Why Are You Having A
Difficult Time Understanding Spiritual Ideas?
During my college days I spent a lot of time interacting with other college guys from the different state schools. I would purposely engage them in conversations about God and their relationship to him. I talked to so many that I noticed a pattern among those who seemed totally cold towards the things of Christ. I quickly realized that many of these young men were spiritually tone deaf toward God. So I started to challenge them.
"You know, I think you're heart is so hardened to the things of God that you're incapable of responding to the Lord."
Some would take that as a challenge and say, "Will, I could if I wanted to."
"But do you want to?" I would ask.
"No. Not really."
"See? You just proved my point. You're incapable of responding to God."
Of course, my approach was really an attempt to bait these guys, hoping that I could motivate them to take a more serious look more deeply inside of their own heads. If they could only grasp the hopelessness of their current attitude, they might want to change directions away from their self-destructive lives.
There's a New Testament passage which illuminates why my evaluation of what was going on inside of these guy's minds was fairly accurate. Romans 8:7 says: "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." (Romans 8:7 NASB)
The verse right before the one quoted above says: "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6 NASB). That verse is essentially saying that when you let your sinful nature control your mind it will lead to your spiritual death. But if you let the Spirit control your mind it will produce a life filled with peace.
So you may find it difficult to understand some of things that I'll share with you on this website. Why? Let me use another passage to emphasize this point: "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (or understood)." (1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB)
The message of God as it is revealed in the Bible is often the exact opposite of what your brain is telling you. You've likely been conditioned for so long that the Bible is just a book of fairy tales, that it may be difficult for you to really pay attention to any quotes from it. And you might find yourself dismissing it as foolishness before you even have a chance to hear what it's really saying. So a true message doesn't connect with your heart, because you're incapable of hearing it.
Can you imagine someone reading a poem who has no concept of what poetry is all about? If he doesn't read it probably, perhaps running all of the words and phrases together as if it was meant to be read like a regular prose article, then he would simply miss much of the message. If you don't understand things like symbolism, double meanings, or the beauty found in poetic imagery, he would only have scratched the surface of what he's reading.
In the same way, the message and the words of God must be understood on a spiritual level. If you try to understand them simply on a rational or intellectual level, you may find yourself lost in a maze that has no exit.
So if you really want to understand the true meaning of God's Word, you'll need his help to reveal what God is really saying. Just ask him to give you insight into his message. That way you will be much more likely to grasp the meaning of the Bible. He promised to answer those who seek him, especially if you do it with your whole heart.
I've found that one of the secrets to really connecting with God is to permit my heart to feel the message. Sometimes I'll read something in God's book with a little more clarity and my heart will be stirred. When that happens, my emotions often rise up and I know that I'm connecting with the passage and with God more clearly. Try that for yourself.
Allow yourself to FEEL what God is saying, not just hear it. When you think about who you are inside, and how far you may be from what God wants to give you, it can become a very emotional experience that is also quite fulfilling. And you just might find that you will be able to break through the wall that you have erected inside of your heart that is keeping you from responding to the truth of God.