The Spirit Illumines Our Hearts
I read something this week that reminded me why prayer must come before preaching. It really does matter that we pray before we sit underneath the preaching of God’s Word. The following quote is from John Calvin’s institutes, and it highlights the need for illumination as we hear God speak through his preached Word. Calvin writes:
The Word will not find acceptance in men's hearts before it is sealed with the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded.
Even if it wins reverence for itself by its own majesty, it seriously affects us only when it is sealed upon our hearts through the Spirit. Therefore, illumined by his power, we believe neither by our own nor by anyone else's judgment that Scripture is from God; but above human judgment, we affirm with utter certainty ... that it has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men.
We pray because we need the Spirit’s illumination to help us see reality. I simply loved Dr. Jared Compton’s descriptions of parables. Parables are pictures of reality. They are illustrations of what truly is, and lack of sight does not change reality in one bit. The kingdom of God is truly like what we heard on Sunday. Our hearts now must see and savor this reality and live in light of it. May the Spirit always illuminate our hearts to see reality and be “seriously affected” by what we hear week in and week out in preaching.