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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides three definitions of the word epiphany. 1capitalized: January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magias the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
2: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3a(1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essentialnature or meaning of something
(2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking
(3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b: a revealing scene or moment
So in the Christian calendar, the Epiphany is over. January 6th is past. The commemoration of the visit of the Magi to see Jesus and representing his ministry to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. So for millions in the Christian faith, we don’t mention the Epiphany again for another year. But why? Why can’t we live in a state of epiphany, the third definition? Why can’t we be like children in our Christian walk and through our daily activities and study, gain an intuitive grasp of reality through those activities? Why can’t we have the kinds of revealing moments children have in their discovery of life as we mature in our Christian walk?
I think our problem is we quit looking. We think as we physically mature into adulthood, we forget when we come to Christ, we come to him in a rebirth, infants. We soon think we know it all and lose the excitement of learning new things about him. It’s a phenomenon we see in most people in terms of their learning process in almost every aspect of life and applies to our Christian life as well if we are not careful.
As children, we are amazed at every discovery. Our brains are molded by all those new things we find in the world. They start with the discovery of our mom’s face, our hands and fingers, the small world that consists of the stuffed animals in our crib and the need for food and dry diapers. As we grow, our discoveries expand to the an every enlarging world around us, we explore on our knees as we learn to crawl, then our discoveries begin to get stifled by parents as we learn to walk and run and play because our parents need to confine our learning process to protect us in some ways.
Now why would I blame our parents for confining and limiting our epiphanies? Because I’m a parent. I’ve done it and if you’re a parent you’ve done it. It’s for our kids protection in a very evil world. I didn’t let my kids loose to do their own thing when they were five. They didn’t understand how the world works. They didn’t understand the harm that could come to them. They didn’t know the things I had learned through my thirty plus years of life when they were toddlers. The world for them would have been a scary place in which they could not have survived if I had just let them go out on their own with no supervision in their learning process at that young age.
When kids have been stopped from their inquisitive nature enough by parents or teachers or other adults, they stop learning. They give up. If they don’t learn as fast as others, peers can even make them stop because of embarrassment over their achievement or lack thereof. That’s what happens in our physical world. It’s what happens at school and at work.
If we are not careful, that same hindering of growth carries over into our spiritual world. Because we have lost the desire to learn in other areas, we can lose the desire to learn in our spiritual lives. We forget how to even have epiphanies. We let ourselves get buried in the same ruts that the rest of our society travels and refuse to learn. We just go along with the crowd.
So how can I say these things with any authority? A study done by the Pew Research Center in 2017 showed that the average American read only 17 minutes a day for pleasure and read no complete books during the year. Even those who identified themselves as avid readers reported reading an average of only four books a year for pleasure. But we are spending three hours a day in front of the television watching meaningless shows.
We are losing our epiphanies.
So how do we get them back? How do we get back the capacity as adults to have those moments of discovery that just blow us away? How do we capture ideas and thoughts and truths that cause us to pause in awe of the creator and help us know we have unearthed some revelation that will cause us to be more like the giver of life when we apply that truth in our everyday journey of life?
Let me share a few ideas to bring them back.
First, fall in love with God. Recognize what he has done for you and fall in love with him because of it.
Second, read about him every day. Spend some time in God’s word. Devotional books are okay, but they are not the same as reading the words he gave to us through his divine inspiration of those whose histories and prophecies and letters make up our Bible. His love and plans for us scream at us through the pages of his word, so spend time devouring it every day.
Third, pray. Ask God to teach you something about him often. Prayer doesn’t have to be long and wordy. It doesn’t have to follow a particular formula or pattern. Those can help as you learn to talk with him. But talk with God often. Short conversations with him throughout the day as you would talk with a friend keep you in tune and ready for an epiphany moment.
Fourth, journal. Write down your thoughts, your questions, your requests and answers as you hear them from God and other trusted Christian brothers and sisters. Explore them and record what God shares with you through his spirit. Make notes in your Bible, underline passages that speak to you. Put questions in the margins you want answered. Jot down things you will do because of what you read.
Fifth, take inventory of your thoughts and actions at least weekly. Pick a time one day a week, either at the beginning or end of the week when you have some routine time that will not be filled with the hustle and bustle of life. Make an appointment with God and put it on your calendar as an appointment. You might need an hour or so to look over the last week and highlight the things you’ve learned about your walk with God, your relationship with him and others, what you did well and what you need to do differently to be more like him. Then write down the one or two things you will do different this next week to be more like him. Look for those epiphanies for continued growth.
Epiphanies sometimes come in the most unusual and unexpected times and places. Thomas Edison talks about the epiphany that became the modern light bulb. However, it came after 1,000 failures in trying to create it. So, finally, don’t give up. Keep looking. Keep searching. Stay inquisitive. Fall in love with the Savior every day. Don’t let the season of Epiphany end because the calendar says so. Keep it alive in your heart throughout the year.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.