John W Follette
All spiritual truth is purely a progressive revelation, ever
evolving in order to reveal deeper layers of spiritual reality.
Because truth is progressive in its unfolding, we must be
continually conditioned for its reception. Those who stood
in the presence of Jesus had a certain reception of life and
light. Then a year or two later, there was a deeper response
in them. This was because they were being continually trained
and disciplined by the power of the Spirit of God so when
they came again to the same revelation, it blossomed like
Many of us are making new discoveries in the realm of Spiritual
life. This results in growing pains, and sometimes distress,
because we are being pressed out of our past spiritual understandings
and experiences. The eternal “urge” of God is
to make Himself more fully known to us - ever desiring to
break through the narrow confines of our limited understanding,
and create fresh new openings of light and truth. This seeming
distress that we feel at times is a sign that we are coming
into that for which we were designed and made.
Our spirit must be continually conditioned to receive these
fuller revelations. No experience in itself, no matter how
moving, profound, or revolutionizing - that experience will
never mature us. We should never belittle, or settle into
any one of them as being a final word from the Lord. Our spirits
tend to become bound in certain religious habits that we have
cultivated through the years. Because these will hinder us
from receiving further truth, the Holy Spirit works to dislodge
and remove them. Although we feel a deep inner desire to receive
more, we must rest in the Lord, until all agitation within
us settles. “In quietness and in confidence shall be
your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15).
Because the “truth” for which we hunger is progressive
in its unfolding, the Lord cannot give it to us in a moment,
but He can give us an “experience” with great
emotional resurgence. But to find the significance of the
spiritual principle behind this blessing requires time, until
our inner being is conditioned to develop the capacity to
grasp and understand .
The Spirit of God within us is like an eternal “urge”
which is pushing its way back again to the heart of God. The
Holy Spirit has been given to abide within us, but He does
not belong here, but back in the God-head. He has been encased
within us, and we may be holding Him like a prisoner, not
allowing Him to transform and change us into the image of
Jesus - giving us illumination and establishing within us
a corrective objective for our lives.
The disciples moved through circles of spiritual growth.
At the end of the first year, there was a certain amount of
spiritual reaction within them, which gradually increased
during the second and third years. Finally the Lord said,
“Who do you think I am?” Phillip responded, “Lord,
show us the Father and we will be satisfied.” In effect,
Jesus said, "Have I been with you all this time and you
still do not know anything about Me?”
No one of us would want the Lord to say to us, “You
have never made any inner contact, or responded to the deeper
unfoldings of the Word, which were set before you to prepare
you to enter into the age to come.”
Each of us has received eternal life. We are not going to
heaven just to play on a harp for millions of years. This
is a picturesque symbol, but our Lord’s life cannot
be confined to the strings on a harp. Rather, this new creature
that you and I have become, is to be wrought upon by the power
of His Spirit, until the revelation of our Lord’s eternal
intention becomes progressively clearer and clearer to us.
This progressive unfolding is pictured in the Old Testament
as “A lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
(Psalm 119:105). According to the custom of that day, when
it became dark, a strap with an attached lamp, was buckled
on a foot. This would provide guidance along the way, one
step at a time. Beyond this was a distant light that gave
direction toward the goal.
When “truth” comes into those who have been prepared
to receive, it will dislodge all religious notions that hinder
the Lord’s greater purpose. When I was a child, I had
a card collection with Scriptures on each card. I remember
one card which said, “Thou oh God seest me.” The
result of this imparted fear into my life. It was many years
later when the verse “Perfect love casts out fear”
became a reality that set me free.
I had been afraid to approach God, but I gradually came to
understand that the Lord knows all things. Many of us spend
much time in prayer, explaining our circumstances to the Lord.
He is very patient and listens, but it will get us nowhere,
except that we may feel a little better. I have come to experience
His love and I rest in this. I respond in obedience, not out
of the motive of fear, but rather because I do not want to
grieve or disappoint the Lord.
In this realm of spiritual reality, there are certain laws
and principles that are just as real as the laws and principles
in the natural world in which we live. The Lord has surrounded
us with these natural laws with action, reaction, and consequences,
which are established for our well-being. If we accept and
rightly respond to these, we will live a comfortable life.
But, if we disregard them, we will always have trouble.
In the realm of our spirit, there are laws and principles
that are just as real. Because they are abstract, we may not
pay attention to them, and as a result, our spiritual life
will become disconnected and haphazard. If we detect the spiritual
principles and laws with which the Lord works, our rate of
spiritual growth will greatly increase.
When we are first brought into the realm of “spiritual
living,” we come as a little baby. Here, there is a
progression in our spiritual diet from milk to strong meat.
The milk is essential to prepare us to later receive more.
We can be saved, filled with the Spirit, and have gifts in
operation, and still live on a milk diet. This is because
a milk diet contains all the elementary features that are
essential to our Christian faith.
We must be patient as the Lord builds into us the capacity
to partake of more than “milk.” This progression
results from our being continually conditioned through the
laws of discipline, testings, and provings. These are organized,
well-arranged spiritual laws. “For whom the Lord loves,
He chastens (milk), and scourges every son whom He receives”
(strong meat). Heb 12:5.
We cannot arrive at spiritual maturity in a minute, nor through
any one experience. These revelations are open vistas, or
doorways which will lead us into fresh lovely places of spiritual
reality and revelation. Only the Holy Spirit is able to lead
us into this realm of a cooperative relationship with our
And, as the door opens and we respond, "Welcome, Lord!"
He will take us by the hand and lead us in.