Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
The day we get saved is a wonderful, momentous day. However, after experiencing the initial joy of salvation, it’s not unusual to wonder how to continue experiencing the Lord Jesus. You may have questions like How can I know Jesus personally? How can I experience Jesus in my life? Is being forgiven and saved from God’s judgment all there is to the Christian life?
Some may try different ways to experience Jesus like they did on the day they were saved. Perhaps they study the Bible, but though they learn something new, the Lord Himself may still seem far away. It’s like trying to enter a locked room with the wrong key; you need the right key to unlock the door. In the same way, we need to use the “right key” to experience Jesus. So what’s the key for us to know Jesus personally in our daily life?
We’ve been redeemed and reborn
Before we see the key to experiencing Jesus, we need to grasp two important facts.
The first fact is that Jesus redeemed us by His death on the cross. How we thank Him for this! And His redemption made the second fact possible: Jesus has come to live in our spirit! Through Christ’s death, He saved us from eternal judgment; in His resurrection, Christ as the life-giving Spirit came to live in our spirit. Knowing and appreciating this second fact is crucial to truly experiencing Jesus daily.
God created us because He wanted to give us His divine life so we’d express Him in our living. But because mankind fell, two things happened: we became sinful and our spirit was deadened, unable to contact or know God. So we had two great needs: our sins needed to be forgiven, and our deadened spirit needed to be made alive.
When we received the Lord Jesus as our Savior, both of these great needs were met! We were redeemed and forgiven of our sins, and we were reborn in our spirit with the life of God.
Now let’s go on to see the key to experiencing Jesus.
Three realms and three keys
There are three realms in this universe: the physical realm, the psychological realm, and the spiritual realm. When God created us, He equipped us with the three keys that give us access to each realm—a body, a soul, and a spirit:
- The physical realm is the material world, consisting of what we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. The key to experiencing this realm is to use our body’s five physical senses.
- The psychological realm is the realm of the human soul, which is deeper than the physical realm and consists of intangible things like thoughts, feelings, and decisions. The key to experiencing the psychological realm is to use the faculties of our soul: our mind to think, reason, and analyze; our emotions to experience joy, sorrow, and other feelings; and our will to decide, form intentions, and make choices.
- The spiritual realm is more mysterious and deeper than both the physical and psychological realms. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit.” In spirit here means in our human spirit. The key to experiencing the spiritual realm is to use our human spirit to contact God, who is Spirit.
To illustrate the importance of using the right key for each realm, let’s use the example of the delicious aroma of bread baking in an oven. To try and “experience” that aroma by using the faculties of our soul would be futile. Our soul is simply the wrong key. But with a single sniff, we can use our sense of smell and immediately experience that mouthwatering aroma.
In the same way, we can’t experience Christ if we use the wrong key. Jesus Christ is no longer physically present on earth, so our five senses don’t help us there. And even using our mind to think about Him or our emotions to try to sense Him doesn’t work, because God is Spirit. Using our God-created human spirit is the right key for us to experience Christ, who lives in our spirit.
How to use our spirit
To use any part of our being means to exercise that part. For example, physically we use or exercise our feet by walking. Psychologically, we exercise our mind by studying or considering a topic.
So how do we exercise our spirit to contact and experience the Lord Jesus? The best way to exercise our spirit is by praying. Our prayers don’t need to be long or formal. They don’t even need to be made in a particular place. In fact, simply calling on the precious name of our Lord Jesus is a good way to exercise our spirit to contact Him in prayer. When we call on the name of the Lord from deep within, we experience Him as living water, satisfying us and quenching our thirst at any time during our day.
Another way to exercise our spirit is to pray with the Word of God. As we read the Bible, we can turn what we read into our prayer. When we pray with the Scriptures, we use not just our mind to read the Word, but more importantly we use our spirit to contact the Spirit in the Word. By exercising our spirit with the Word of God, we experience Christ as our spiritual nourishment.
We can also exercise our spirit by praising and thanking the Lord for all He is and all He has done for us. We can be filled with Him by giving thanks to Him for all things.
By regularly practicing these different ways of exercising our spirit, we can go on from the initial step of salvation to know and experience Jesus more every day.
Experiencing Jesus day by day
The Lord Jesus doesn’t want to be an objective figure whom we worship from afar. He redeemed us and regenerated us to live in us and be our life. Jesus lives in us, so we can experience Him subjectively as everything to us in our everyday life. In all matters of our life—whether big or small—we can experience Christ as whatever we need when we contact Him by using the key of our human spirit.
What a joy to experience Jesus by exercising our spirit!
This post is based on chapter 5 of Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 1, a book that has helped thousands of believers. If you’re a US resident, you can order the three-volume set for free here. You can also download these volumes from anywhere in the world here.
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