If you are like me, you have heard stories or parables that make your heart burn, yet your mind struggles to comprehend how to apply it or to live in the substance of that parable that you just heard. The substance that comes from the story is us experiencing the Spirit of God depositing a truth in seed form in order that we can grow that seed into a mighty tree of understanding that we continually experience or eat from. It is a tree of life. But the knowledge (experiential) of this seed will rarely come from rationalistic or humanistic understanding because it is to come from trusting God. It is eating from the tree of life and not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which only uses reason based on appearances but it has no substance. You should see now why it is so essential for to renew our minds so we can eat from the right tree and protect the seeds that are given from it by Holy Spirit. We lean not on our own understanding because we need our understanding to be merged and led by God.
Many of us long for more of God and more understanding of His dynamic and endless ways of beauty, power and restoration in our lives and in the world. This is best done through a friendship with God that grows in the understanding that flows from hearing His voice in experiencing the substance of what He teaches. But what do we do with what we hear? How do we apply it, especially if our minds cannot quite comprehend what He is showing us? Here are some simple keys to help us grow in understanding and steward what God says.
Bill Johnson has said that God wants to give us revelations and experiences of Heaven that have no earthly parallel. He goes on to talk about Nicodemus in John 3 and how Jesus was trying to use natural illustrations to teach him heavenly things but Nicodemus could not understand them. Jesus obviously used natural illustrations to help people understand because he knew if people could start understanding these seeds of revelation, they could move on to stewarding the experience of their understanding in their life, IF their heart was able to receive and steward its seed. So the key point I want to highlight is using natural understanding to help people gain heavenly understanding. Jesus did not ignore natural understanding, he just knew that if you can’t understand heavenly parables and prophetic pictures in the natural, you will hardly ever understand reality.
This is very important. So many amazing people are being raised up in our day who speak prophetically, symbolically and through parables, yet many do not understand them. Many will often say, “Can you just please teach me plainly or be straightforward”, but often times these people are not able to handle the truth. Their heart is not in a place to hear and receive the full force of what is being said. “You can’t handle the truth”, just popped into my head, which is probably from a movie I have never watched but let’s go with that.
Handling the Truth
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15
Part of the reason it is hard for people to hear truth straightforward is because it is an overkill to their current system of reasoning and understanding. It is too much to handle at one time. It is like their system being plugged into a socket whose voltage is not metered and is much more powerful than their current operating system can handle, which fries their system. Now, let’s get it straight, that system is often meant to be fried and done away with so God can upload a new system of understanding but to do it so abruptly is just too much for many to handle and so they run from anything that powerful and try to protect a small voltage output (small thinking) as to not be harmed by the consequences of such a radical transformation. Hence, this is why we see the beautiful and poetic stories and parables that originate in God through people to help bring us slowly along in the process of transformation so we can truly be changed. This is also a beautiful process to God who cares more about the relationship on the journey to transformation then just blowing you up without any relational value to Him.
So here then is our key. When God uses earthly understanding in parable form to speak to heavenly realities, He is inviting us to enter into a reality that is far superior to the initial thought of the parable. He is inviting us to move on from that picture and into the substance of what it was pointing to so we can experience the truth He is presenting. This is why it is so important to grow in rightly handling the words God speaks to us. I have not always done this well but again the process is beautiful when we keep it relational with God as our Father and we “practice” (Matt 7:24 NIV) what we hear. We are His kids and He loves to help us ride that bike without training wheels regardless of how long it takes.
So the next time you see, hear or receive a parable from God through Him directly or through others, take the time to meditate upon that truth until the substance of it becomes the experience you steward in life. Sometimes it can be all too exciting as your heart burns with the initial revelation but then we don’t steward the word to move into the experience of it. We do not correctly handle the word that leads to heavenly understanding. And this is where friendship with God comes in. Are we more excited that we sometimes hear him or are we both excited to hear him and practice what He says? The former is a very dysfunctional and immature relationship and the latter is a healthy relationship by both parties.
In closing, may you simply see the power of hearing God’s voice, whether He speaks through a dream, a picture in your mind, audibly, through you conscience, through another person, through an angel, through creation, through a donkey, through a book etc., and may you take the time to dialogue with Him as to be one who stewards and handles His words correctly in order to experience the fullness of life with your Creator. And if you fall off your bike a thousand times in the process of learning, our Father is always there to pick us up again and help us to balance His words with His momentum and our choices to ride in the path He directs.
Lean not on your own understanding and He will combine your understanding with His to lead you into a fuller experience of His abundant life. As you steward this, He will then lead you into places where your current understanding could never go on its own. Here then is the relationship with a God who wants to do beyond what you ask or think and so he tells you stories you know as to show you stories you have never dreamed of but can now experience.
Some of us need an overhaul and some need upgrade. I will often take both.