How to have a spiritual experience?

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Noah1201
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How to have a spiritual experience?

#1

Post by Noah1201 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:07 am

Well? Christian apologists like William Lane Craig often talk about how the "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" is the best evidence for the truth of Christianity. He says that all you have to do is read the New Testament with an open mind. Yet, I've done just that and never experienced anything.

(Maybe I'm not among God's elect, eh?)

Furthermore, I would like to know if, and how Christian experiences are different than the experiences of individuals practicing other religions.

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

#2

Post by jlay » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:43 am

This is an oft asked question. Especially today in the midst of all the 'experiential' promotion in the Charasmatic movement.

People are wanting some sort of sensational mountaintop experience to confirm their belief, or even validate a reason to believe. And please keep in mind that I am such a person who has had such experiences. I did not seek the experience. Not in the least.

Experiences are fleeting. The happen, then they are gone. So, if the believer is placing emphasis on experiences, then what happens when they don't happen. Having experiences is different than experiencing a Christian life.
Every attempt I've ever had to seek out an experience has been met with frustration. There have been times where I have sincerely sought the Lord in prayer for guidance I have experienced confirmation. Some subtle and some more profound. But never was seeking an experience rewarded. And I thank God for that. I know people whose whole Christian life is based on chasing the next spiritual high. They go to these conferences where music is played for hours. They sway, rock back and forth, and I've even seen people convulse and spasm. They go on and on about what a great experience it was. But I'm wondering, for what purpose? So you can talk about what a great expereince it was? I'm not saying that there aren't genuine moments in any of this, as I have had my own expereinces. I just know that there is much that is nothing more than self-centered people seeking some Jesus of their own making. A Jesus who will send tingles up their spine.

Here is an article that is very much on the non-sensory. I am not quite so opposed to the experience, but more so opposed to the methods and focus that it receives today, by many so called bible beleiving Christians.
http://www.faithalone.org/news/y1993/93march3.html

The Bible speaks of spiritual things being spiritually discerned. Well, the Bible is a spiritual book. Sure, it's black words and a white page. But if you have believed God's word, then you have in fact experienced Him. If you are trusting what is revealed in the written word you are experiencing Him. If you are reading the word into your life, and ingesting it for the purpose of it personally guiding your thoughts and actions, then you are experiencing God.
The carnal person will not experience this, because they will never take the word truth. Be doers of the Word.

The Word of God is living and active, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. The written Word we have today does contain and convey the truth of God for the believer. Just reading the Word I have had times where it was almost as if God had opened my eyes to some truth that was always there, but I was unable through my own intellect to comprehend. The living Word is the only one who can truly open one's mind to the written word. I don't want an experience. I want to experience the truth of God's word in my life every moment.

Remember, I am not talking about an experience. I am talking about continually experiencing the Christian life. Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." John 14:23-24
So what teaching do we need to obey? First, we need to trust and beleive what His word teaches about Himself. John 5:24

I'm not talking about emotional highs, and that stuff. I'm talking about knowing this Christ who saved me. The realities of His life, death and resurrection becoming the reality of my life. And more so each day. Is the Christian life occassional visits to a building to hear a sermon? How many Christians 'go' to church because they think that is where God is. Or do we assemble to bring the body of Christ together? Is it a place or a time? Or, is it continual? I'm not saying that this is the measure of salvation. But I am saying it is the potential of salvation. The Christian does not have to settle for less.

You bring up another good point. It's also important to note that there are false witnesses. I've known people who are convinced that psychic readings, Oigui boards, astrology etc. are genuine spiritual witnesses. There are experiences that can deceive.

WLC is obviously a brilliant man. But I am always amazed at what brilliant people will say sometimes. What does he mean all you need to do is read the NT with an open mind? Is that even possible? Does Jesus say, you need to have an open mind, or an obedient mind? Would you recommend a 10 year old just sit down and read the entire NT? As a teacher of 10 year olds, I can promise that it would create more questions than it would answer. Don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraging bible reading. But is that the solution? Was the NT even written to just sit down and read straight through? Not in my opinon.

My advice. Do NOT seek experiences. Do not put your trust in the emotional and the sensational. God wants you to renew your mind, not tickle your fancy. Blessings.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

#3

Post by Gman » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:34 pm

Noah1201 wrote:Well? Christian apologists like William Lane Craig often talk about how the "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" is the best evidence for the truth of Christianity. He says that all you have to do is read the New Testament with an open mind. Yet, I've done just that and never experienced anything.

(Maybe I'm not among God's elect, eh?)

Furthermore, I would like to know if, and how Christian experiences are different than the experiences of individuals practicing other religions.
I can't explain it for everybody but for me it has to do with an inner heart inner voice thing.

A LOT of it has to do with sin which clouds the connection to God. So how do you get closer clearer connections to God? First, kill off the inner sin man in your life. Kill or repent of sin in your life. Pornography, evil temptations, lust of the flesh, love of money, etc.. Next, pray to God in the spirit... Renewing your mind.

Anyways, that is what worked for me... It's like breaking out of an old shell and morphing into a butterfly. y@};-

It's a purification process... That will require some sacrifice. But please remember that people will come to God in their own way too sometimes.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

#4

Post by Gman » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:44 pm

Noah,

This discussion might help..

A Guide For New Christians

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 22&t=34335
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

#5

Post by Noah1201 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:08 pm

Gman wrote: A LOT of it has to do with sin which clouds the connection to God. So how do you get closer clearer connections to God? First, kill off the inner sin man in your life. Kill or repent of sin in your life. Pornography, evil temptations, lust of the flesh, love of money, etc.. Next, pray to God in the spirit... Renewing your mind.
But, see, if all of this is required, then such "experiences" could never serve to convert someone to Christianity. And that's precisely the opposite of what these apologists argue.

Thank you, jlay, for the long response. I basically also think such feelings shouldn't be given much weight. But I can't completely rule them out yet. Alvin Plantinga and some other apologists devoted entire books defending this kind of epistemology.

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

#6

Post by Gman » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:44 pm

Noah1201 wrote:
Gman wrote: A LOT of it has to do with sin which clouds the connection to God. So how do you get closer clearer connections to God? First, kill off the inner sin man in your life. Kill or repent of sin in your life. Pornography, evil temptations, lust of the flesh, love of money, etc.. Next, pray to God in the spirit... Renewing your mind.
But, see, if all of this is required, then such "experiences" could never serve to convert someone to Christianity. And that's precisely the opposite of what these apologists argue.
I thought the question was how to have a spiritual experience? As far as comings to God, everyone come to God differently. Some need more facts, some via love, some science, etc... It just depends on the individual.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

#7

Post by Short1 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:38 pm

As discussed some above, I think a perfect definition of 'spiritual experience' is one that shapes your mindset. Nevermind having a spiritual encounter with God or the Holy Spirit. He will grant those when you are ready.

I recently had several amazing experiences come from God and completely reaffirm my faith. The sad thing is, I've slipped back into a less active Christian again.. I'm not living with a fire to change and do good. So now I need to reseek God and find Him in my life, not for the spiritual high, but for the satisfaction of life that I find from living for God. God can give you great things (speaking in tongues, a wash of forgiveness, amazing answered prayers) but He ultimately wants you to step out and do the Christian thing. Help others, pray a bit and start talking to Him about how you feel. (even about doubts) Do the little things and your faith will grow. God gives you everything you need.

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

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Post by drakengold » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:24 pm

I had thought I had spiritual experiences before, when my spine tingles, and I thought I received signs from God. The messages were His telling me He exists, and to no longer seek His signs. But I always disobeyed and sought more signs. It led to me becoming psychotic, and I had to take medications. I now conclude that delusions of receiving signs of God can't be discerned from real spiritual experiences. Now, everytime I receive "spiritual" experiences, I contribute them to being delusions. It had shattered my faith in God, because everytime I believed in God, I think it's just part of my delusions. I've read that people who had spiritual experiences, their brains are similiar to mentally ill people's brains, the same sites in their brains are activated. I still sometimes seek God's presence, but His existence seems to be just my imagination. Once, I had a very lucid dream where God spoke to me in my dreams. He said He was in the bible, and that I should've known all these times. And I awoke feeling rejuvenated in my faith, but I then realized it was just a dream. If God wanted to speak to me, wouldn't He do so while I'm awake? So how legitimate are spiritual experiences, when they are no different then imaginary thoughts?

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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

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Post by neo-x » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:51 pm

had thought I had spiritual experiences before, when my spine tingles, and I thought I received signs from God. The messages were His telling me He exists, and to no longer seek His signs. But I always disobeyed and sought more signs. It led to me becoming psychotic, and I had to take medications. I now conclude that delusions of receiving signs of God can't be discerned from real spiritual experiences. Now, everytime I receive "spiritual" experiences, I contribute them to being delusions. It had shattered my faith in God, because everytime I believed in God, I think it's just part of my delusions. I've read that people who had spiritual experiences, their brains are similiar to mentally ill people's brains, the same sites in their brains are activated. I still sometimes seek God's presence, but His existence seems to be just my imagination. Once, I had a very lucid dream where God spoke to me in my dreams. He said He was in the bible, and that I should've known all these times. And I awoke feeling rejuvenated in my faith, but I then realized it was just a dream. If God wanted to speak to me, wouldn't He do so while I'm awake? So how legitimate are spiritual experiences, when they are no different then imaginary thoughts?
I have had almost similar experience, in fact I was once at the brink of being an atheist. my belief in the existence of God had evaporated. i used to read the bible for hours trying to fight the doubts in me.

You need to let go the idea that there is a God whose signs you need. that is the problem. Jesus spoke about people wanting signs. Do not seek signs. I have never had a sign from God, does that make me less of a believer , no. The manifestation of the spirit doesn't have to be physical. you don't need to "feel" something up your spine or in your body for that matter to know God loves you. you are not the only one who doesn't feel much. but don't let it ruin your faith. faith is not based on feeling or even what you see. read about Christians like John Huss, Martin Luther, John Bunyan and a host of others. they never saw any signs or had spiritual manifestation of tongues and visions yet they were some of the most powerful figures in Christian history. and believe me, science doesn't understand brain and brain's disorders that much to conclude anything. Brain science is still under a lot of discovery and development. When you seek God, don't look for signs, but start acting on love, on the commands of Jesus. start acting like Jesus commanded us to be. because whoever obeys God, God dwells in him. that is more than enough for me. try it. there are so many scriptures on this that you can rejuvenate your faith just by believing and not wanting to see. and you will see with time.
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Re: How to have a spiritual experience?

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Post by Rascus » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:06 pm

I too have found the same answer as jlay....though Iv'e only had two of these experiences....both of them came when they were least expected, and also both of them came at what seemed like the lowest times times my life. And it was not like I was seeking proof of God or anything like that as I knew as I do now that He is within my heart and life. Both times it was just like the Lord was telling me that all was well in spite of what I was going thru and like He wanted to give me that Spiritual touch that only comes thru the Holy Spirit. That's about the best way I know how to explain the Spiritual Experience! Hope that helps a bit.

Rascus

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