Sunday, May 27, 2012


A full-time Christian worker, Aiden sometimes struggled with discouragement and light depression. Most of the time it didn’t interfere with his day-to-day life, but on occasion it hit him hard. When someone Aiden had led to Christ refused to meet with him and dropped out of the fellowship, he went into a severe two-week funk. He avoided people and spent increasing time sleeping.

Aiden had learned to discipline himself to have a daily quiet time and memorize Scripture. He was in a Bible study and a prayer group, as well as in meaningful Christian fellowship. He had a great ministry to others. But he couldn’t crawl out of this pit of despair.
Psalm 51:6 tells us of God’s desire that truth would grip us in our very core: Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom (nasb). Our human tendency is to allow the world system that’s shaped by the enemy (see Ephesians 2:2) and our carnal nature (see Galatians 5:16-25) to squeeze us into fraudulent ways of thinking about God, truth, life, ourselves, and many other important areas of life.  God’s desire and goal is profound inner renovation. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This is the divine prescription to bring about an inner metamorphosis (the N.T. Greek word for transformation) deep within us.(See "Renew Me" video).

This is why Jesus promised, If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure.  Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you (John 8:32 msg). There were numerous things Jesus wanted to transmit to His disciples that they weren’t yet ready to receive. This is why He promised to send the very Spirit of truth to indwell them: I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you (John 16:12-14 nasb).

In John 7:38 and 39, Jesus had already promised to supernaturally send His Spirit to indwell His followers. One astounding feature of this pledge was that He would reside in the innermost being (the very same place where God desires truth to reside from Psalm 51:6).  The incredibly brilliant and breathing taking genius of God’s plan is that at the exact moment when one of His followers would be ready to hear and listen, His indwelling Spirit would speak Transformational Truth into the specific place in the heart where deceitful speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God resided. Our listening cooperation with the indwelling presence of God would thus facilitate the process of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).  

Hallelujah! It's not up to us to somehow transform and change ourselves, as if by an act of heroic willpower we could somehow take these thoughts captive and destroy the fortresses of the enemy. Instead, just like our salvation, it is something that God does in us as we, by faith, surrender to His inner probings. Or as 2 Corinthians 10:3 and 4 eloquently explains, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Remember Aiden from the beginning of this post. He’s a great example of what we’ve been looking at in this post.

Aiden had read about inner-healing prayer. Weary of the heavy discouragement dragging him down, he decided to set aside Saturday morning to spend time with God. As he settled in and tried to quiet his mind, he felt skeptical that God would “show up” and take the time to help him.

“Jesus,” he said awkwardly, “what are the underlying roots behind my depression?” At first nothing happened, but he resisted the urge to give up. As he waited in silence, he was surprised by the thoughts that entered his mind. A feeling of not being good enough swept over him, coupled with a sense of self-loathing.

Aiden asked the Lord to take him back in time. “When did this feeling of not being good enough begin?” he asked. He wasn’t taken to a specific memory but to a pattern in his upbringing. His parents had never intended to wound him, but they were so busy — either working to give Aiden a better life or involved in church activities — that they rarely spent time with him. They gave him money and things, but the only times of communication seemed to revolve around his need for correction.

“Lord Jesus, what did I come to believe growing up?” Aiden asked. He was surprised that a tear formed in his eye at the thought that he must not be worth very much. Then a sentence popped into his mind: “If I were a different kind of son, my parents would’ve spent more time with me.” He sat in this painful realization for what seemed an eternity.

Aiden mustered up the strength to ask Jesus what He had to say about all this. Again, not much happened at first, but then he sensed Jesus communicate, “It’s not your fault.” It was as though light penetrated the darkness in Aiden’s heart. “You’re My son and I’m proud of you — you belong to Me!” At this, tears of joy overwhelmed him.
The desired end result of listening and inner-healing prayer is not necessarily happiness and greater fulfillment in life (although these may be wonderful by-products). The overarching goals of hearing deeply from God and inner healing, as I see it, are fourfold:
1.    Profound experiential intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e. epignosis instead of mere gnosis) <>
2.    Growth in genuine worship of God as He truly is (in Spirit and Truth). “True worship is open to God,adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark.” – N.T. Wright
3.    Becoming more like John. Development in seeing and experiencing myself as God sees and experiences me. This is similar to experiencing yourself as John did (the disciple whom Jesus loved: John 13:23)      <>
4.    Being more like Timothy. Being motivated relationally by a sincere and genuine concern for the welfare of others (Philippians 2:20).

The story of Aiden is quoted from A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer: Meeting God in the Broken Places, by Rusty Rustenbach, NavPress 2011, Pp 15-17.

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