COMING INTO THE
then, I was to begin my quest in the search of truth, I had to come to terms
with the fact that I was confronting the unknown, and my own lack of knowledge
was the greatest obstacle in the equation.
It was difficult, but I had to come to terms with the fact that I was the
cause of my own self-imposed ignorance.
In the realization that the answers I sought were supernatural, and lay
beyond the physical, for the first time I began to truly believe what the Bible
literally stated throughout both the New and Old Testaments -- i.e., the
scriptures are a great deal more than what they appear to be on the surface, and
deep within its historical narrative, it cloaks the keys to understanding the
path to God and the answers to life.
order to come to terms with the obstacles that confronted me, I had to begin by
defining and getting a clear vision of the problem.
Turning to the Bible, what it states is this: I cannot know right from
wrong -- truth from error -- until I am able to see and perceive the world from
the perspective of God. Ultimately,
what this means was that I had to somehow cease to make judgments from a carnal
perspective. In the same way that God looks out into the world and
sees everything just the way it is, I too had to begin the process of drawing
nearer to God by see everything without making judgments that are founded upon
my carnal reasoning.
a person of faith, I believed that if God wanted to, He could instantly change
everything in this world by just saying the Word -- and it would be forever
altered from its present course. If God, then, is all-good and all-knowing, it is
reasonable to also conclude that He must
have a good reason for leaving everything as it is.
As I pondered these mysteries of life, I had begun to realize that it is
one of the great faults of carnal man to judge blindly -- without being able to
perceive the reason why God permits life to continue in the manner that it does.
I reasoned that if God had it within His power to change everything -- and
He does not -- then when I make judgments about things that I do not understand, I
actually build a wall between myself and God.
I recognized that if I continued to judge the movement of the Hand of
God, I could never draw nearer to Him, and come to comprehend the reason why He
permits these things to continue. A
change in mind, then, had to begin by acknowledging what I saw, and then asking
God to teach me not only why, but what these things meant from the wider
began my quest by developing a rather unique prayer which I came to call the
invocation of the disciple in search of the Light and Truth.
First I prayed in the manner that Jesus taught: I prayed for the kingdom
to come -- for the bread of the morrow -- for the power to forgive all people --
and that I be released from my debts to my brothers and sisters who I have
wronged in this life. I prayed for greater faith and knowledge, and the
strength to overcome and walk in The Way.
I then prayed for the Lord to take me into His Light -- to protect, heal
and cleanse me, and reveal to me His vision of what I saw.
the beginning, everything seemed normal.
I would pray; I would mediate; I would contemplate; and I would come away
feeling at peace with myself. Slowly,
though, I began to feel what I can only describe as a shift in perceptive
consciousness. It was as if I had begun to pray from a different place
within my mind and being. This
new experience brought a deep feeling of spiritual depth and tranquility.
time I prayed and meditated, I would seem to move into this deeper place more
quickly than the previous time. Moreover, the experience itself seemed to be taking on
a new depth and profoundness. Slowly
at first, I began to perceive Light emanating from what appeared to be an inner
dimension of my being. I
began to experience what St. Teresa of Avila described as interior castles.
“The soul,” writes St. Teresa, is as “a castle made of a
single diamond… in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are
many mansions” (Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila).
a period of time in deep prayer and meditation, I began to feel what I believed
to be the Hand of the
Lord upon me -- and He would reveal to me a vision of myself from a more distant
place deep within and beyond the normal layers of my consciousness.
I realized that the point from which I could now see was from a place
that was unfamiliar to my ordinary waking state -- and yet, like one stricken
with amnesia, I felt that it was a part of myself that I was somehow familiar
with, and seemed to have previously known in a time that I no longer consciously
I saw myself immersed in the Lord's healing white and pure Light, I let everything that related to my life in this physical realm go.
In many respects, I did as the Bible instructed, and openly let go of
everything -- every desire, need and want -- and I gave them to the Lord.
I refused to cling to anything, and simply released every thought that
popped into my head to the Light -- and my prayer was this: Lord, I dwell in a
confusing world of many diverse doctrines, and I am ignorant of what the truth
is, and what you want me to believe.
I would then go through the process of placing all the doctrinal
possibilities on shelves in my mind, and I would again pray: Lord, I surrender
myself, body, mind and spirit to your service and will.
Let me be an instrument of thy peace and Light.
I dwell in a confusing world, and I have none other than you -- and you
alone -- and only you are able to teach me what is right and wrong.
my prayer and meditation in the Light I would make time to study the scriptures
and ponder the significance of what I read.
In order to protect myself from personal interpretations, I simply
acknowledged the sense of what came to mind, and added it to one or more of my
mental shelves that I maintained. Often
I saw multiple ideas that emanated from a common single verse of scripture.
I fasted, prayed, meditated, contemplated, and attempted to incorporate
what I learned in my daily life. In
my search to fulfill the scriptures and be taught only by the Lord (Jn 6:45), I
began to see that I had begun an evolution in consciousness that I came to
understand at a later date to be a biblically based process of spiritual
of the things that I came to realize is that it is man's own ego which often is
the greatest limiting factor in his quest to understand the Gospel from the
perspective of a higher vision of reality.
It would have been arrogant of me not to have recognized the fact that an
uncountable number of God-fearing and faithful men have pondered both the
scriptures, and everything they knew about life, as they groped to create their
many doctrines of belief that they set before the people so they would have a
better understanding of Life and God.
That great minds have arrived at many conflicting and often opposing
perceptions of the Word, only confirmed the message that I clearly saw in the
scriptures -- i.e., that the true depth of the Bible was beyond human
In my search for the very essence of the Word, I also had to recognize another great truth that is generally rejected by those we call religious experts: That each of us sees nothing more than what the Will of God permits us to see -- which ultimately meant that it must have been the Hand of God that had been moving the hearts and minds of the people that actually led each of these faithful religious authorities into their perception of the scriptures.
I contemplated the realization of this concept, I recognized that the emerging
idea would be truly frightening to the average person. Ultimately, it was
the Hand of God that caused the Jehovah's Witness to believe in the manner they
do -- and the same could be said of the Evangelical Christian, the liberal
mainstream Protestant denominations -- as well as the Atheist and every other
philosophy and theology the world over. If, then, I was to go beyond their perception of
the vision and beliefs which God had imbued other men in search of truth with, I
realized that it was of paramount importance that I nether rejected or condemned what they said -- but
rather, use their vision of the Word as a sort of springboard from which I was
to propel myself to still greater heights.
Perhaps the key to my rationale was not to condemn -- but to instead
attempt to see the truth that each of these individual thinkers of the past saw. The result was that in recognizing all the doctrinal
alternatives, and attaching myself to none, I was in effect making myself
teachable by opening my mind to the possibilities, acknowledging my ignorance,
and asking the Lord to guide me through the sea of confusion.
one of the most important elements of the teachings of The Way is the ultimate
reality where it can be said: Every
believer who truly desires to become a disciple of the Christ must recognize
that God does not expect them to know what is true or false.
To rephrase this rather profound statement: God does not expect you to
know, but to learn! In
examination of this great fact, we must ask ourselves what the criteria is that
we should use as a foundation of belief?
The rhetorical Christian answer to this question would be that Jesus must
be the only foundation -- but which Jesus do we build upon?
Do we believe in the Jesus of the disciples and first century Messianic
Jewish followers of Christ? Do
we believe in the Jesus of Paul and the Gentile converts -- many of whom were
very Gnostic in their perception of the Word?
Do we embrace the Roman perception of Jesus?
The Middle-Age Protestant Reformer's perception of Jesus?
Or any one of the almost endless varieties of the modern-day perceptions
of Jesus that are preached from our pulpits today?
One of the paramount problems in coming to Christ is the fact that man
has constantly recreated Jesus in accordance with his own cultural needs during
the timeframe that he has lived. Moreover,
the Jesus of each individual sect of Christendom today, has very little in
common with the next.
majority of Christians believe in the manner they do because they were born into
a certain church -- because they adopted a doctrine that sounds good to them --
or someone who they look to as a religious authority inspired them to believe
their doctrine is the right one. From
my own experience, the process that I found working within myself is to be ever
mindful of the possibilities, and always cognizant of the direction the Lord was
leading me. Thus, in order to
find Jesus, one must be ready to search for the genuine Jesus in a world of
the realization that I cannot possibly learn, when I already think I know the
answer, I had to embrace a totally new mindset than what I had been imbued with
since birth. I had to neither
condemn nor adhere to anything -- and be ever ready to permit the Lord to teach
me new concepts and truths. From
a biblical perspective, the genuine surrender of oneself to be led wherever the
Lord will guide you -- without limitations or restrictions -- is the exercise of
true biblical faith that was prescribed by the Apostle -- i.e., a faith where
one stretches forth their hand in the endeavor to make oneself ready and willing
to follow and be guided into the unknown.
of the first realizations that serious Bible students must immediately come to
terms with is the fact that the English language is gravely insufficient to
express the true meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew tongues.
The result is that Bible translators often use words and phrases that
suite their own religious doctrine, while obscuring the real meaning of the
verse in question. One of the
truly prime examples of this fact is seen where the English translation of the
scripture says: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt
3:2 NAS). The meaning of the
original Greek, which literally means to “change the mind”, conveys a
message of great depth that is not apparent in our English translations. To phrase the thought that is being expressed, the true
meaning is to “Open and unloose the mind, for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand”. This concept
which is not understood, is truly
important for the person of faith to come to terms with -- fore it is the
beginning of The Way.
our search for God, we must come to the realization that we look at life through
the vision of our own doctrines of belief.
Modern translators and believers who interpret the bible through the
filter of their beliefs, would never understand how one could find the Kingdom
by opening and unleashing the mind. Such
an understanding of the Word would, in most instances, simply be beyond their
vision of life.
their doctrinal mindset, entrance to the Kingdom is entirely dependent upon
belief in the historical personage of Jesus.
One of their favorite phrases is: “It's Jesus plus nothing”.
Since they can do nothing of themselves without Jesus -- and without
Jesus there is no Kingdom -- they render this word “repent” -- and
though repentance is good, such a meaning does absolutely nothing in the way of
conveying the manner in which the mind must be changed, and the Kingdom is to be
entered. This rather physical
mindset fails to take into account the words of the Lord when he said: “God
is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in
truth” (John 4:24 KJV). Thus,
it is via man's spiritual nature where he will meet with the Lord -- upon the
consecrated realm of the spirit world -- and the door to this realm can only be
entered through a genuine spiritual repentance -- a total change in mind and
thinking -- in conjunction with a purification and consecration of the body, and
the opening and unleashing of the mind in order for the scriptural mandate to be
genuine disciple of the Light who extends his hand for the Lord to take hold of,
must be ready and willing to grow and expand his spiritual horizons in whatever
manner the Lord directs. I
came to understand that, though many sincere believers think they are
accomplishing this very thing, they fail to see that because they continue to
cling to carnal perceptions of the Word, it is these manmade doctrines that act
as anchors, and keeps them chained to this world in their quest to embrace a
higher understanding of the Gospel message.
fact that man has a spiritual nature where he must endeavor to meet the Lord is
again seen in the words of the Apostle when he wrote: “And I knew such a
man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How
that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is
not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor 12:3-4 KJV).
Thus, I understood all these passages of scripture to ultimately convey
the idea that to be His Disciple, I had to open my mind exclusively to the Lord
-- release my mind from all the doctrines of belief that chained the people to this
world -- permit the Lord to open my mind and expand my reasoning powers -- and in so doing this, I
had to put total faith in
the message of the scriptures that I would hear the Lord knocking, and would
then be in a position to open the
inner door that the Bible says leads to the Kingdom of Heaven within me.
fulfilling the biblical requirement of opening the mind, I had to come to terms
with a great fact that every Christian in search of a closer walk with the Lord
must recognize in their life -- i.e., the Truths and Mysteries which the Lord would teach and
reveal to me, would appear to be strange and foreign to the ideas and doctrines
which I had
grown accustomed to accepting as truth.
From a biblical perspective, if true spiritual knowledge was of such a
nature that the Apostle described it as “unspeakable words, which it is not
lawful for a man to utter”, then I comprehended the biblical message that
the disciple must be prepared to open his understanding to profound truths that
were simply beyond his ability to even contemplate in his normal state of mind.
If it is our desire to behold and know the Truth, then it is paramount that we first come to terms with a foundational principle which the Bible very clearly proclaims to the reader -- i.e., that the Gospel of the Spiritual Christ has never been spoken out of the mouths of carnal men. In acknowledging this biblical fact, perhaps the second foundational principle which the believer in search of Truth must accept is the reality that the above is valid, even when the gospel is being preached by men who are known and acclaimed as accepted religious authorities among the body of Christian believers.
When the people of the simple faith claim to have
belief and faith in the witness of the Apostle, what this means is that when he
warned us that the vision of the Kingdom and man's spiritual reality was “unspeakable”,
that we do not ignore, or take this warning lightly. If we are to move beyond what the Apostle himself calls
the “milk” of the
gospel, then it is imperative that we realize this great truth whenever we read
Paul's Epistles: That if he could have, he would have described what he saw; so
that we would be prepared to comprehend the things that he refers to as the
Mysteries of God. Taking this
biblical fact one step further we must also realize that it is our own
limitations of both perception and mind, that inhibits our clear understanding
of what Paul referred to as the Sacred Secrets of God.