Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to See God

My wife and I were driving in the car the other day, and we were talking about heaven. She was remembering our parents and others who have died. She wondered out loud what heaven is like for them. I blurted out, “I feel like I am in heaven now.” “I know you do,” she replied, “but you aren’t normal.”

Actually she said it much nicer than that, but that is what it came down to. I realize that my spiritual experience isn’t typical. That is why I do not usually say things like this out loud. You get funny looks. But my wife is used to my peculiarities. She knows I am not normal.

I see heaven all around.  “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” as Jesus was fond of saying. The Kingdom of Heaven is where God is, and God is everywhere. God is here now. I would go so far as to say that I see God. (But I don’t go around saying that either. I do not want people to think I am out of my mind.)

But the apostle John said, “No one has seen God at any time.” God told Moses "No man can see me and live!" Yet Scripture also says that Jacob saw God. The patriarch exclaims, “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” It says of Moses: “the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”

In his last letter, the apostle John implies that it is normal to see God. He suggests that the only prerequisite for seeing God is not doing evil. That is not too high of a standard.  “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Let me make it clear. I do not consider myself any more pure than anyone else. But I believe that God has given me a new heart. That is what the prophet Ezekiel said. (Of course, he was a pretty crazy guy too!) “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.” This new heart is pure.

The apostle Paul says we have been given a new nature, which he calls “the new man.” He says we are a new creation, a new creature in Christ. He says that we have the mind of Christ. Surely the mind of Christ can see God! To see God all we have to do is abide in the mind of Christ. That requires being “out of our minds” a little bit.

Scripture makes it clear that our hearts have been sanctified by Christ. We are “pure of heart” when seen from God’s perspective.  Purity of heart is not something we achieve though moral or religious efforts; it is the gift of God.

Therefore Jesus is not saying that only the goody-goodies see God. God-sightedness is not just for the spiritual superheroes, those who never have an impure thought. To see God, all we have to do is look in that pure place where God dwells.

God dwells as Spirit in the holy of holies, the inner sanctuary of the human soul. In our heart of hearts, our true self constantly beholds the face of God. Pure heart sees pure God. Just take a look and see God for yourself. But be careful who you tell.

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