To Know That Which Surpasses Knowledge

Good morning. It is Friday, October 9, 2015. Three days until our 30th anniversary!

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is tumescent. This adjective means, “pompous and pretentious, especially in the use of language; bombastic,” “swelling; slightly tumid,” or, “exhibiting or affected with many ideas or emotions; teeming.”

Today is World Post Day, celebrating an industry that is, apparently, being kept alive solely by junk mail.

Only one more sleep until we fly to Cancun, and drive (or be driven, rather) to Playa del Carmen. We have a lot to do tonight, as we begin packing for our five day trip. We have our seats claimed on both flights, and have had some contact with the hotel/resort in Playa. We are very excited about this trip.

I will not promise any blog entries after this morning, though. We plan to leave the house at 7:45, tomorrow morning, so we will be getting up around 6:00-ish. Whether I do a blog entry tomorrow, depends on how much time we have after finishing packing and getting ready. I don’t know what the wi-fi scenario will be at our hotel, so I don’t know if there will be daily updates from there. I will have my laptop with me, though. I play to take lots of pictures, which will be shared, even if they have to wait until we get back home, next Wednesday.

To make this even better, I have arranged to get off work at 3:30, this afternoon.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

Be not silent, O God of my praise!
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues.
They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer.
So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin!
May his days be few; may another take his office!
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow!
May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children!
May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!
For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones!
May it be like a garment that he wraps around him, like a belt that he puts on every day!
May this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD, of those who speak evil against my life!

Psalm 109:1-20

I must confess that I have always struggled with this Psalm and others like it. I’m not sure if it’s in there to show us David’s humanity, or to tell us, “Hey, it’s okay to pray for horrible things to happen to your enemies.” Since this kind of prayer doesn’t seem to line up with what Jesus said, in regard to our enemies, I have to lean toward the illustration that David was human, and had emotions that sometimes got the best of him.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

As we continue looking at this idea of experience, the words “inner being” get tossed around a bit. What does that mean? Paul prays for the Ephesians, in chapter 3, verse 16, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Keller says, “It is the same thing as the heart, the center of both our personal consciousness and our most fundamental faith commitments.” It is where “the truths we know about Jesus with our mind can fail to register.”

We need to Holy Spirit to create within us a “spiritual sensitivity to gospel truth.” This is what Paul is praying for in Ephesians, as he continues in verses 17ff, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Where the ESV says “comprehend,” the NIV uses the word “grasp.” It is more than just believing. It is getting “a secure hold on something.”

Keller uses an analogy of photography. Once upon a time, cameras used this thing called “film.” It was chemically treated to make it sensitive to light. When the camera shutter opened, it let in light, bouncing off of the object being photographed. The film then “grasped” the image of the object, and, when processed properly, a photograph was produced. If the film wasn’t properly treated, the image would not be captured.

In the same way, our “inner being” needs a sort of “chemical treatment” by the Holy Spirit, in order to prepare us to “grasp” the truths that God gives us. Otherwise, they will make no real difference in our lives.

Jonathan Edwards expresses this idea in his sermon, “A Divine and Supernatural Light.” In this sermon, he uses the analogy of honey. There are, he says, two different ways to know that honey is sweet. One is that we can hear about it, and know it, rationally. We have heard from people, or we have read facts, and, therefore, with our minds, we know that honey is sweet.

But then, one day, we taste it. Now we know, experientially, that honey is sweet. Before, we could say, “I knew but I didn’t know.” In the same way, Edwards, concludes, “there is a difference between having an opinion that God is holy and gracious, and having a sense of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and graciousness on the heart.”

This all sounds rather complicated, but really isn’t. When we seek the face of God, we are seeking experience that will embed itself onto our hearts (“inner being”), which have been properly prepared by the Holy Spirit. When this happens, our lives are changed.

Father, I pray, along with Paul, that I, and my brothers and sisters in Christ, will grasp, or comprehend, these truths that you give us, especially this knowledge of the “breadth and length and height and depth” of the “love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” May your Holy Spirit work in our inner beings to prepare us to take hold of these truths and change our lives.

I pray for this day, that our travel to and from work will be safe. May our work day be honoring to you, and may we display your Kingdom to those around us. I pray for our preparations tonight, that we can get everything done that needs to be done. May our trip be safe, relaxing, and fun, Lord, and may we be refreshed, both individually, as well as a married couple, as we spend these next five days celebrating what you have put together in us. Take care of our close family while we are away.

Come, Lord Jesus!

How is it possible to know something that “surpasses knowledge?” Only by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Grace and peace, friends.

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