Tag Archives: Jeanne Guyon

Opening to New Experiences (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 9)

Summer Water Drop WaLP tangledwing

“Do not measure yourself by how much road you have covered thus far; rather measure with your eyes set on how much more there is in front of you.” (Jeanne Guyon wrote this to her cousin François Fénelon)

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about things that influence our spiritual depth: a sense of wonder, widening the parameters of what we believe, letting go of the familiar, assessing the actual “spiritual” nature of our faith as opposed to “soulish,” etc. Here I’d like to propose that…

To go deeper in God we have to be open to new experiences with God.

Fear is not a good reason to stay in the shallow end of your faith. Remember how you feared to even try the water at first? Thank God you overcame your fear and took the risk. Now I encourage you to venture out into deeper water and let the Spirit teach you how to swim. Continue reading

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Widening our Doctrinal Definitions (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 7) 

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“Theological reflection is a pilgrimage in which change should be celebrated, not feared.” Clark Pinnock

We’ve been talking about deepening our walk with the Almighty, and certain attitudes we must cultivate if we want to explore “the deep things of God.” (See at the bottom of this post links to previous ones on the subject.) Here’s my next recommendation to that end:

To go deeper we have to be willing to expand our doctrinal definitions

I realize that considering making revisions about what they believe is frightening for some people. For many, their entire relationship with him is wrapped around their doctrinal statement, that list of irreducible minimum beliefs that identify them as “true Christians.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are non-negotiables in our faith, and I wouldn’t think of trying to wrest any of them out of your white-knuckle grip. I’m not recommending that you toss everything out and start over. What I propose is that if you haven’t ventured into deeper waters for quite a while, you might want to take a fresh look at the width, if not the length, of the things you believe. Is it possible that your list of givens is too short or too long or too narrow or too wide to take you to a more profound place in Jesus?

Could it be that what you believe is fundamentally correct in and of itself, yet you’re not flexible enough in your thinking to tweak it if the Spirit were to bring fresh revelation to light? If the very thought of adjusting your theology makes you hyperventilate, you probably suffer from a fixation, if not a mild addiction, to the strictures of your spiritual beliefs. If you wish to have a more profound experience with him, you might do well to ask yourself if you love your beliefs about God more than you love God! Continue reading

Too Deep To Cross (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 4)

Going-Deep

“Knowing by faith that He is present to you and realizing the utter hopelessness of trying to think intelligibly about this immense reality and all that it can mean, you relax in a simple contemplative gaze that keeps your attention peacefully aware of Him hidden somewhere in this deep cloud into which you also feel yourself drawn to enter.” Thomas Merton

  • In Part 1 “He’s Not Here” we looked at how easy it is to forget what Jesus says, especially when we didn’t hear or want to hear it in the first place.
  • In Part 2 “Who Is That Masked Man?” we reviewed the conversation two men had with Jesus, bemoaning how Jesus was nowhere to be found, and how the first prerequisite for deeper revelation is that we actually want
  • In Part 3 “Half Seeing” we talked about the inadequacy of a one-touch salvation our need to have our eyes opened wider so that we can see clearer.

Someone asked me what prompted me to write about this theme. If I’m honest, in some ways I’m sad about the glib expression of faith that I perceive in many of my contemporaries. Though I fear having judgmental spirit towards anyone, what I fear more are the consequences of a shallow spirituality going unchecked. We have so much more to get and so much more to give to emerging generations.

The Psalmist prayed: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71) Many of us are positioned to declare his power, when all we have are old testimonies of the good old days. We have the opportunity to invite someone younger to climb onto our shoulders so they can see further than we can and do more for Jesus than we could ever do. They deserve to inherit a deeper faith from us, yet many of us suffer from a “hardening of our categories,” and can’t seem to learn anything new or experience God in fresh ways.   Continue reading

Half Seeing (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 3)

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We’ve been talking about the relative depth of our walk with Jesus and how we might––no, must––find a way to go deeper in him.

  • In Part 1 “He’s Not Here” we looked at how easy it is to forget what Jesus says, especially when we didn’t hear or want to hear it in the first place.
  • In Part 2 “Who Is That Masked Man?” we reviewed the conversation two men had with Jesus, bemoaning how Jesus was nowhere to be found, and how the first prerequisite for deeper revelation is that we actually want

Speaking of actually wanting more revelation, God has ways of increasing our want. One of those ways is found in one of Jesus’ stranger miracles.

When he had spit on the (blind) man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:22-26

Pretty weird, right? And I’m not just talking about the “spitting” part. The thing that interests me most is that this is the only one of his miracles that required his second touch to finish it. Continue reading

He is not here; he has risen! (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 1)

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“If you were to fall into the sea, and were that sea infinite, you would fall from one depth to another for all eternity. This is how it is with the Christian who is continuously abiding in him. He is sinking with inconceivable swiftness to the most inward depths of God.” Jeanne Guyon

“Put out into deep water…” Luke 5:4

No one plans to be a shallow Christian. But it does take some forethought and action to be a deeper one. Deep spirituality doesn’t happen by default.

Some people are shallow in their walk with God simply because they didn’t realize that the form of faith that was modeled to them and into which they were invited was shallow from the start. Superficiality is all they know, all they’ve been exposed to.

Others were blessed with a better beginning and were on a trajectory to dive progressively deeper into the mystery of who God is, but somewhere along the line they got waylaid and took a detour into a decidedly thin version of Christianity. Their faith became increasingly trivial. They read the Bible, pray, go to church most Sundays, give offerings, and even help other people when they get a chance; but their spirituality is more superficial than not. Continue reading