THE INNER NARRATIVE
Theologians, mystical authors, devotional writers all share this common theme, when God speaks our inner reality is defined. Amma Sarah (4th century) called man, “a little world in himself,” and said that his inner life, “…contains all the elements which go to complete the universe.” If our inner life is a universe, then when God speaks the planets and stars take shape. His voice clarifies the rough edges of our interior.
As the nature of God is given clarity (as much as you can clarify a mystery, but more on that much later in this series) in the term Word, so it is natural to assume the one known as Word would resort to speaking in order to communicate. What else is a word but the expression of an inner thought? So Jesus, as the Word, is the expression of the Father (Hebrews 1:3).
IMPACT OF THE WORD ON THE INNER MAN
Maximos the Confessor, in the 7th century, found insight into the impact of the Word on the inner man through the metaphors used to describe the nature of God as Word. The images of door, way, gate, key, kingdom, light, life, resurrection, and truth convey something that would have tremendous impact on the inner life. Again, when God speaks, formation happens.
"The Word of God is called a door, indicating the path of the virtues to those who have trodden the irreproachable road of spiritual action; and opening into the realm of knowledge, it reveals as light the gleaming treasures of wisdom.”
The Word of God is known as a door because it is the entryway to the path of interior enlightenment of wisdom. Spiritual wisdom is generally known as an intuitive grasp of what to do in any given situation. The voice of God creates an inner path by which we understand how to conduct ourselves.
“…a key, since it opens to those who are worthy of Divine things the door to knowledge, which is opened up to them for understanding…”
The Word of God is known as a key because it opens us up the knowledge of Divine things. When God speaks, His voice awakens our inner life to the desperate need for more of His light.
“…it is a gate, since it admits…”
The Word of God is known as a gate because when God speaks it is an invitation into Divine converse.
“…it is called a kingdom, for they (the worthy) inherit it, wherein unto all it is given to participate in Him.”
The Word of God is called a kingdom because when God speaks it creates within us the inner reality of our inheritance, namely, the adoption as sons and daughters of the King.
“…It is called the light, for it shines in the soul and drives away the darkness of ignorance, enlightening the mind, so that it might understand secret things and reveal to the soul mysteries beyond this world and the senses, which mysteries are seen, through the eyes of the soul, only by those who are pure.”
When God speaks, His voice enlightens our thinking, enabling us to perceive the mystery of His nature. His voice brings purity to our heart in order to introduce us to His heart.
“(It) is called life, since it imparts to the souls of those who love the Lord the facility to function in the realm of Divine concepts.”
The Word of God, when carried deep within, enlivens us to function within Him. His voice increases our capacity to walk as He walked.
“It is also called the Resurrection, for it raises up the spiritual mind from dead efforts to attain material ambitions and preserves it in purity from the manifold ways of destruction and morbidity.”
The Word of God is called Resurrection because when God speaks, He restores the light of our life. Whereas absent His voice all our efforts and ambition lead us to pride and vanity, when He speaks we are brought into a semblance of His life.
“And lastly, the Word of God is called truth, since it bestows on the worthy the gift of steadfast and unyielding custom (doing good things), during that time when the soul is ascending upward from power to power and from glory to glory…”
When God speaks, perseverance is born deep in the soul to weather the storms that bring significant transformation. He gives us perspective and tenacity to tackle the challenge of life and become like Him.
Any conversation about the gift of prophecy has to begin with and stay rooted in the concept of hearing God speak. When the prophets of old prophesied, they were merely re-stating what they knew God to be saying. The function of prophesying was not to be divorced from knowing God but was to flow from this knowledge. As such, when we talk about prophecy, we must talk about the voice of God. And when we talk about the voice of God, we must talk about the effect His voice has on us personally, individually, and phenomenally.
The word prophet in the Greek is a compound word from pro (4253 – in front of) and phemi (5346 – to make known one’s thoughts). It literally means “to make known one’s thoughts in front of” someone. How do you make known someone else’s thoughts? By hearing them tell you their thoughts.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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