03 Aug, 2015 5. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
What is one of the most tangible or amazing ‘spiritual’ experiences you have had?
A look at the Bible
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
If a religious belief-system made sense logically, but few could testify to the existence of any real spiritual power or experiences behind it, what might that cause us to think or question? How important are our spiritual experiences?
How significant have spiritual experiences been to your own faith journey?
Sometimes we have periods in our lives as Christians when God seems to be distant. We don’t feel his presence. How are we to interpret these times? Why might God allow them?
The fact seems to be that God does give many Christians experiences of his presence that are real to them. What impact could these experiences have on our faith in God? What are the implications of God existence, as revealed through Jesus, upon our purpose in life?
While spiritual experiences can be a powerful personal confirmation of beliefs, most Christians agree that our ongoing faith shouldn’t be dependent upon them. While every Christian will experience God’s presence and leading at times (because God is with us and engages with our prayers), the ‘quieter’ times do not mean God is distant — because one of God’s purposes with us is to grow us to trust him, even when we can’t ‘feel’ his presence. See John 21:29. It is also of note that other people’s accounts of experiencing God are also experiential evidence — even if we have not experienced the same things ourselves. This should encourage us when we are in a season lacking in noticeable spiritual experiences.
However, there can be no question that experiences alone are insufficient. There are some people in all religions who have spiritual experiences (even if the nature and frequency of them is different). It is with a combination of objective (factual) evidences and subjective (experiential) evidences that we should discern these kinds of truths, because a theory can sound factual and yet be wrong — while an experience can seem to prove something, and yet be incorrectly interpreted.
The Christian faith is powerfully validated by both objective and subjective evidences. The combination of these is what makes the ‘arguments’ in favour of the Christian faith so unique.
How helpful has this series been? What have your learned? What difference will this make for you?
In what areas are you interested to learn more? Where could you find good information to read or learn from?
Dear God, thank you that all our Christian teachings are not just ‘good teachings’ or ‘moralising’ — but instead your actual word to us, with power to do amazing things in our lives and on our planet. Thank you that you love us and hear our prayers. Thank you that you answer our prayers, bring healing to our hearts and emotions, power to our lives to change our bad ways, and a calling to our lives to bring good in all the ways we can, for your glory. Thank you for all the records of history that show us the difference you make in people’s lives, and in nations, when they turn to you. Your power is seen in history — and in so many people’s amazing testimonies! Thank you for the great reassurance this gives us that you are indeed a God who sees, cares and helps.
Help us to love you sincerely, and to follow your teachings with that same sincerity, so our lives will please you.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.