Making disciples involved helping new believers learn how God speaks to us. Discipleship involves helping other people learn to hear God’s voice. In order to do this, we need to remember that God is a person.

Like any other person, God can choose to speak (or not speak) to us about His thoughts, feelings and expectations for our lives. Let me tell you a story to explain what I mean by that. A few years ago, I sat down with a Christian to help him improve his relationship with God.

My strategy was for the two of us to sit down together and take turns reading the Bible, one chapter at a time. We would take one chapter at a time, and stay with that one chapter until my friend understood the information written in that chapter. As soon as my friend was able to explain the text correctly, I would tell him the reason you understand it now is because God just spoke to you and told you what it means.

This is what a healthy and well balanced Christian Mysticism looks like: we sit down with a copy of the Bible and practice reading it, while anticipating the moment God will reward our efforts by explaining what it means to us.

The Bible shows us an example of this in Matthew, chapter 16 verse 17 which says this: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”

So this Bible passage shows us that the Church leaders within the first generation of the Church understood God approaches us through the mind (instead of going around it). When we decide to approach God the way God intended, there are some things you will have in common with everyone else who has come to God on God’s terms.

Now, I want to show you what those common things are. So here is the first one.

#1. The Bible is the Word of God.

This is the application of the Doctrine of the Word of God, which simply means when God wants to explain Himself to us, he prefers to use words. This is more important than you may realize at first. You see, God is a spirit, and spirits have two options available to them when they want to interact with people.

The first option is to speak to our minds, and the second option is to influence our feelings. So the question becomes this: does God communicate to people intellectually or emotionally? In Hebrews, chapter 11 the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God…but is this faith based on information or emotion?

Does God interact with people through facts or feelings?

The Church has chosen to believe God interacts with people on the basis of information, although there have been times in the past when Church leaders have chosen feelings as being the more reliable path…we can talk about that at another time.

So what happens when we decide to base our faith in God on information?

The first result is that we begin to celebrate the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who base their faith in God on their feelings will not examine carefully or correctly anything the Bible says about Jesus Christ because they depend on personal introspection to guide them to the truth.

To state it simply, there have been mystics who believed they encountered God because of an emotional reaction they had during a process of self examination. The Bible offers a completely different path to reach God., although there have been “Christians in name only” who do not follow the Bible’s instructions.

In 2 Timothy, chapter 3 verses 15 through 17, when we let the Bible speak for itself we discover “the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

In opposition to this, there have been mystics who try to become wise for salvation through faith in them selves, they try to put themselves up on Jesus’ level through private devotional times and personal introspection, and consider their efforts a success when their efforts produce an emotional response.

The Church has found this kind of method to be counterproductive. This kind of mysticism holds us back from having a real encounter with God. The Church prefers to listen to the Canon of Scripture, which I want to share with you next time.

(to be continued…)