in any excessive manner can ( 1 John 5:21 ).
Desires can damage the soul in two ways. First, they deprive the soul of grace and its working; second, they influence the soul in a variety of ways – all harmful. By their nature, these desires are ever demanding and restless. Satisfying them does not remove them. To the contrary, the more they are satisfied, the more demanding they become. As they grow, they harass the soul and prevent it from functioning well. What they affect in particular are the intellect, memory, and will ( Phil. 2:2-5 ).
St John also indicates the ideal activities of these three faculties: the intellect is to receive “the illumination of God’s wisdom”; the memory is to take on “serenely the impression of God’s image”; and the will to embrace “God within in pure love”. Each faculty is to be totally open to God. The intellect is to be filled with only divine “wisdom” – its knowledge is to be God-centered; the memory is to reflect perfectly God alone; the will is to choose God solely – human and divine will becoming one ( John 17:23 ).
This is not the usual state of the soul. Desires (lusts) clutter it and prevent it from acting in grace with a single goal and single focus: God. The greater the number of desires and the more varied their objects, the less focused the soul can be, and less freely it can act under the impulse of grace ( Col. 3:5-10 ).
Matt 11:28-29 summarizes this teaching. Reflecting on this passage, St John says, All you going about tormented, afflicted, and weighed down by your cares and appetites, depart from them. Come to me and I will refresh you and you will find the rest for your souls that the desires take away from you. (Ascent, p. 134 [StJohn1])
St John urges us to see desires (lusts) at the root of negative behavior – to discern, and to resist them. To identify those controlling forces is the first step. Then you locate them and place them in a position to be removed from your life. To do this, the following practical steps may prove helpful:
1. Make a failure list of 6 or so desires that we suspect are harming our spiritual growth. This list could include such things as an excessive need for affirmation, approval, acceptance, power, success, and possessions. These factors lead to guilt, shame, greed, envy, impatience, intolerance, anger, resentments, and various forms of addictions. To bring to light this darkness clarifies its hold on us. With a sense of hope, we can look forward to either their disappearance from our souls or to our deft control of them.
2. Carefully examine why we have an excessive or inordinate desire for those objects. By assessing the source of our behavior, we may be able to understand more fully why we act as we do.
3. We bring the desire, with its origins and manifestations to prayer. Placing ourselves in the presence of Jesus, we can ask, “Free me from this desire”. When we pray. “Let me not desire this”, we are inviting grace to work. Gradually we may find that the desire no longer takes control of our soul in any degree. On the contrary, now it is our will united with God’s will that controls the desire.
4. To work out this healing process for each inordinate desire or lust, recognize that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. As we share in His divine nature, His power enables us to escape the corruption that sinful desires cause in the world ( 2 Pet. 1:3-10 ).
But it is up to us to work out our salvation by adding on to what He has done for us on the cross. Accordingly, as God’s grace enters our life, we are responsible to:
• Add integrity to our faith, and this by moral excellence and goodness of character, moral strength and moral courage ( 1 Thess. 4:1-7 ).
• Add knowledge : practical intelligence, insight. It means knowing what to do in every situation, and doing it; it is practical, day to day knowledge that sees situations and knows how to handle them. It is seeing the trials and temptations of life and knowing what to do with them and doing it ( John 8:31 ; Rom. 12:9-21 ).
• Add temperance : to master and control the body or the flesh with all its desires and lusts. It means self-control, the master of desire, appetite, and passion, especially sensual urges and cravings. It means to stand against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life ( 1 John 2:15-16 ).
• Add patience : endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, constancy, and perseverance. It is the spirit that stands up and faces life’s trials, that actively goes about conquering and overcoming them. It is trials in life that teach one how to be patient ( Luke 21:19 ; Rom. 12:1-2 ; James 1:2-4 ).
• Add godliness . This actually means to live in the reverence and awe of God; to be conscious of God’s presence that one lives just as God would live if He were walking upon earth. It means to live seeking to be like God; to seek to possess the character, nature, and behavior of God. Man is to seek to gain a consciousness of God’s presence – a consciousness so intense that he actually lives as God would live if He were on earth ( 2 Cor. 3:18 ; 2 Pet. 2:3,11 ; Titus 2:12-13 ).
• Add brotherly kindness . This means to love others unconditionally as God loves us. This selfless or agape love is a gift of God. It can be experienced only if a person knows God personally only if a person has received the love of God, that is, Christ Jesus, into his heart and life.
A response to these virtues and godly values, and the exercise of these qualities will gradually replace and force out the inordinate desires that beset many lives. The road to spiritual growth is open before us. We can advance as St. Paul describes as we become less dominated by desires within our souls, and more open to the working of grace: “You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” ( Eph. 4:22-24 ; Rom. 8:29 ).
The Holy Spirit has been given; the Lord is glorified – our waiting is not dependent on the providence of God, but on our own spiritual fitness. Thus, we need to look at ourselves and work out our salvation daily. See Section A.5, “Dying To Self” .
Reference: See article “Desires: Guidance from St. John of the Cross”, by Shirley D. Sullivan, ‘Spiritual Life’ magazine. 2131 Lincoln Road, NE, Washington, DC 20002)
11.9. Union with God
We are creatures, God is transcendent. We are made in the image of God, but fallen. Human nature inclined to evil, how can God unite with evil? The Incarnation made this possible. Human nature united to God. Becoming man, Jesus took our punishment for sin to free us. His living sacrifice defeated sin, and He became the mediator between heaven and earth. Gates of heaven opened to man through Jesus’ human nature. Now man through Christ can approach God without being destroyed by His Holiness.
Upon conversion, man’s spirit is united to God, but the residuals of the old self-life still remain in the corrupted soul. This is man’s responsibility, he must choose to put-off the old man and put-on the new man by the renewing of the spirit of the mind (the memories), moment to moment, day by day, year by year ( Eph. 4:22-24 ).
Growth Stages and the Seven Mansions
There are three stages of this union: justification, sanctification and glorification. Justification is the movement from dark to light, becoming sons of God; sanctification is the process of becoming conformed to the image of God through His Son; glorification begins at death ( Rom. 8:29 ).
Matt. 5:48 states we are to be complete as the Father. Matt. 7:13-14 states any way other than our single focus on the Lord Jesus Christ will not do it ( Gal. 2:20 ). Col. 3:1-10 states that we are to put to death anything that is rooted on earth. Sin becomes a god which controls us and must be totally eradicated. To effect spiritual growth, we must pursue a dynamic course of action (a conscious self awareness) to separate ourselves from the world, the flesh and the devil. Accordingly this gives rise to…
1. The purgation of gross sins.
2. We begin to receive illuminating light and insight and sensitivity to sins and to be aware of God’s Presence.
3. In addition to our own efforts, God begins to take the initiative in our lives.
4. This leads into the union stage, which is stable and consistent.
This is the initial turning to the Lord, seeing the horror of sin, and opening self to the mercy of God. Sense of humility and a sense of self knowledge develops but a great danger of falling back exists because serpents, lizards, and other poisonous vipers abound.
Struggle continues here in battling the gross features of snakes and vipers of all sorts, but in the process one becomes aware of less gross sins. The practice of prayer emerges to counteract falling away. Here one is learning to turn away from the occasions of sin, hearing God’s voice in His words, Distractions and discouragements are common but one becomes sensitive to the Presence of the Holy Spirit Who encourages and strengthens, and prompts to confess and repent in failures, and to start again. Here determination to proceed is critical. Don’t look for sensations or feelings, go by faith that God is with you. It is in the dry periods where spiritual growth is deepened. Ask God for a spirit of determination.
Here is a life of basic order and stability, living a consistent Christian life of serving, giving, helping the poor, judging self, exercising mercy, daily devotions, etc. However, watch out thinking the Lord owes you something. Develop an attitude that the Lord owes you nothing. All that we have are gifts to begin with. Our salvation and all that it means are merciful gifts that we are to exercise to His glory. Don’t look for consolation in periods of dryness. Dry periods are means to purify us. Dryness reminds us what is it like to live without God. Thus, as we become rooted in God, we will be set free in time from the need of wealth, reputation, power: all that is of the world, the flesh and the devil.
However, many remain attached to things of the world, and are subject to falling back when great trials come their way. Folks who live this ordered and stable life may be inclined to look down and judge those who live a weak spiritual life instead of being the means of encouragement.
The first three mansions represent our self-effort, and self-emphasis. At this fourth stage, God begins to take the initiative: supernatural life begins here. However, poisonous creatures are still hanging around, and these temptations keep us from being anchored to God. One major danger is thinking that we are better than others. . The other fault is trying to figure out all things. Through prayer, worship and meditation, one is to seek God in all things Who will direct every thought henceforth. Our job is just to obey. God is responsible for the results, He knows the end from the beginning.
This fourth area is one of recollection and quiet entering into the realm of the supernatural life. We are to recollect who and what we are in Christ Jesus, not a focus on what we are or have done in the world. Here we begin to discern the false values of the flesh and the world and the true values of the Kingdom.
This requires a quiet time in the Presence of the Lord, an inner calling of the Lord to help us dwell on Him. Distractions will come, don’t fight them, let them come, concentrate on the Lord. Open one’s heart to the Presence of the Lord, and not on our own preoccupations. Here let God fills us, make room for Him, be not inclined to talk but just listen. Be in a state of thanksgiving, being grateful that you know God.
Recollection and quietness leads to this mansion of full union and complete dependence on God, giving up self and making room for God to enter our soul. This is the passive night of the senses The Lord strips and detaches us only to fill us with His Presence. The Holy Spirit works to rid self of its old ways of selfishness and self-concerns.
Here we pray to bring our will into the union of God’s will. From this point on God takes the initiative to drive out the self-will. Even in the midst of deep trials, deep peace will prevail but one must press forward and not fall away. Union of our will with God’s will is the major event. The danger again is pride that we are superior to others. However, the evidence that this union is real is an increase of our loving our neighbor, which is a reflection of our loving God.
This stage is one of spiritual betrothal. God will not give Himself until we strongly desire Him. We will be subject to many tests and trials. Trials will increase which is God’s favor to deepen the union. Things will get tough. God will not cast pearls before swine. Sufferings of various dimensions in the physical and mental arenas will come, convincing you that you are back to zero, spiritually. You will be accused of many sins, you will be slandered, treated unjustly: all this to challenge the self-life. The Lord will give the devil license to try you, to feel lost, to lose faith, to feel abandoned, to having no sense of God. In the midst, we continue in this dark night, the passive night of the spirit, waiting for the mercies of God until the light of His Presence penetrates and disperses the darkness.
Now we come to the stage of the spiritual marriage. All that Christ is, we are ( 1 Cor. 1:30 ). His virtues are mine, His wisdom and strength are mine. Gal. 2:20 is not just of the mind but of the heart and lived out in all of life’s activities. The Spirit of God fills the mind, the memory, the will and emotions and directs the conduct and behavior of the body. No more fears and doubts but we are tested time and again to remind us of our complete hopelessness without God and our complete dependence upon Him ( John 15:5 ).
See Section A.12, “Anchor Posts” .
Reference: [Kavanaugh1]; [StTeresa1].
( Gen. 1:2-3 ) Regardless of what appears to be absolute chaos, let God’s light come, brood and dream and visualize God’s truths over the situation until victory comes.
( 2 Cor. 5:17-21 ) We are here to represent God, not ourselves, not my country, not political, economic, or social benefits. God is not here to meet my needs, I am here to fulfill His purposes. My life, my mindset is to be of God, His glory, His reputation.
( John 3:5-6 ; 1 Cor. 6:17 ; Prov. 20:7 ; Rom. 8:16 ; Job 32:8 ) My spirit is a direct offspring of God. My spirit is a receiver, we are in union and one in God. God illuminates and ignites my human spirit, not my mind or emotions; I am of the same nature as God and I am to act accordingly, at ease and natural-like. My spirit does not operate by reason, but it is inspired and operates by receiving an inward revelation breathed into and within. God’s Spirit speaks directly to my spirit, by-passes the mind, . A witness in our spirit hears God’s purposes and His agenda. God’s breath gives us comprehension.
( Luke 18:27 ; Rom. 10:9-10 ) Fellowship of my spirit with God knows no limitation, not a question of the power of positive thinking, but the life of God infused into my spirit. My human spirit always believes, and always willing to do God’s will and not limited in anyway. But our minds and emotions can cast doubt and unbelief.
( Rom. 8:20-22 ; Gen. 1:2-3 ; 1 John 3:8 ) My spirit connected to God knows exactly what to do in the midst of chaos. But do not be controlled by externals of reason and emotions, others opinions and experiences but heave in great expectation of being liberated. Void and darkness can’t be part of God because God’s light, and purpose came when the Spirit of God moved or brooded upon the face of the waters, enabling my spirit to be in union with God and my spirit being infused with revelation of purpose for my life. Thus, by dreams and visions and purposes of God, I brood like a hen over her eggs until it hatches. Jesus , the seed of the Almighty, is in me, not to be need-oriented but purpose-motivated. Hatch the right vision and get the devil on the run.
( Gen. 1:3 ; 2 Cor. 4:13,18 ; Rom. 10:8 ; Deut. 30:14 ) See before you decree. God brooded for awhile, incubation is necessary, the light becomes. Speak whatever is incubated within my spirit. Meditation is incubating. See it in the spirit then speak and decree it. Understand the objectives and agenda of God, then decree it into existence. Jesus spent 40 days with Satan. Jesus dealt with the head , not the little demons, after 40 days He acted.
( Matt. 6:30-31 ) Do not speak the need, declaration of the need creates the propagation of the need, multiplies itself, take no thought ‘saying’. Think God’s thoughts after Him.
( Eph. 6:17b ; Heb. 4:12-14 ) Keep brooding and incubating as Jesus did for 40 days for the valid reception of God’s word can penetrate any area, nothing can stop it. All things are open to the word of God, but wait for the revelation of God in your spirit.
( John 16:33 ) The world is wide-open to hear the purposes of revelation and when people hear the incubated word of Christ, all will be accountable to what they heard.
( Jer. 15:4 ; Isa. 55:11 ; Jer. 23:29 ) Resign from being your own person but obligate your life for His purposes. His word in my mouth penetrates and prevents.
Work Out Your Salvation (Phil. 2:12-13)
BSAF on 1 Cor. 6:17 ; Prov. 20:27 . Job 32:8 .
On the basis of truths gained, work out the three columns of Section A.8, “Freedom From Anxiety” .