Meditations on John 7
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
The key to knowing and understanding God’s will is simply the sincere desire to know it and to follow it. The one who seeks to know God’s will academically, like the study in a theology class, will never come to a knowledge of the Truth. Abbot Nikon tells us in his “Letters to Spiritual Children” that “If they read only with their mind, they remain cold and hungry, not understanding the power of what is written; they abandon such reading, turning instead to doctors of theology, particularly Protestants.” However, the one who commends his whole life unto Christ our God will easily come to understand God’s will. It is when we dedicate our lives to ridding ourselves of wickedness that we are able to obtain righteousness. Those who seek for a “bare minimum” approach to salvation, seeking which sins they may freely commit, will never obtain the knowledge of God’s will for their lives. For it is God’s will that “none shall perish, but that all men will come to repentance.” The Lord Himself will never, and has likewise commanded us, cast pearls before the swine.
No, to know the will of God is to sincerely seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, not to collect knowledge for our own glory, not to win “sword-fights” in some Christian study group, but that we might apply those lessons to our own lives and to one day be made worthy to bear the name Christ, as we do each time we declare ourselves to be “Christian” (little Christs).
St Silouan the Athonite teaches us that “no matter how much we study, it is not possible to know God, unless we live by His commandments, for God is not known by science, but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and learned men came to a belief in God, but they did not know God. It is one thing to believe that He exists, and another thing to know Him. If someone has come to know God by the Holy Spirit, his soul will burn for God day and night, and his soul cannot be bound by any earthly thing.”
Our spiritual blindness comes from this unwillingness to recognize God’s authority. To store away knowledge, as though it were some prize to be displayed in a trophy room, will never lead to a knowledge of God. To store away trinkets of knowledge about God in a closet of your mind will never lead you to a true knowledge of God, however to seek and to find Him truly in your own life,will reveal all things. The words of Scripture are never meant to be studied academically, but rather, to be studied with ever inkling of your heart, mind, and soul. The purpose of prayer is never to change God, but to change us; likewise, the purpose of studying Scripture is never to “interpret” the Scriptures to fit our lives, but to make us change our lives to fit Scripture.
May the grace of the Lord be with you, my beloved brothers and sisters. In Christ.