Burning in the bosom and the Book of Mormon

Monday Musings for December 20, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

I’ve been a Christian for over 50 years now. This means that I have spent much more time living with the indwelling Holy Spirit than I had been living without him. Since this is my normal condition, I do not usually “feel” his presence any more than I feel the presence of my liver.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I have the occasional spiritual epiphany about life and/or ministry. I also have the occasional acute engagement with Scripture. But most of the time, abiding in the Spirit is how I roll. Now, I’m sure he “burns” within me… kind of like a slow cooker. But since that’s my ambient condition, he never feels immanent… although I know better. He is imminent by definition.

My wish for all of you on this Christmas week is that you will “catch” my condition. May you all get so used to the Holy Spirit that you walk in him more than think about him! (Galatians 5:16) — and here’s why.

If you “walk in the Spirit,” you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. But this will be your baseline behavior. This leaves room for experiences that are above the baseline — spiritual epiphanies, revelations and impulses to serve. But this also leaves room for our own “burning in the bosom” as we read Scripture. This doesn’t always happen... but it happens enough!

Reading Scripture is also like a slow cooker. After all, we are never without the Holy Spirit when we read the Bible. But even Bible reading is mostly normal reading... I mean... we are usually just processing information — even though it’s God’s “special” information. Occasionally, the information leaps right off the page. But think about this: if this happened all the time, it would not be anything special!

Some people call this phenomenon illumination. Such illumination might manifest as a spiritual epiphany or a call to service. But by definition, this is something that does not happen every day.

But there’s another level of engaging with Scripture that is more like a “burning in the bosom.” This is when we connect on a more spiritual plane when reading Scripture. When this happens, we are more communing with God than processing information. This is worship.

Now, Satan can’t do away with truth, but he can water it down. For instance, there is only one Bible. Yet there are thousands of “holy books” that purport to connect with higher (or inner) powers. The Quran, the Bagdad Gita and the Book of Mormon are among them. The prevalence of counterfeits testifies that the original has true value. So, accept no substitutes!

Instead, bring every thought into the captivity of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) who is the focus of the Bible and creation. This is why people who ignore Jesus Christ are often lost emotionally and logically. Since everything was created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16), nothing makes ultimate sense without him.


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