Two Principles of the Spiritual Life and One Great Practice
- 1st Principle: Quieting Your Mind So That You Can Hear
the Voice of the Indwelling Spirit of God
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46 10
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12 [KJV version: “a still, small voice.”]
“Follow the counsel of Paul: Allow yourself to be led by the Spirit of God. That Spirit will unerringly conduct you to the end purpose for which your soul was created. That end purpose is the enjoyment of God.” Romans 8:14, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”
Jeanne Guyon, Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, p. 134
- 2nd Principle of the spiritual life:
- Owning All That You Are,
All That You Have Done,
All That Was Done to You
Confession as a ritual is important in worship services and alone with God.
Letting God highlight where you put up barriers to Him, where you can’t hear or see what His is showing you about yourself: guilt and shame. Admitting all that you are—”the good, the bad and the ugly” as the old western title goes. Write it down. Say it aloud to yourself or another person whom you trust.
The principle is to bring your whole self before God in Love—heart, mind, soul and strength, to love God with all of ourselves, with our sin, with our good points, with our pain and suffering. [Matthew 23:34-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28]
What stands between us and others is our own self-image, our defensiveness, our need to hide who we really are. Sometimes it just takes a decision to love yourself as you are—warts and all, maybe even turning the eyes of love on yourself only because God loves you and forgives you.
Then you have a chance of actually feeling God’s love, not just knowing about it with your mind.
And then, when you can love yourself and feel God’s love for you, offering that whole self up to others. Employing all the fruit of the Spirit which you have now applied to yourself: “peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
- A Great Practice: Setting Intentions
If, in your confession, you find a pattern of behavior that you want to lift up to God for healing, then setting an intention around that issue is a powerful prayer.
My first experience: it came to me that I was so scattered. So I set my intention to be more focused. Four or five months later I was surprised to feel integrated for the first time in my life. As I traced back over the past few months, I saw that the intention I had set was the cause of this new feeling. I was hooked! Since then I have set intentions around all sorts of issues in my life. And watched the change happen.
Steps in setting an intention
- State what you want to change in your life in the most positive way.
- Take the time to gather your whole self—heart, mind, soul and body—to offer this prayer.
- Let the Holy Spirit do the work.
My understanding of this process is this: God does not violate our free will; He does not scale the walls we have built to protect ourselves. He just wants our permission to enter in to our lives and to heal and to transform us one step at a time.