Defeating this Snarly World
by Ron Susek ©Golden Quill Publications
What did John mean by in the Spirit? He was not in a trance or state of ecstasy. It is safe to conclude that he was deeply meditating on God's word, something we, like David of old, should do daily. In other words, his heart and mind were focused on God, lifting John's heart and mind beyond his unjust imprisonment.
I described John's situation as snarly because the word means to growl, to bear one's teeth, to speak harshly and to twist something into hopeless knots. Virtually every day you will experience snarly forces attempting to entangle your life.
Something incredible happens, however, when you abandon this snarly world and prayerfully enter God's word in search of heart-to-heart fellowship with Him. John described it as being in the Spirit. This obviously suggests more than quickly reading a one page devotional before racing into the snarls of life.
When you are fully focused on God (i.e. in the Spirit), no devil can overpower you, no tribulation can defeat you; no rejection can discourage you, no impossibility can stop you and no calamity can stagger you.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned, "Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes-The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries."
When in the Spirit you see life through God's eyes. You enter full agreement with both His word and ways. You experience heartfelt worship. You pray in union with God.
Perhaps this is the deepest level of abiding addressed in John 14. And if God is ever going to whisper something to your heart, this will be the time.
For instance, when John was in the Spirit he found himself unexpectedly swept into the heavenly realms face-to-face with Jesus Christ. Jesus appeared different from the man John saw on earth. Jesus' countenance was ablaze. Overwhelmed, John fell down as dead. Jesus told him to rise, then, showed him the apocalyptic book of Revelation.
You will never receive new biblical revelation as did John. However, by taking time to be in the Spirit you will receive breathtaking insights in the Bible. Although you may be exiled to your own Isle of Patmos, your union with God will turn the mundane wondrous. You will be enabled to walk unhindered among the snarly people, snarly events and snarly pressures of this world.
Some days may require more time than others to disengage from this world and be in the Spirit, fully focus on God. Shutting this world is our part. Renewing us is God's part.
This is the secret of every man and woman who has impacted our snarly world with the reality of God. Likewise, this discipline will become your greatest contribution to your family and to our world.
Immanuel: God is with you!
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