In Monday night’s Disciple I class the subject was ‘wonder’ and the topic of mysticism came up. I was pressed on the issue and confessed to being ‘mystic’. Today both of my online devotionals address the issue. I sent out a note to all the members to explain something more about contemporary Christian mysticism. As Adrian Rogers’ “Love Worth Finding” devotional today said, it’s really all about how much do you know God? How much do you want to know God? And as an Upper Room published book entitled “Six Twentieth Century Mystics” points out, the six individuals biographed there (Glenn Clark, Peter Marshall, Frank Laubach, Rufus Jones, Albert Schweitzer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer) all derived the power of their spirituality from prayer and the systematic study of the Bible. There’s no mystery, secrets, or special endowment that characterizes the state of being that is called ‘mysticism’. It is about experiential relationship and a commitment to close communion with Christ.
Today at various times I had thoughts that brought me full face with the fact that, according to my own understanding of the spirit of the Ten Commandments, as taught by Jesus, I am at any moment on the verge of total depravity, guilty in essence of such sins as lying, stealing, even murder. Some people laughed when President Jimmy Carter confessed that he had lusted in his heart and was, therefore, guilty of adultery. Some of us have been confronted with the condition of our own hearts in such a way that we know exactly what he was talking about. As I was listening to a radio program I heard someone talking about being ready for our heavenly reward and seeking it. I’m afraid I’m all too familiar with the reality of my heart’s condition and its selfishness so that, like Mark Lowry (Christian comedic musician) I too feel that “ANYTHING short of burning in hell will be a blessing!” I don’t expect any reward. Just the mercy of God to spare me the torment of hell for eternity will be enough! Thankfully, I have that assurance, so any reward that God might see fit to grant me will be a serendipity. I don’t serve for reward. I don’t obey for reward. I don’t give for reward. Those acts of piety come as a result of thankfulness for the very precious privilege of being His own by virtue of the cross of Christ. Is that humility, false or otherwise? I don’t think so. Just a sober and honest assessment of my own heart as a result of asking God to show me my sins that I might be kept in repentance and not take Him or His blessings for granted.
Back to the topic of ‘wonder’……. Every day it is a wonder to me that God loves me (and every other part of His creation!) so much that He would come in the person of Jesus Christ to die to redeem it, so that the debt for sin could be paid once and for all. To be able to see in the world the movement toward that time when all men will know and see Him as now only some of us do, is a privilege. I thank God that He is so obviously at work in the world in which I live!