2. The indwelling Holy Spirit (continued…)
I was really struck as I listened to one of his messages on podcast from several months ago.
In talking about spiritual realities, he makes sure to discuss how spiritual does not mean figurative. When we think of spiritual dynamics, without knowing it, we often put them in the same category as other immaterial dynamics like feelings and dreams. Rather, Billy asserts, the spiritual world is just as real and as tactile as this one, albeit on the other side of the two-way mirror of heaven. From here, we can only see the natural realm around us, but from the spiritual dimension, all is visible.
I make this point to preface the second meditation space, which is the Holy Spirit, Christ within you, the hope of glory.
1 Corinthians 2:7, 12 NIV
No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began…. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
Billy has repeatedly encouraged Christians to take the Bible at face value. Let us then consider the practical implications of this verse. Just because we cannot measure the Holy Spirit within us using a weight scale or a voltmeter, it doesn’t make him any less real.
Imagine the Holy Spirit within you. Picture the radiant light of God being imparted into your chest. Remember that light is a Person, not a force. He has a mind, will, and personality. Visualize Jesus breathing on you and his very essence entering the deepest place of you. Take a few moments to ruminate on the reality that your own natural mind is not the only voice within you, nor the deepest life guide. There is a depth within you that reaches deeper than a bottomless well.
That is something to think about.
3. Approaching the Throne
Billy believes that it’s possible (by the Holy Spirit) to approach God‘s throne right now. Most Christians reading this will take that for granted, since Ephesians 2:6 and Hebrews 4:16 are so well stated in our culture, but it doesn’t make it any less fascinating. Allowing that simple truth to take a moment at the forefront of our thoughts, though, changes everything.
It isn’t a mere chair that we are coming too. Rather, the throne of God the very epicenter of all created order.
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
Billy confidently asserts that the invitation of God is still open to his holy people to come up here and receive.
There are living creatures with six wings, four faces, and eyes all around and within. There are 24 elders (which Billy thinks are the leaders of the 12 tribes of Judah and the 12 apostles) whose only job obligation is casting their crown at the feet of Jesus. There’s an emerald rainbow surrounding the throne. There’s a kaleidoscopic multitude from every nation and tongue laying down palm branches.
Let’s take a moment to talk about just the fire. The throne is on fire. The river of life is water mixed with fire. The legs of the Son of Man are like smelted bronze fresh from the furnace. His arms are like glowing metal.
And his eyes… oh, his eyes! They shine like roaring torches.
And they are looking straight at you with holiness and love.
4. Sitting before the Lord in silence
He ended his talk by saying, and the last one is the hardest. You can imagine that my ears perked up. What would be the most challenging to this preacher of the gospel that I so much esteemed?
I wasn’t quite sure what he meant at first, but then he elaborated. He talked about how the most challenging object to meditate on was not an object, that is, to ease his mind before the Lord and sit before him without any agenda, focal point, or task in mind.
Simply, to be. To abide. To lay down his anxieties for one moment in light of the overwhelming Good-ness of our Father. It’s a commandment, you know? (See John 15.)
Yet after trying it for myself, I have to agree!
Tending the wandering mind without a focal point is extremely challenging. One might have an easier time herding house cats.
In our fast-paced, consumerist, interconnected, microwaveable, express-delivery primed culture, slowing down to rest feels like the most unnatural thing in the world. It puts me in mind of a mile-long freight train just putting on its breaks. Have you ever heard the diabolical screeching? That’s that’s how strongly my mind resists coming to rest!
What’s that? You would still like to try? OK! It’s difficult but not impossible.
Having been trained in meditation as a schoolteacher as part of an Emory University study, I find it most helpful to choose the breath as a returning base when my mind wanders. When abiding in Christ, resting, and releasing burdens to him, the breath serves as the pillar to which the leash of my unruly and undisciplined mind may be tethered.
Would you like to try it?
Let the attention rest on it as gently as possible, like a butterfly lighting on a flower. Feel the sensation of air slowly flowing in and out of your nostrils.
Choose to thank the Father for his many good gifts such as the oxygen you’re breathing, the room where you’re sitting, the fact that there’s food in your cabinet at home, the fact that you live in a country at peace.
Your mind will inevitably wander toward concerns about the future and memories of the past. Do not allow him to grab your focus, but do not wrestle your thoughts away from them either. See them like clouds slowly passing by in the sky or fish swimming to and fro in a massive aquarium.
Just breathe. Breathe, and remember: he calls you his son/daughter.