The Progressive Unfolding
of Spiritual Truth
Edited from a spoken message by
John W Follette
All spiritual truth is a progressive revelation that unfolds
and moves continually. No person or church group has a corner
on truth. This vast field of spiritual life and experience
cannot be pulled down, or labeled and fixed in a pattern.
Jesus did not say, "I have some truth." All other
teachers and philosophers have been able to do this. Rather,
He said, "I AM THE TRUTH." All truth is personified
in Him and has become articulate and fully expressive in this
dynamic, marvelous, living Christ.
These profound un foldings of the Spirit into the person
of Christ, "In whom are HID the treasures" (Col
2:3) can only be found by our entering into a time of darkness
where a discovery is made and we come out enriched. There
is much of spiritual value and understanding that is visible
and tangible. This is the articulate aspect of His Word and
working. But there is much which is evasive and abstract that
is hidden within this Christ.
Jesus said, "I am the truth." He is saying that
all truth is summed up in this revelation, "He that has
seen Me has seen the Father." He is not speaking of seeing
a body, but rather, the manifestation of the nature and character
of God. This invisible and marvelous God became visible and
articulate by becoming this wonderful dynamic Person, God
the Son, eternally one identified with us.
Those who heard Him speak were recipients of His grace and
healing. Yet they did not have an inner revelation as to His
identity. Only after His disciples had been with Him for two
and a half years could Jesus ask, "Who am I?" When
Peter identified who He was, Jesus said, "This came by
revelation alone, not through any observation."
All spiritual truth progressively evolves and unfolds. All
do not respond the same, having a different reaction to truth.
There is a reason for this. Peter will never become a Paul.
One receives a vision of truth and responds accordingly. Another,
less perceptive, gets a glimmer of truth and reacts to it
This principle is at work throughout the Word of God. Since
all truth is progressive in its unfolding, each heart must
be continually conditioned for its reception. Those who heard
Jesus teach had a certain reception of life and light. Then
a year or more later, there was a different heart response
to the Words of Jesus. Because they were being continually
trained and disciplined by the power of the Spirit of God,
when they later came to the same revelation, it blossomed
like a rose.
Some of us are making these discoveries, but do not know
what to do with them. This is because we are experiencing
"growing pains" as we push out from the confines
of a limited spiritual experience. This eternal urge of God
that is buried within each one of us desires to break through
these barriers into fresh new openings of light and truth.
These growing pains are a good sign. It means that finally
we are discovering the thing for which we were designed in
our spiritual makeup.
Our heart must be progressively "conditioned,"
or prepared to become receptive to this fuller revelation.
No experience in itself, no matter how moving, profound, or
revolutionizing it may be, can mature us. We should not be
little, or put away these spiritual experiences, but rather,
embrace them. However, we should never park, or seek to live
in one of them. If we do, we will find ourselves having a
difficult time maintaining our position there, when the Lord
is seeking to bring us up into another realm of spiritual
Some have said, "I have this strange conviction that
I do not understand." This is an indication of our being
birthed out of a religious form into a realm of spiritual
progression. During this time, our spirit may be agitated
due to religious habits that we have cultivated over many
years. But deep within, is an "urge" that is saying,
"Lord, there must be more than this." He will answer,
"Yes, but you must be patient until this agitation comes
to its end."
Many have been blessed, but soon loose the purpose and outworking
of their blessing as they have no understanding of the principles
of "Life in the Spirit." This is due to a lack of
being properly taught the principles of spiritual life and
growth. The Lord can, in a moment, impart a blessing with
great emotional resurgence. However, to find the significance
of this experience, it must be lived out. Because truth is
progressive, our heart will need to be conditioned for its
reception. We cannot continue to grow spiritually on only
the initial impact of truth.
There was a certain amount of spiritual understanding imparted
within the disciples during their first and second year with
Jesus. During the third year, they were able to express a
measure of identification as to who He was. When Jesus asked
this of Philip, he said, "Show us the Father and we will
be satisfied." Jesus responded, "Have I been with
you all this time and you still do not know me?" Our
Lord should never need to say to us, "I have been with
you for many years, but you have not made an inner contact
with me, or received from me any revelation of spiritual truth
which will help you in your adjustment for another age."
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my
path." There is a progression in this that begins with
a "lamp unto my feet." At that time, a small lamp
was buckled on the foot for guidance while carrying a burden.
But there is also a "light unto my path." This speaks
of a vision of the distant goal towards which we are pressing.
Both are necessary to our spiritual development.
In this realm of spiritual reality, there are laws and principles
that are just as real as those in the natural world. We would
be in chaos if God had not established natural laws for us
to live by. If we recognize these laws and cooperate with
them, we will be comfortable. However, we will suffer if we
In the realm of the spirit, there are laws and principles
which are just as real. Because they are abstract and not
tangible, we do not pay enough attention to them. All too
often, we become aware of them only when they react within
us. Then we say, "Oh, something is wrong." We cannot
live haphazardly in the Spirit and receive spiritual results
anymore than we can in the natural. If we detect the principles
and laws that the Lord uses, we will save ourselves much distress.
When we enter this realm of spiritual living, we do so as
a little baby. Our Lord calls this realm a "Kingdom."
When we consider this word, "Kingdom," we may think
of heaven, or of a political realm, but He was speaking of
neither of these. Jesus did not say to the thief on the cross,
"Today you will be with me in my Kingdom." He could
not say this. But He can say, "Today you will be with
me in paradise." He has repented, which qualifies him
for heaven, but the Kingdom requires time for discipline and
growth. Salvation is a gift but "through much tribulation
and terrible patience we enter the Kingdom."
We were birthed into this spiritual realm as a little baby.
After some time, The Lord can say, "Just as you learned
the foundational principles of a spiritual life while drinking
milk, you must continue on until you are able to receive strong
meat." A baby is not made for meat, he can receive only
the milk of the word. But as he grows, a capacity for meat
with develop within him. It is possible to be saved, filled
with the Holy Spirit, move in the gifts, and still live on
a milk diet. Within a milk diet are all the elementary features
of our Christian faith, but we were made for much more than
There are babes, little children, sons, grown up sons, fathers
and mothers in Israel. These speak of the law of progression.
We would never say, "Lord, cause this baby to become
twenty-one years old today." Yet we attempt to do this
with spiritual things. As our natural growth requires time,
so also our spiritual growth.
This progression into spiritual things requires an ongoing
submission to the laws of discipline, testing, and proving.
These are open vistas, or doorways, which lead into fresh,
lovely places of spiritual reality. As this door opens, we
say, "Thank you, Lord." Then He will take us by
the hand and lead us into the fields that are beyond. Here,
we will find our full satisfaction and completion in Him,
and He in us.