Most of us can easily spot the ways in which we willfully reject the open invitation to be in relationship with God. But there are many subtle ways in which we find ourselves missing the mark in our search for the Divine we (lift up our souls to what is false and swear deceitfully.) Some of us seek to meet the expectations of our faith communities, so that others may acknowledge us as deeply spiritual or God-fearing. Others of us find a preacher, teacher, or counselor and follow her or his guidance on how to live our lives and seek her or his approval. Still others begin the spiritual journey for the purpose of more tangible personal goals: peace of mind, good relationships, or more money.
While we may successfully attain any of these things when we give them our attention, they tend to be impermanent. And this always leaves us wanting and needing more. However, if we sincerely desire to know the Divine and be in relationship with God, all these things will be provided for us and so much more. It is true that there are many wonderful teachers and ideas in the world that can support us on our journey. But there is only one true guide, the knowledge of God through the presence of the Christ within (seek the face of the God of Jacob.) This is known in the NT as the narrow gate.
It is through the narrow gate that we are prepared to be discerners of Divine things. Ascending the hill of the Lord arises from a posture of focused receptivity. When we harness all of our energies and faculties for the purpose of seeking God (lift up your head, O gates,) there comes a time when Spirit invites an internal shift, deep within us (be lifted up, O ancient doors.) In these windows of time we are opened so that we can directly apprehend the Divine. These moments are gifts from God in which we experience blessing and salvation, and become witnesses to the glory of God. We need only present ourselves as empty vessels before God.
And so it is! Amen!