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Living on a Spiritual High

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2023 12:00 am

Living on a Spiritual High

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 6, 2023 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley lists out the biblical characteristics of a genuine encounter with God.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, February 6. Have you ever had a mountaintop experience where you come away feeling energized and closer to the Lord?

What should you do in response? Let's spend some time in Luke 9 to know how to benefit from living on a spiritual high. Now, following that, the Scripture says that Jesus took those three men, Peter, James, and John, left the rest of them down in the valley up into a high mountain to pray. He was praying. And as he was praying, the Scripture says his countenance changed. Now, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this with some, each one adds their own insights as the Spirit gave them utterance here. And Matthew says his very face shone like the sun. And he says here his countenance was altered. And his raiment was white and glistening.

That means it wasn't just bright, but it was glistening like sun upon shields or reflecting upon swords. There was a vibration of the life in our Lord. And the word transfigured here means that the inner character of our Lord began to be revealed in his outer garments and his outer being. They suddenly saw the Lord Jesus Christ in his glory, his dazzling, radiant, majestic glory. Here were three men who knew him as a dusty itinerant preacher, knew him as a teacher, knew him as the one who claimed to be the Messiah, saw him as a preacher, son of a carpenter from Nazareth. All of a sudden, here as he knelt to pray, they saw him in the majesty of the Son of God. They saw him as the one who would come again. They saw him as they never dreamed they would see him upon earth.

And then they saw two other men talking with him. Now, the Bible doesn't tell us how they knew that this was Elijah or Moses, except that God revealed it to them. But here in all of his dazzling, majestic beauty and radiance and all the holiness of our Lord, here Elijah and Moses come to minister and to talk with him. But as they spoke, the scripture says that Peter, after they had disappeared, or as the cloud began to move in, Peter said, Lord, let's build us a tabernacle now and just stay right here. And if you notice what the scripture says about what Peter said here in verse 33, it's so typical of him. He said, Lord, let's build three tabernacles, one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elijah, not knowing what he said. Now, that's not an uncommon thing for Peter.

He was always saying something that either didn't fit or didn't understand what he was saying. And so the scripture says, as he was speaking, a cloud just moved in on them and just covered them. And of course, they were frightened. In Matthew's account, it says they were terribly frightened.

And then the cloud just disappeared. And there stood the Lord Jesus Christ. And Matthew's account says he touched them, told them not to be afraid. Then he said to them, don't tell anyone, you must not tell anyone what you have seen or what you've heard. And then what I want you to notice, and it seems that it has nothing to do with that, but it has a great deal to do with it. In verse 37, it came to pass that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met them.

Now I want you to watch that. Now I want us to see for just a moment, here is a tremendous spiritual experience for these men. I want you to place yourself, if you can recall the last time God really did something in your heart.

And I don't want to imply by this now that you've got to have some transfiguration experience. But I mean the times either in prayer or in the worship service or when God does something to you very specifically and personally, when your heart is just lifted up. And you get just a fresh new insight into God. And you just feel that you could just whip the world and Satan has no entrance into your life. And God is just doing something wonderful and everything is right.

All of us would like to stay there, but we cannot. God does not intend for us to stay on highs. There is a purpose for these tremendous spiritual experiences that God gives us. Now I want to show you something in this passage that I think will be very helpful to you if you will get it down. And let's go back through the passage and make application to each of these seven points.

Number one, and I want you to get these down. When God gives us these spiritual experiences, whatever they may be, the first thing I want you to notice is this. We will not always understand what God is doing. In other words, when God lifts you and opens your heart and shows you something about himself sometime, you'll not always understand what God is doing. Now Peter, James and John didn't really understand what was happening. They just knew that all of a sudden they were seeing the Lord as they'd never seen him before. And of all the people in the world, here was Moses, here was Elijah speaking to him and they were scared to death.

The only thing they knew is it was so glorious, so tremendous, they felt so close to God, so close to heaven, they just didn't want it to stop. Now that's a natural feeling and we really can't accuse Peter or be unkind in our criticism of him because you and I would have wanted the same thing. But sometime, remember this now, when God begins to work in your life, sometime you won't really understand exactly what he's up to. Don't try to figure God's next move out in your life.

Don't try to figure it out. Just absorb him, just listen carefully, but don't try to figure it out. The second thing, it is possible to miss what he wants to do for you. Even when God gets you in the right place to listen to the right thing, to do something to your life, it is possible to miss it. Now if you remember in the Garden of Gethsemane when our Lord was coming to the cross the next morning, here the disciples were, the apostles. He took Peter, James and John with just a little bit further and the whole crowd was dead fast asleep at the most crucial time in the life of our Lord.

Now I want you to listen carefully. My friend, you can come to this church Sunday after Sunday and you can sit here and listen, God speaks through his word. If you sit here on Sunday morning and you're thinking about what you're going to eat for lunch, if you're going to get in the front of the line of the cafeteria or if what you wore is acceptable or what somebody else is wearing or what you're going to do tomorrow, you can sit here and God may want to say something to change your life and revolutionize your home and you will have missed it sitting right here in the presence of God. And you see, people sleep, people become lethargic, people want a life of ease, they get their minds on the world and sometime when God puts us in a place to change our life, to revolutionize our whole future, to change our whole perspective, to do something to us or to our family, to the business, whatever it might be, we are not there mentally, we are not there emotionally, we may be there physically but we miss the very thing God wants to say to us. And that's why I say to you, when you come, come with an open ear, with an open heart, an open mind, an open spirit available for God to speak. He's saying something to your heart that will make a difference not only now but the way you live. And I can think of some places that I've been, some things that I've heard, I think, Lord, suppose I hadn't been there, suppose I hadn't been listening, suppose that had passed me by, suppose my heart had not been intent upon what he was saying.

Some of the things that have changed my life, decisions that have altered my whole course have been passing things that were said that God put a bracket around them, put quotation marks on them, underlined it ten times, sitting right there in a seat or a pew, nobody knew what was going on but me. You see, it is very important that we not miss what God wants to say to us. The third thing I want you to notice, God takes us up into the mountain or he gives us these high spiritual experiences or these mountaintop experiences, these tremendous lifts in our spirit in order, number three, to reveal to us something about himself.

Now I'll tell you how you can check out a spiritual experience whether it is counterfeit or not. Friend, any spiritual experience that magnifies the experience or some other activity or action but does not magnify the Lord and does not focus our attention upon him, you have a right to be very, very careful about that experience. You see, when God lifts us up, he's always going to lift us to focus our attention upon him. And listen, the reason our Lord opens our heart and our spirits and gives us these little glimpses of himself, he gives them in order that you and I might perceive and adopt and absorb into our very being those thoughts and those attitudes, those understandings that will keep us in the future. God wants to say something to you that will make a difference in your life. Do you think Peter, James, and John are ever the same?

Never the same. Even when the bottom dropped out, the week of the crucifixion, God does those things in our life in order to do what? Strengthen us, build us up, and motivate us for him. But if you miss it, and I hear people say so often, well, you know, God's never done thus and so in my life. I've never heard God speak. God's never lifted me on any high.

He's never done all these things. Could it be because you wouldn't go up the mountain in the first place? Could it be because you were too busy doing something else? God couldn't get you quiet enough. Could it be that your eyes were so open, looking at everything else in the world, you couldn't close them long enough for God to unveil himself? You see, our concept of God that he's way up there and we're down here and none of the twain shall meet is not scriptural. God wants to visit his people constantly in intimacy through the Lord Jesus Christ. Next thing I want you to notice, there's some things, the fourth thing, there's some things that God will share in those lifted moments we're not to share with anyone else.

He told those apostles, he said, you must not tell this to anyone else. There's some things you cannot share. Now, once in a while when God gives somebody a tremendous spiritual blessing of some sort, and they get to blowing steam, well, let me tell you what God did for me. Let me tell you about my last experience. Listen, we ought not ever repeat what God has done for us in private without God's permission.

And I'll tell you why. Because when you begin to share it, Satan will tempt you and try you, and he will harass you at the point of which you begin to confess strength or some supernatural experience with God. He will trip you up at the very place God intended to strengthen you and build you. So he said to those apostles, and Luke says it in this way, that they kept these things very close. He said they were not to tell anyone about them.

They were to keep them unto themselves until the right time. There's some things we are not to share until God gives us permission to share them. The next thing I want you to notice is this, that when we have those spiritual experiences, there is a desire to hold on to it. We want to keep the emotional feeling. We want to keep the spiritual feeling. We want to keep the, shall I say, the outward sense of blessing that we've had.

But now remember this, that's as natural and normal as it can be. But God does not want us to live on yesterday's high. Just like he's not going to allow us to live on yesterday's praying. God does not intend for us to live on an emotional experience. He does not intend for us to even live on a spiritual experience.

He intends for us to live by faith in him alone minus feelings. That does not mean you'll not have a feeling. It does not mean that you'll not have a tremendous, oftentimes a tremendous sense of awe at the presence of the Lord. But you see, he doesn't want us depending upon those things and people who have to go back to say, well, back there's where I had this tremendous experience and I know it's real because that's where it happened.

But listen, is it not true that you and I ought to be continuously being lifted up? Doesn't mean every day necessarily. There's some days you'll get down to pray and you'll pray with all of your heart and you don't necessarily feel anything supernatural. God's there just as much those days as he is the days when you think God just took you to the door of heaven and almost carried you through. But you see, he never intends for us to live on spiritual experiences. He intends for us to live on dependence in him because each one of those has their purpose. God has a definite purpose each time he lifts us up to unveil himself to us in a very fresh and new way.

But don't try to live on yesterday's experience. The next thing I want you to notice is this. These high spiritual experiences on the mountaintops, their primary purpose is to prepare us for the valley. You see, that's why we can't stay up there. First of all, he never intended for us to stay up there.

These tremendous lifts we have are for the purpose of preparing us for the valley. Now, this is why I read that verse that didn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of that particular paragraph, verse 37. It came to pass that on the next day, and more than likely this happened at nighttime, when they were come down from the hill, many people met him. And you remember the story. When they came down from the hill, they met four things between Matthew, Mark and Luke.

You can put them all together. Here they were up there with the Lord Jesus Christ, Moses and Elijah, of all of the opportunities in the world to be able to see Moses and to be able to see Elijah, to be able to see the great Lord giver, to be able to see the great prophet, to be able to see them with their own eyes and be in their very presence and feel the presence of God as no one had ever been able to feel it. Well, they would never want to leave that place, but God gives us the high experiences in order to prepare us for the low times. Now, listen, life isn't lived on a mountain peak.

Life is lived on the mountain peak, on the dusty, empty plains and in the deep, dark valleys of life. The reason he gives us the spiritual experiences he does is not just to keep us floating around up here in some ethereal, counterfeit spiritual relationship, but God knows we're going to have to get back in the valley, back with the common mundane things of life. When you and I come on Sunday, God does not intend for us to stay on some spiritual high and just sort of drift through from one Sunday to the next Sunday. He intends for us to go to our office on Monday morning, wherever we may work, with the knit and the grit and the grind and the sin and the wickedness and the hell all about us, and he intends for us, having been strengthened by the word of God, to stand like giants and to make an impression upon the world in which we live down in the valley, not living up on the mountaintop.

Peter said, let's just stay here. Why can't we stay right where we are? Because that's not the purpose of a spiritual high. When God lifts us up, he strengthens us, he undergirds us, he blesses us, he lifts us, he unveils himself to us in a very fresh and new way. He does that in order that your life and my life will be far more effective when we start doing the mundane, commonplace things on Monday morning.

He doesn't give us those highs to stay there. The last thing I want you to notice, don't ever forget this, what you hear on the mountaintop, obey in the valley. And if you won't ever forget that, friend, God will relieve you of more heartache and trouble than anything in the world. Whatever you hear on the mountaintop, you obey him in the valley. It's beautiful how he says it and he says it in just one Greek word, verse 35, and there came a voice out of the clouds saying, this is my beloved son, hear him. And the word is the connotation, hear him and obey him.

Listen, why does God give us those spiritual highs? To unveil himself to us in a fresh new way, prepare us for the valley experience and to do what? In order that we might know how to obey him, when we get in the valley, the bottom drops out and everything around us falls apart.

He says what? Look back and remember, what did God teach you there? Now listen, whatever he teaches you on the mountain, he's going to try it in the valley. Whatever he teaches you in the mountain, he's going to try it in the valley. He's not going to teach you anything. He's not going to unveil himself to you in any way that he doesn't try and test you later on.

If you don't learn it then, what's he going to do? He's going to test you again. And he's going to keep on testing until the teaching that is tested becomes a triumph in your life and you get the victory at that point. Whatever he teaches us in our prayer closet, whatever he teaches us at a time of great worship, whatever he teaches us in times of deep devotion to him, all alone, listening and quietly, intimately conversing with him, he will always test what he teaches us in private.

He's going to test it in public. What he teaches us in the mountaintop, he's going to test in the valley. What he says on the mountain, we are to be obedient when we get in the valley. You see, we can live on a spiritual high. Not an escape route, but what? A personal encounter with Jesus Christ our Lord whereby we are continuously growing in intimacy to him, continuously being motivated to serve him with all of our heart, and giving of ourselves without reservation for his work and to his glory and in the process growing up in Jesus Christ our Lord. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-06 02:25:59 / 2023-02-06 02:34:36 / 9

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