Thought this would be a fantastic primer. I’m still working on a piece about why I “came out” as a gay affirming Christian after many years of being trained to believe a man loving a man or a woman loving a woman is an “abomination.”
Continued from: Loving God with your Intellect
MATTHEW 22:37 AMP
And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). [Deut. 6:5.]
There is too much data in this universe. No matter how much I know I’m always building my perspective with missing information. I know my intellect cannot tell me everything. At some point, heart and soul must step in where she fails me (and even those fail me too sometimes but hey! We try our best, right?)
So, the intellect allows us make mental sense of data we gather through our physical senses but there exists this idea that there are unseen forces we interact with all the time using some sort of internal compass. Cultures and religions all over the world have a concept of this: intuition, 6th sense, third eye, sensing “auras” and “energy,” discernment…
When we’re introduced to ideas outside the range of our 5 senses, we tend to shut down. It doesn’t make sense to the intellect and we don’t have a robust vocabulary for it. We call it crazy or pseudo-science. But I mean, I can’t see a radio wave with my eyes, yet it exists; someone had to be the first one to build a radio – a complex process that I imagine was fraught with many failures along the way. For many generations, no one knew wireless communication was a tangible possibility; we had to collectively evolve to be able to create the technology we have today and I don’t think spiritual things are that different. I think the idea of spiritual perception overwhelms us especially when it doesn’t work like we expect. I think we’ve gotten quite worn out with it all, which is understandable. We stop pressing in to find out what’s going on when things move from logical to intangible or (dare I say the dreaded word?) mystical. We expect it to be easy. It’s not. The art of learning how to feel in the right direction is complex.
Coming from the Christian perspective, we talk about prayer, worship, prophecy, discernment, faith… things that are received by the heart and soul. Generations of devout believers have seen miraculous things happen when they reach out for God past the logical and into the intangible. These practices breed a wide array of emotional responses. Sometimes, those feelings are explainable and sometimes not. I am fascinated by the stories of people who move using the eyes of their hearts, even when they can’t explain why they feel something so strongly, and get to see amazing things happen.
I’m talking about the freaky Jesus stuff. I’m talking about my best friend landing in Haiti for a mission trip. She goes to a woman’s house – someone she had never met – and the woman says, “I had a dream about you and your team yesterday.” My best friend then prays for the woman and she receives a miraculous healing in her leg. Like, that kind of stuff. I have ZERO logical explanation for that. This is the kind of stuff you see in the book of Acts, the kind of stuff my cessationist friends firmly believe don’t happen anymore. And you know, I’m not just talking about a one time fluke. Stuff like this happens to her ALL the time and stuff like that has happened to me too.
I had a very interesting experience with one of my favorite bands. One day, while listening to their CD, I felt an urge to write them a message and pray a blessing over them. I specifically felt like I should pray for them to love each other like brothers. The theme of brotherhood was huge on my heart as I penned my prayer to them. I didn’t expect a response and I didn’t get one.
Months later, they were playing a show an hour away from my town. I was so exicted that I wrote them a little fan letter saying that I really appreciated the way they expressed the teachings of Jesus so poetically and prayed a prayer of blessing on their work. The night of the show, I hopped in my 1990 Honda Accord and headed there. My car made hellish noises that night; I pressed on anyway. After the most amazing concert of my life, I gave the letter to one of the roadies and asked him to pass it on because I thought the band wouldn’t be available to sign things after. I headed to the merch table and the front man was standing right there. I won’t lie, I fangirled a little bit. I was so excited that my words didn’t really come out right. I told him I loved his music so much and asked if he’d sign my guitar. I told him I had given a letter to one of the roadies for them.
Here’s the interesting (yet sad) tidbit. During the concert, they opened up about how one of the band members had just lost a member of his family and I later found out it was a brother. That night of the show was said member’s first time back after a few weeks. It was emotional for all of them. The story online was heartbreaking. 2 months after that concert, I got a reply to my first message to them. They thanked me for praying for them and said, “We couldn’t have gotten this message from you at a better time.” I’ve often wondered if they recognized my name from the second letter and if that was what made them respond.
This was a pretty simple story. I reached out into the void because I had a nonsensical feeling in my heart but for them, it was important. That is one of my favorite types of stories. In loving God with my heart, He often loves and helps other people around me.
Another time, I had an experience where the last thought in my head before bed was this random “knowing” that I was going to run into a specific person the next day – someone I knew was coming into town but had never met. I ended up running into that person at the park and we talked a bit. He was in town screening one of his movies. We became friends on Facebook and I messaged him a few months later to encourage him in his craft and in his ministry. It was a long message but I felt strongly, spiritually led to send it. He responded saying that the message came at a time when he felt like what he was doing was monotonous and routine. Sometimes, he thought about giving up but he said, “Your reminder sparked something in me that I believe came from the Holy Spirit.” He’s continued pursuing his craft and ended up working with some really impressive people in the music and movie industry.
I know there are times I encourage people and it’s just a nice addition to their day but there are these other times where, on the other end of my words is a life and death situation for somebody else. Sometimes, I try to pray a little more seriously and listen a bit harder so I can hear something specific for someone. In those moments, I feel God is working.
And I’ve seen people do spirit-led ministry wrong and seen them do it so right… no different than watching someone work a piece of new technology. Sometimes we don’t understand it and we push the wrong buttons and nothing happens and we say it’s broken. Other times, people give it a go and they gradually figure out how praying and worship and prophecy and healing works and they grow to lead amazing ministries that change the world, one person at a time.
Then sometimes, it doesn’t “work” and we don’t know why but that’s okay because in the times we have “done it right” it is so powerful and so worth it that we keep pushing through to understand this thing… this marvel… the Holy Spirit and what it means to worship in Spirit and in truth and that is investing your heart. That is loving God with the part of you that feels it even when you don’t understand.
What I sense physically isn’t always enough for me. Sometimes, I have to listen past what I am actually seeing and hearing and allow the light in my heart to guide me. That looks quite messy at first because it is usually an illogical choice but in the end, intuition and discernment have proved to be blessings not curses. The end always justifies the pain it took to get me there. That is why I am less afraid to trust God when things look a little crazy. I know in my heart, He has put assurance there, that it’ll all work out and He hasn’t failed me yet.
 The original statement read, “I think we’ve gotten quite lazy with it.” which I don’t agree with anymore. It implies people aren’t trying hard enough. That’s not necessarily true.