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By Pablo Giacopelli
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"Man one thing is for sure and that is that this Christian walk is so hard," said a man on a plane I had the opportunity of speaking with in a recent trip.
Unfortunately the reality is that for many of us our encounter with Jesus is nothing more than a mental illusion instead of the spiritual experience it was always meant to be. Even though we make a decision to follow him, and try really hard to do it, we do so from our minds and not our hearts. This is why so often Christianity is so hard and so many of us give up on it and God, as we believe that if practicing it is that hard then God must be equally hard to relate with.
This picture is clearly related to us, I believe, within the parable that Jesus told about the ground seeds are sown into. There is the good soil, which represents a great picture of what happens when this reality is experienced from a heart level. This part of us once healed is capable of not only accepting seeds but it has the capacity of causing them to multiply hundreds of times over because this is Gods domain within us.
Then there is the rocky ground, which I believe is a picture of our minds where the ground the seeds fall into is only as deep as our life experience and the knowledge we have managed to accrue up until that point. Here the seeds grow quickly yet once the roots attempt to go deeper they encounter our ego, which is only too happy to choke the life out of them. This is done out of ignorance as our minds, though they are full of information, are nevertheless incapable of understanding or seeing the life of the Kingdom each seeds contains within it.
Finally there is the hard ground, which I believe is our flesh, which as we all know is not capable of any sort of ongoing spiritual experience. One other great picture to help us relate with this reality is the sexual act between a man and a woman. There are three ways one can approach such an act. The first way, which resembles the way we are in our flesh, is to go into it to get something for ourselves without any regard for our lover. The second way, which resembles our calculative mind, is to go into it to conditionally give in order to hopefully get something better for ourselves. The third, which resembles what our journey is like when we engage from the heart, is to go into it to lose ourselves in the moment. Here we have no result in mind apart from enjoying our lover unconditionally.
Having an Ongoing Relationship
We need to understand that within our heart is where we begin to follow Jesus and worship the Father in spirit and in truth. This experience is of course the byproduct of an ongoing relationship. From the mind we are only able to worship an illusion of Jesus that we have fabricated and therefore we are unable to follow anyone that is real, hence why it feels so hard to relate. My journey with God was transformed the day I was given enough courage and grace by God to let go of this limited mental picture I had of Him.
Today remember this God of ours is a person and as such he has a will, feelings, and desires just like us. Therefore next time your journey feels "hard" try and imagine how would someone feel if they related with you only through information they made up about you or they received from someone else?