Spiritual experience.

Do you know anyone who lives in their head? As if every emotion is secondary to just ‘figuring it all out’? How about someone who seems to respond emotionally but not logically to trouble and personal challenges.

I love thinking about the connect of head and heart, and how Christ refuses to let our faith reside in either/or (it’s both/and). Why does He do that? Because we’re whole people, though many lack wholeness — okay, we all lack wholeness — in our fallen human condition. So the connection of our beliefs (head) and emotions (heart) is closer than we realize. And the disconnect is more real than we imagined.

We see this when a friend is depressed. And when we have no words to describe how we feel; we just have to return to the Gospel and sing it back into our souls. And connect our deepest passions to God’s good gifts. This is where we begin to truly experience the Spirit.

So what makes for true spiritual experience?

“Spiritual experience that does not arise from God’s word is not Christian experience. Other religions offer spiritual experiences. Concerts and therapy sessions can affect our emotions. Not all that passes for Christian experience is genuine. An authentic experience of the Spirit is an experience in response to the gospel. Through the Spirit the truth touches our hearts, and that truth moves our emotions and affects our wills.
This also means that Bible study and theology that do not lead to love for God and a desire to do His will—to worship, tears, laughter, excitement, or sorrow—have gone terribly wrong. True theology leads to love, mission, and doxology (1 Timothy 1:5, 7, 17). We should not expect an adrenaline rush every time we study God’s word. We all express our emotions in different ways. But when we study God’s word we should pray that the spirit of God will not only inform our hearts but also inspire our hearts.”
—Tim Chester & Steve Timmis, Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community, 31.

Do you agree? How does engaging God in His Word really change you?