Against my own will, our priest, Father Mike, wants me to give up blogging for a week along with reading other than scripture, to work on listening and conversing with Jesus. He said this after praying over me in regard to a specific matter involving spiritual warfare.
I don’t agree, but since he is our spiritual leader, I have to submit to his authority as one submitting to Jesus. Blogging is simply what I do; I’ve been doing it daily for years and years. I would never do this on my own. The way God speaks to me is significantly through my blogging. But to be in prolonged silence is also quite valuable. I know that by experience, and I also know that I can do better in that area.
As for conversing with Jesus, I am a bit of a skeptic on that. I certainly believe the Lord speaks to me and I to him on a regular basis. And I believe God wants to speak to us directly for the edification of others in the church (1 Corinthians 14). I am much convinced of God speaking through his word and with the use of our minds along with our feelings in fellowship with others in the faith. I’m not much impressed personally with those who make a big deal out of kind of what I might call a chummy experience with God, as if God is their Buddy and they have such a deep intimacy with him that the rest of us might only dream of. I have to admit to being unimpressed with that, even uninterested, because I just don’t see much substance in that based on scripture. Not that we should be anti-mystics, because our faith is mystical, even though it is also historical and physical, in a true flesh and blood Jesus who bodily rose from the dead. At the same time, I don’t want to judge people like that, not even their experience, as long as they remain true to the faith. And the genuineness of their experience does not depend on my awareness or approval of it.
In the end it doesn’t matter whether or not I agree, because what Father Mike says is not at all contrary to God’s will as revealed in scripture. It goes without saying to me, but I will say it because I know it to be true, that Father Mike is solid himself in faith, in the word and in intimacy with Jesus. He prayed and prophesied over me, and I felt God’s presence, power and release in Jesus. I am certainly not questioning his own walk. And I must not question the authority God has given him in and through Jesus by the gospel. And so I will submit.
The two passages which drive this decision (along with the rest of the teaching in the New Testament, particularly concerning the church), the second being the one the Lord impressed on me when making the change to join this Anglican church plant:
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
And so, the Lord willing, I’ll be back in a week. Maybe even with a report that surprises me. Though no report when it comes to being in silence before the Lord really surprises me at all.