In Revelation 1:10 we read of the experience of John on the Isle of Patmos as follows: On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet. What I want to muse upon what happened to John. In particular I want to note how he had the right state of heart to receive the Word.
We sometimes might think that when we receive the Word we will be brought into the right spiritual state. There is much truth in such a postulation. However, the experience of John gives us a balancing perspective. His experience was that he was in the Spirit and then the Word came. When he had the right attitude of heart then he received the Word.
This makes me start to think about the parable of the sower, or to be more accurate, the parable of the soils. In explaining the parable the Lord clearly declares that the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11b). He then recounts three attitudes of heart which lead to fruitless reception of the Word until he finally comes to the good soil which represents the good heart. The Word only is received and fruitful in the heart which is suitably prepared.
And so it is with John. The fact that his heart is right is shown by the fact that he is “in the Spirit”. His heart has been properly prepared by the Lord to be for the Lord. All the preparatory ground work has been done and the heart is ready to receive the Word.
This leads us on to ponder about how we have an “in the Spirit” heart. If we return to the parable of the soils we can establish what the “in the Spirit” heart is not. It is not:
- the compacted ground of the path that allows nothing of God in.
- the infertile ground of the rocky soil which allows no Word from God to take root.
- the chaotic ground of the thorns which snuffs out any establishing of the Word.
We generate a soft heart; a heart worked over by the Spirit when we:
- do not allow the ways of the world just to walk over our hearts relentlessly, continually and without interruption. This compacts our hearts to make them impermeable to God.
- allow the boulders of wrong attitudes to develop such as jealousy, bitterness, resentment, grudges, hatred etc.
- do not allow life’s worries, riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14b), to dominate our lives.
So we return to John in his banishment to the Isle of Patmos, we find the Word comes and it comes loud and clear like a trumpet (Rev. 1:10b) we read. God is transmitting His Word and the reception in his servant is very good. There is no problem with clarity or audibility.
We learn then that the right heart leads to the receiving of the Word. John would then record it and “the rest is history”, In fact it is the book of Revelation and that tells us of eternity.
So how are you getting on preparing your heart for the Word? Are you getting ready for Sunday?