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Resonant Living

To help get my point across, I must resort to using a physical phenomenon as an analogy whose name I will be adapting to describe the lifestyle choice that must be incorporated into the lives of all students of the Spirit.

There is a physical phenomenon called resonance where vibrations created by one body produces self-reenforcing vibrations in another physically separate one.  This happens when the second body has certain internal characteristics that make it especially susceptible to very precisely tuned vibrations generated by the first body.  It is not an urban legend that opera singers can break champagne glasses using their voice.  This is done by tapping the glass to get its natural frequency, then singing a pure tone at precisely the same pitch.  While the transfer of energy from one body to another via sound waves happens all the time, the effects rarely combine to have such a powerful effect unless properties in the receiving body precisely match that of the sound carrying that energy. 

It should be kept in mind that the glass does not break immediately upon the mere presence of the correct sound frequency, for then they would be breaking randomly when people speak in their presence and accidentally hit that frequency while speaking.  The human voice does not inherently carry that magnitude of instantaneous power.  Rather, the energy that eventually breaks the glass is accumulated within the glass over a period of time by way of the vibrations of the glass itself: the link above states that Memorex engineers detected the rim of the glass deforming by as much as a quarter of an inch before breaking.

I use the term "resonance" to describe a similar phenomenon when it comes to the Holy Spirit and ourselves, but with some obvious modifications.  When opera singers are asked to break champagne glasses using their voices, the properties of the specific glass brought to them to break are fixed, requiring that the opera singer adjust their voice to match the natural frequency of the glass for the power of their voice to break it via resonance.  In contrast, the Holy Spirit broadcasts His power and capabilities at a given "frequency of truth" to which we must adjust our lives in order for the power of those truths to become a part of us.  And the truth doesn't break us, but sets us free.

However, like the champagne glass, the power that comes does not come in its full maximal effect instantaneously.  Rather, our lives must retain and practice those truths so that the revelation builds up within us.  Truth that comes first becomes the foundation beside which or upon which further truth is laid, re-enforcing and adding strength to what was before as it merges with it to form a harmonious whole.  Paul talked about how his teachings interacted with Apollos' teachings in the lives of the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 3:5-15, immediately after which, in verses 16 and 17, he talks about the believers being the temple of the Holy Spirit and warns, in verses 18 through 20, about fooling oneself by seeking to be wise after the manner of the world, since it is contrary (non-resonant) to the wisdom of God.  He ends the passage (verses 21 to 23) with the declaration that all things in this world belong to us, and that we belong to Christ, and that Christ belongs to God.

Is 1 Corinthians 3 a disconnected set of passages?  Hardly!  The teachings of Paul and Apollos set up the "initial vibrations" of truth within the Corinthian believers in cooperation with the Holy Spirit who came to reside within them as His temple in the same way God resided in the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple.  From that location, He continues to lead them unto all truth as they build on that foundation (cooperatively).  The belief of the Spirit's indwelling is essential because Paul warns them against the "wisdom of the world", which I take to be the teachings and beliefs of men that later became Gnosticism, which taught the impossibility of the transcendent and creative Spirit of God literally residing within material human flesh.  He hammers home the implications of their standing in Jesus Christ by which the Spirit dwells within by stating that, contrary to the world telling them what to think, and contrary to all outward appearance, they own the world.  Granted, we and they doubtless look as poverty stricken and ragged as Edmond Dantes did after he escaped from his prison, but he was able to shout "The world is mine!" before he got to the treasure because he knew what he had because of what he knew

We must do likewise (Matthew 13:44)!  In my mind, and in my experience, this is best done by living a life founded on truth as strictly as is possible to us.  I do not mean to live a life based on full revelation, in which we tell everything we know, including our personal lives, to everyone!  Rather, we must live a life as free of deception, of ourselves and in displaying ourselves to others, as is possible to us, and as closely as possible to the truth that we can manage.  In response, the Holy Spirit continues to pour truth into us and aids us in living that life.  Resonant living is a continuous cooperation with the Spirit when it comes to seeking, following, and submitting to truth in our lives.  

Now, this should not be hard for us engineers and scientists who are already disciplined in the practice of adjusting the truths we believe to what we find out and discover in the outside world as a matter of course.  All that is necessary for us to do is to expand that practice to every aspect of our spiritual walk and personal life.  Living a life that is manifestly different on the outside than is on the inside is the essence of hypocrisy, and we know Jesus' teaching on that vice!  Again, we do not have to reveal everything to everyone, but what we do reveal must be true to the best of our knowledge.  

To be blunt, many people don't live this sort of lifestyle because it requires the fortitude to say to others "I don't know."  This illustrates the fact that the virtue that best aids us in admitting ignorance, lack, and paucity of results for work and treasure expended is humility.  Pride never acknowledges ignorance, while humility admits it as the first step to dissolving it.  Pride has, as its center, the self, while humility is able to move the center from the self to the truth.  I remind people of the endless jokes of men who are lost and the mental contortions they go through, while wasting time and gas, to avoid admitting that they are lost.  Humility helps here, along with adopting the attitude of the child who, when confronted with the reality of their ignorance, are able to ask "why?"  The problem with prideful people is not that most of them are stupid, but that they are too clever for their own good: they use their smart brains to calculate how their image looks to others and what they have to do to increase it and what they have to avoid to decrease it.  Such people calculate that asking "why" would provoke suspicions that they don't know something, and from that conclude that asking the question is a liability.  Children haven't learned to calculate that way yet, and their impatience with having to endure the mis-match between the lack of what they know and the benefits that would accrue to them if they knew provoke them to ask "why?"  The only time prideful people give up their image of self-sufficiency and admit their ignorance and lack is when their problems become so great and so obvious that no amount of calculation can come up with a face-saving move. 

We can now examine that aspect of the Spirit-as-instructor that exceeds the expectations we normally have of educators.

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