Enlightenment

<<inner illumination>>

Receiving Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord is the ultimate in spiritual enlightenment because Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world” (Jn 8:12; 9:5). When we surrender to Him, He sends the Holy Spirit to live within our spirits so what was dead inside comes to life, what was dark becomes light (Jn 5:24; Rom 6:13, 8:10; 1 Cor 6:19).

The term spiritual enlightenment is often associated with humanistic philosophy, New Age beliefs and eastern mysticism, with its roots in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. These are just some of the counterfeit, dead-end routes devised in an attempt to connect with a perceived higher deity. "There is a way that seems right, but in the end it leads to death" (Prov 14:12). Yet God has already deposited an inner awareness of Himself within humanity (Eccl 3:11). As the supreme  power over all He gives purpose to His creation, however through sinful and rebellious independence  humanity consistently rejects the only valid way (Rom 1:19,20). Satan has propagated the false concept that there are many paths to God, yet the reality is we can only connect to the ultimate divine being, through Jesus. All other approaches are false religions, regardless of the devotion of the adherents, and instead of pointing towards God, they lead away in deception (Ex 20:3; Isa 45:5; Jn 14:6; Act 4:12). Christianity has at its centre a heart-to-heart friendship with the God of the universe. Aim to encounter Jesus rather than just have an awareness of truth, as desirable as that is. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, and from that solid foundation we can know Jesus who is the truth (Jn 16:13).

As spiritual enlightenment comes from outside sources, it must only be sought from God-approved sources and through methods that lead to really knowing Him. Such a connection will influence and change us inwardly, then be evidenced in our lifestyle. We come to know God and truth through His Word, and living a life guided by the Holy Spirit (Jn 17:17; Gal 5:16,25). He wants to be discovered by us, so that we can respond to Him as Saviour. When we obey Him, we will acquire wisdom as our faith and understanding grows (Ps 128:1; Prov 2:6, 9:10; Jer 29:13; Rom 10:9; 2 Pet 3:18). To know God and align our will with His is the ultimate goal of human existence, so the more we know Jesus the more enlightened we are, while any other path only leads to darkness (Jn 1:4,5). 

Paul prayed that the people’s hearts would be enlightened to grasp the riches of their salvation (Eph 1:18-23). As glorious and far ranging as they are our focus should always be on the one who made this possible – Jesus, the giver and central component of life, and God the Father, for “This is

     Do I know about God (with my mind) or do              I know Him personally (with my heart)?

eternal life that they might know you” (Jn 6:63, 17:3; Act 17:25; Rom 8:2,10; Heb 1:3). Teaching about God is good, but to have the intimacy of relationship, knowing Him is the ultimate goal. The religious leaders of Jesus day diligently studied the Scriptures, but misunderstood their intent so failed to have any relationship with Him wherein real life is found (Jn 5:39,40).

Even in the church today while there is an abundance of good teaching giving the theory there is a scarcity of God-honouring practice.  God wants to do for us much more than we are currently realise and experience, for Christianity is largely devoid of the power that Jesus exhibited and which He said should accompany our lives (Mk 16:17,18; Jn 14:12). Do I fall into the same trap as the Jewish leaders – having an academic appreciation of Christianity without an ongoing vital connection to the One who they refer to?

See also: awareness, insight, knowing God, knowledge, philosophy.

 


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