I confessed all this jumble of spiritual ambition that didn’t seem focused on Jesus, such as wanting spiritual knowledge or ability just for the significance of it. I had to pour all that out and settle back into the one thing- Jesus Himself and His plan for my life.
Jesus helped me to draw out these thoughts like tangled skeins of yarn. Some of the thoughts and ambitions were good, but they needed to be handed over and untangled, and some were not bad, but they had no foundation- I just wanted something for its own sake.
To be honest, this feeling in me was a little like when my brothers and I were young, and we’d dump out the large container of lego blocks on the living room floor. As soon as they were dumped, we’d begin a mad, breathless race to sort through the pile and claim all the best pieces for ourselves. There were several coveted pieces that were unique.
It’s not that having spiritual gifts or abilities is bad, but it’s that wanting them for the sake of having them, or taking my eyes off Jesus and wanting the gifts more- it just doesn’t seem like that would end well for me, and just to start down that path leaves me feeling wobbly and anxious.
Recently, I came across this verse and it stuck with me. I had to look it up under many different versions and ponder it and it remains in the back of my mind. I think this is because it’s important for me to remember right now:
“Are there some wise and understanding men among you? Then your lives will be an example of the humility that is born of true wisdom. But if your heart is full of rivalry and bitter jealousy, then do not boast of your wisdom—don’t deny the truth that you must recognize in your inmost heart. You may acquire a certain superficial wisdom, but it does not come from God—it comes from this world, from your own lower nature, even from the devil. For wherever you find jealousy and rivalry you also find disharmony and all other kinds of evil.
“The wisdom that comes from God is first utterly pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of tolerant thoughts and kindly actions, with no breath of favoritism or hint of hypocrisy. And the wise are peace-makers who go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness—in other people and in themselves.”
-James 3:13-18, Phillips
May God in His mercy preserve our hearts from selfish ambition and instead pour into our hearts the pure, peace-loving and gentle wisdom from above! Let us be go on kindly and gently sowing seeds of peace that will grow up into a harvest of righteousness to the glory and pleasure of Abba, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus never makes me feel badly whenever I need to unburden myself to Him, and He never makes me feel badly when He gently untangles me. Jesus is consistently comforting, calm and clear.
“You alone are my Rock and my Salvation, my fortress where I cannot be shaken,” I told Him, feeling so much better.
Released and sorted through, I turned to the rest of the room and opened my arms.
“Holy Spirit, show me whatever symbol You wish to show me,” I said joyfully. “I will learn.”
Again, I saw a pillar. “Oh, is it a pillar again?” I asked, but I settled myself in to looking at it. I saw how it was set strongly and firmly upon a square stone base. It was fluted and symmetrical and lovely. “How strongly it is set there,” I remarked. It gave me a feeling of security and peace just looking at it.
Suddenly it came over me that Abba was there- that I had a Father not just in name, but in truth. I went flying to Him where He sat on the throne, and threw my arms around His neck and pressed my cheek to His, and poured out my love and gratitude to Him.
The knowledge that Abba loved me, that He had always loved me and would always love me and that His heart was always open to me, and that He is safe, present and reliable, was filling me to overflowing. My heart rejoiced that I had found Him, that I knew this about Abba. I felt His love and delight in me.
Then He stood and it seemed as though Abba were towering over me, but I was not afraid. “My goodness, You are full of strength!” I cried, delighted. I thought to myself with delight, “My Father is overflowing with vitality and strength and ability and clarity of sight! How wonderful and reassuring and beautiful this is!”
I saw a window set into the wall on the other side of the throne room. “Oh, a window!” I cried in delight. “And it is different from before. Holy Spirit, show it to me however You wish.”
It was elegantly shaped, with a kind of architecture that formed a point at the top, with a sturdy, flat windowsill at the bottom. It was just at my height.
I went to it and leaned my forearms on the windowsill and looked out. Air was flowing in, fresh and cool. Outside, I could faintly see a jumble of what looked like buildings built into a hillside that slopped downward, and beyond that, I saw what looked like fields.
“Oh, are You growing something?” I asked Jesus and Abba, who were also looked out with a quiet pleasure.
The fields are white for harvest, Jesus said. This phrase echoed in me, and I repeated it slowly to myself, thinking about it, “The fields are white for harvest.”
I knew Jesus had said that to His disciples after He had told the Samaritan woman that He was the Christ, and she had gone running into the village, leaving her water pot behind, saying, “Come, see a Man who told me all that I ever did. Could He be the Christ?” (John 3:29)
Then I remembered this: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)
And I remembered how Jesus had said this: “But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors [a]so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but [b]considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.
“So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these]. (Luke 6:35-36, Amplified)
“I love that about You very much,” I told Abba. I turned to look at Him, sitting down in the window as I did. For a moment, I wondered how I dared to speak to Abba, but then I remembered He was my Father.
"A Father always has time to listen to His daughter, because He loves her," I said aloud.
Always, Abba assured me, His voice full of love.
“So I will open my heart to you and dare to tell You honestly that I could not love You so well if Your heart were not like it is- Your heart which is filled with tender mercies- sympathetic, tender, responsive and compassionate, unwilling that any should be lost. I throw my will in with Yours; I do not want any to be lost. I agree with You. I want this as well. How could my joy be full if any were? I don’t see how it could be.”
Then Jesus and I were kneeling on the ground before the open window, looking out into it. I turned to Him and my heart was filled with love for Jesus, and worship and adoration came rising up out of me, naturally and inevitably, as a spring bubbles up from the ground. I poured out my adoration to Jesus, and then returned to my senses, in a manner of speaking.
We stood and I looked at the inside of the throne room. It was quiet, full of peace. I remembered being there before, when it was glittering and golden and full of persons, and I knew that in one sense, they were still there because they are always there, but were now hidden from my sight, and I accepted this.
“I’m sorry about before,” I said to Jesus, thinking of how I had been reluctant to greet that rather powerful person that I had not been able to see very well.
He understood, Jesus assured me, lovingly.
We went walking slowly, peacefully through the apparently empty space toward the double doors. “I remember that from before,” I said to Jesus.
We stepped through the doors and stood on the porch that was there. Stairs lead down from this porch. Before, it had been quite difficult to see what lay beyond the porch and the stairs, and I could remember how it had appeared before- as a vast, white courtyard with buildings that looked like watch towers at the gates. Part of the problem before was that I had kept wanting things to make sense as though it were literal.
But this time, I opened my arms and released my expectations and said to the Holy Spirit, “Show it to me however You wish! I will see it however You show it to me.”
And I saw a river of blue water that was flowing down from the sky, or through the sky and toward the gate, but also it seemed to be flowing from under the temple and out from the stairs and toward the gate.
The two views did not seem contradictory, although naturally speaking, they would be. It was as though in essence both the river above and the river below were two symbols of one thing. But it was the river above that drew me, because it was beautiful and mysterious.
“There is a river coming out of the sky,” I said to the Holy Spirit, to speak to Him what I was seeing. Though it filled me with awe, I felt nothing but peace.
I saw that there were two ancient, strong trees that were growing, one on either side of the stairs. Their roots were growing down through the large paving stones, moving them somewhat by the strength of the roots, but no one minded this, because the trees were beloved. I could see how the roots went deep, deep through the stones, gripping tight to them. There was great strength in these trees. It created an organic beauty of its own.
I saw the tops of the trees, with the large branches growing out and then I was delighted to see that birds were sleeping in them.
“Look!” I cried to Jesus in delight, because I love that parable of His. “Birds of the air are resting in the branches!”
I saw then how green vines and growing things had grown up the stair rail and also the outside of the temple, covering it with living green and it was very beautiful.
“You have brought Paradise inside the courtyard!” I said to Jesus. It was as though the courtyard had now become a garden.
I turned and opened the door into the throne room and inside it was cool and lovely, full of a reverent hush, with the light filtering through the green vines that were growing about the windows.
“It is so quiet in here,” I said to Jesus in pleasure. “And I can hear some water dripping somewhere…” It was a faint and lovely sound, the sound of quiet water dripping down.
I went inside, because I knew it was my home, though it was a deeply still and holy place. I looked toward the far end of the throne room, where before there had been a door. There was still a door.
“It doesn’t have to look like that,” I said to the Holy Spirit, humbly. “I will accept however and whatever You wish to show me.”
But it still was a door, though this time it appeared in the same architecture as the window, so I walked with Jesus to the door and opened it. Just as before, I saw a veranda that was open on the right side to a view of a hillside sloping away down, and on the left was a stone wall with doors.
“Is it the same as before then?” I asked Jesus, and in reply, I saw with greater clarity the first door. “This is where people wait on Abba,” I said to Jesus, and hesitated, because before, I had not gone in that room. But smiling and peaceful, He gestured that I should open the door and go in, so I did.
The first thing I saw was a square window through which a beam of light was falling. There was no one in the room right then, but there was a couch facing a fireplace. It looked like a study. After a moment of looking, I remembered that this was a symbol of something.
“There is a fireplace,” I said to Jesus, musingly. “What does the fireplace mean?”
The answer lit up inside me without words, but I repeated the lesson out loud- “That’s warmth of the love of Abba,” I said. “Those that are waiting on Abba might need to stay warm while they wait, because waiting is difficult. Also, there are books,” I said, as I saw them on the shelves. “They will stay warm in His love and will learn as they wait,” I said, putting the lesson into words.
I left that room and went to the next door. “This is the storeroom of gold,” I said to Jesus, confident about this one, because of the earlier lessons. I opened the door. Inside, there was a square window as in the room before, and inside there was gold, but this time instead of being heaped in piles, it was sorted and laid out on shelves.
The shelves were utilitarian, with metal brackets and not very attractive and I didn’t like it at first, but it remained that way, so I accepted and looked closer at the gold objects laid out on the shelving. They were like pieces of jewelry each with a little string attached to it, with a tag on the end of the string.
“The gold is love,” I said to Jesus, remembering from before. “It is Abba’s treasure and He keeps it always. But now it is all labeled and laid out.”
Though I considered this, I was not told why they were laid out that way, and accepted that it was not for me to know. I went to the next room- the third room.
“This is for intercessory prayer,” I said to Jesus, feeling uncertain about opening this door. It seemed a very personal and holy thing.
What is intercessory prayer? Jesus asked me.
“It means to stand in the gap for someone or something,” I replied, after a moment of considering. “Do You ever pray that way?” I asked Jesus, wondering this on the spur of the moment and He looked at me with His laughing eyes and I burst out laughing. “Oh my goodness! Your whole life is an intercession!” I declared, remembering this.
Jesus gestured that I should open the door, so I did. There was a person inside as before, but they were kneeling on a padded kneeler like in old fashioned churches, and they knelt before a narrow desk, like a monk. Above the desk, fastened to the wall, was a mirror.
“Why is there a mirror?” I asked, and received the answer immediately, without words. “The mirror is so they can see into their hearts as they pray,” I said aloud.
Then I left that room and went out onto the veranda with Jesus. I was uncertain what to do next, but I saw that the veranda went around a corner and there was like a back staircase down to a level stretch of grass. This was inviting and peaceful looking, so I went down there was Jesus.
This stretch of grass was fenced and beyond the railing was a drop and from there, I could see the city built into the hillside. It was hazy with light and drenched with peace. Kneeling on the grass, I leaned my arms on the railing and my chin on my arms and simply watched it for a while. It seemed as though each house had a garden and I thought of this passage:
“He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.”
I saw going down from the lawn was another set of stairs into a small wooded area, so I thought I would go down there with Jesus, but I was becoming physically quite tired and so I wanted then simply to go home to the inner room. Jesus picked me up in His arms and was carrying me and I fell asleep.
When I woke in the night, the first thing I remembered was regret that I hadn’t spent any time with Jesus. In my spirit, I reached out my arms to Him. “I didn’t get to spend any time with You!” I cried out.
Jesus was close to me and He reminded me without words of all that I had seen with Him and I was filled with wonder to remember it, but inner sight did not open up again to me, so I remembered what is always true.
What is always true? Jesus often asks me, lovingly.
"What is always true is that I live in You and You live in me, and my life is hidden with You in God and nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in You. I am born of Your spirit and You are my life and I am as close to You as flesh and blood."
No matter what I see or do not see and no matter how my emotions fall or rise, that is always true.
“This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.
All gifts except love will be superseded one day.
For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are tongues the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete.”
-I Corinthians 13:4-10, Phillips
We love Him because He first loved us.
-I John 4:19