The Need for an Epiphany

Taken from https://www.bobleesays.com – Artist unknown

 

I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (Eph 1:16-19, KJ2000)

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word epiphany as:

(1)  an usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something

(2)  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking

(3)  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure

Oh, how we all need an epiphany on the spiritual reality of our high callings IN Christ Jesus! Many of us, like myself, are familiar with those wonderful scriptures in the New Testament that speak of our being called into a divine relationship with the Father and the Son and some of us think that because we know about it from reading the Bible or have an intellectual grasp of many of these related truths, we have already arrived. What a delusion this is! Can we also say with Paul that it has pleased the Father to reveal His Son not just to us, but IN us? In Christian circles we talk about having a “personal” relationship with Jesus, but just how personal has our discovery of Him been? I have experienced enough of Christ in a personal way to know that I have not arrived and that there is MORE yet to come. On this journey I have often tried to grasp onto something, a knowing or an event (or even a spiritual person), but this has only held me back as long as I refused to let go. Paul put it this way:

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:10-14, RSV)

I would like to share once again an excerpt from T. Austin-Sparks writings that helps explain what I am seeing. I am not a follower of Sparks, but I have not found any other writer that the Lord uses during this time of my life to confirm in me what He is saying as this dear saint’s writings have.

Spiritual illumination, therefore, is a basic thing to God’s end. We can never come to the fulness of Christ by the mere enquiry and investigation of our own brains into spiritual things. There must of necessity be the Holy Spirit giving revelation concerning Christ. The Testimony of Jesus has as its essential law: spiritual illumination and revelation – through the Word. The Testimony of Jesus can never be something static, something that you take up and say: “This is the Testimony of Jesus” and then put it into a formula. The Testimony of Jesus is something that has been revealed. The Testimony of Jesus is: “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Stephen died for that Testimony. “At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them that journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice…” The inner meaning of that is not something apart from the Word, but something that comes by the Holy Ghost through the Word. That is more than the letter; it is life. It is something that makes you say: I have read the Scriptures on that for a long time, but I have really never seen that before.

The Holy Spirit’s illumination concerning the church is a thing so difficult to explain to any who may not have experienced it. But to those who have seen it, it needs no explanation. It makes such a difference on all these matters. You will [may] be able to preach Ephesians, Colossians, Romans; preach all about the church as the Body of Christ; you may read it all in books, and still there may be no real expression of it. Then one day it is as though the heavens opened and the thing broke upon your spirit, and you saw it; and all kinds of adjustments became necessary in life. You can say, “I saw that the church was no denominational or national thing; I believed in the oneness of all believers…” yes, you can say all that! And yet there is something more. That something can only come by revelation. You can have the other, and it will just take you so far. But get that something more, and it will take you a long way ahead. It brings you into the realm of the conflict and cost, but you are out in an altogether new realm. It is necessary to God’s end.

It is one thing to say these things and point them out and emphasise them; you say: “How do you get it? We see what you mean, it is all quite clear, but we have not got it!” Well, if you really are of the undivided heart, if your heart is wholly set upon the Lord and you see as far as you can see these things, and have very definite dealings with the Lord about it; it may not be in a day, it may be slowly, steadily, quietly you begin to move into a new realm of understanding. And you find that your point of view changes; your standard of values changes; your insight changes. It may take months, but at the end of the time you say: “I am changed! Something has happened to me. I can no longer accept what I used to accept!” It may be like that, or it may come in a flash. How it comes does not matter very much, the fact is the importance of this thing – spiritual illumination. The apostle prayed that these to whom he wrote might have it. Let us pray that we might have it, and that all the Lord’s people might come into that (emphasis added). http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/002858.html

Dear Father, please shine the light of your Spirit into our hearts and draw us ever deeper into that light as you did with Stephen and Paul that we might not fall short of our high callings in your Son. Amen.

11 comments on “The Need for an Epiphany

  1. alan haungs says:

    His calling

    His inheritance

    His power

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen to this prayers of yours, Michael! ⭐

    I think our problem is that a real spiritual epiphany is never a man-made thing. Aren’t there many who try to make others believe they have ‘arrived’ yet in order to increase the number of their followers? In my view, it is not so much about our deep spiritual experiences that help us mature, it is more about faith and trust in God which we have attained as we would walk through dark valleys where we could not see nor feel anything that was pleasing to our old (!) nature. As God is more interested in our (God-given) new nature, we all of a sudden start to see, feel or hear ‘something’ whereas the old nature cannot do this any more as the carnal nature is dead to spiritual insinuation (see 1 Cor 2:14-15). The dark night, spirit vs. flesh, however we might call it. When the new nature arises out of the inward man, it is often so subtle that it can easily be ignored, like God’s gentle voice and His nudges at times. We need to get accustomed to this kind of seeing, feeling, and hearing in a long, but often times very adventurous process. 🙂

    I agree with TAS; it is not the same for everyone. Some people have many, deep experiences, others only one or two in their life, but most of the people might not know yet about what TAS spoke above. They hope and wait and pray for a revelation… but nothing seems to happen. 🙄 There are no obvious changes, no sudden manifestations, no light that blinds them and offers a view of heaven! Michael, I believe it is very frustrating for most of the Christians to NOT know God as they could if He manifested Himself to them. 😦 We can only pray like the apostle Paul did in these verses you put right at the outset of your blog post.

    Ephesians 1:16-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
    “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Great comment, Susanne. Please bear with me as I try and put what you shared in my own words.

      Paul wrote, “When it pleased God to reveal His Son in me.” It is up to God to give us divine revelation that we might have “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of HIM.” Paul prayed, “That I might know HIM.” We in western society go at everything to gain scholastic knowledge, but God would rather reveal His Son IN us, (not just have us fill our brains with facts about Jesus and His church) and THAT is true revelation. We cannot manufacture that. We can only pray that our Father would bring about the changes in our inner most beings that Christ might become Truth in us. This is what I mean by a life changing epiphany. God is looking for those who want His Son to be fully manifest in them as HE wills, no matter what the cost and how He brings that about is His business. One thing for sure is that it will most likely be painful and full of suffering. God told Ananias to speak to Paul after He had His vision on the Damascus road, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9:15-16, RSV). When we are given great things as His chosen instrument, suffering is part of the packange.

      The question is, “Will we renege on our longing for Christ to be revealed in us before the job is done?” Like you said, Susanne, the changes He works in us are often so subtle that we do not notice. It is said that a truly humble person does not know that they are humble. The more our old man is dead, the less he perceives, but all perception in the New Creation is from God’s viewpoint and the more that this happens the less we side with our flesh and the more we pray, “never the less, Father, let thy will be done.”

      Thank you for your loving encouragement as we walk this road together,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        One more thing, Susanne. This morning as I was praying for a better understanding of what the cross is in our lives, He led me to Galatians…

        But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. (Gal 6:14-15, RSV)

        For the first time I saw His cross standing between me and all that is of this world. It was like I was looking at the world and all its worldliness and worldly people through a small orifice that could not be passed through either by me or by them. I could see and understand them, but they could not understand me. Then this verse came to mind…

        Now he who is spiritual is, indeed, examining all, yet he is being examined by no one. For who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will be deducing from Him? Yet we have the mind of Christ. (1Cor 2:15-16, CLV)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Great insights, Michael! ⭐ Yes, this last Scripture I mentioned in my comment above as well, though a bit differently: 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, verses 14 and 15. Also, I am glad God gave you another revelation yesterday, my brother! 🙂 YES, INDEED – without suffering, no glory can be experienced, either. The cross has a cost for everyone who has been chosen to bear divine fruit.

        “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” ( Jn 15:16 ESV)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, this is amazing. You mentioned those verses in 1 Cor. ch. 2 but did not quote them. Yet I heard Him speaking them to me later after I wrote my first reply to your comment and had the epiphany about how His cross was standing between me where I am at and the world. This little vision I got which I mentioned above was accompanied by this verse, “Now he who is spiritual is, indeed, examining all, yet he is being examined by no one (1 Cor. 2:15). There is this obstacle between those who are Christ’s and seek His fullness in their lives and the world and worldly people, Christian or otherwise. It is His cross! That small “orifice” I was peering through was the one way lens of the cross. Truly, in Christ all things become new and the old things and our way of looking at them pass away. Thank you again for your reply and sharing your inspiration and revelation with us.

        Your brother and friend forever,
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kenneth E Dawson says:

    I recently had the experience of epiphany—-It started on April 9 and climaxed on April 10—I had looked at porno from my computer on April 9 and went to bed very disgusted with myself.On the morning of April 10, while drinking my morning coffee Father said to me—Ken I am living within you and I AM the Christian,you are not—Then I went shopping and on the way to Gainsville,TX. I stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast—I had gotten to know this girl who worked there as a waitress and claimed to be a Christian.When she served me I told her about what the Lord had said to me and she thought that was interesting—-So she said—-Good now you can take me to a bible study tonight—I said sure thing—She gave me directions and time,BUT it was a pentecostal church which raised red flags—-So on the way out to my truck I was debating on what to do.Then I remembered what Dad had said—-Oh Papa this is your call—Not mine.He said –Go find it.I could not locate it and said to Him—I can not find it.He said ok you got my answer.I said yea but what about the girl? He said you will see her at Cracker Barrel
    I had a change in perception by the divine nature of someone,I experienced an event,and I realized a reality——THE PRESSURE IS OFF!

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  4. Thanks, Michael… good word! I know many have “accepted Christ” by repeating a prayer or walking and aisle, and that, by the grace of God, some of those experiences bore fruit. BUT, most of the folks I have come across who really had the fire of God in their bones had some kind of “epiphany” where they had come into a real revelation of Jesus. Recently, I was meditating on the fact that there are are many “believers” but fewer “trusters”…folks who totally trust and rely on God, as you iterated above. I “believed” in God and Jesus because I believed the teachers in the Sunday school class when I was a boy, but I “trusted” when I came face to face with God on a snowy highway some 40 years ago. Huge difference…I was born again when I found that God was real, and he performed that miracle and revealed His love for me. No going back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Grover, It is good to hear from you and to hear about your own epiphany of who Jesus is and who you are as you trust IN Him. Yes, there is believing and then there are those who cling to, rely on and trust in Christ (see John 3:16 in the Amplified Version). Most Christians believe in Jesus like they believe in any other historic figure, but they fail to throw themselves totally upon Him as their only Light and Life. Like you have said, a face to face encounter with Jesus and the Father makes all the difference. Without revelation of who they are in a life changing way, we at best are the blind leading the blind. No, there is no going back.

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  5. We all need this prayer, Michael. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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