I wanted to share this from one of my daily devotions. It’s called “A Little Daily Wisdom From The Early Church.” Let this sink in a little, maybe read it a few times…
The LORD God says, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”
+JOEL 2: 28
ABBA OLYMPIOS taught this lesson: A pagan priest visited Scetis, came to my cell, and slept there. Considering the monks’ pattern of life, he asked me, “Living like this, do you receive spiritual visions?” I answered, “No.” He said to me, “When we make a sacrifice to our god, he grants us insights into mysteries, but you who are dedicated to extreme hardship, vigils, prayers, and asceticism, report seeing nothing. If you see nothing, it is because you have impure thoughts in your hearts which separate you from your God.” I reported his words to the monks. They respected the pagan priest and agreed that he was correct. Impure thoughts separate us from God.
CAVEAT: Though we do not believe in other gods (and neither did Abba Olympios) the truth remains the same, that we are to maintain a pure life through the grace of God in order to hear His voice and receive His consolations. And for the UBER-CURIOUS, sure, most likely the “insights” that the pagan priests were receiving were demonic manifestations, which serves as a warning for all of us of the dangers of worshipping false gods.
WHIT’S END: We often wonder why God seems so silent. Many of us feel like we could hear a pin drop in our prayers, while others can’t seem to think straight because of all the noise. The challenge question is the same for both groups: are our hearts free of impurities (of whatever kind or genre) so that we are fully in tune with God? And if the answer is no (which is the case for many of us) then we must appeal to God and we ask Him to work on us, to take away the things that would stand as an obstacle to His grace and His voice.
Here enters the great work of letting go of those obstacles, but it is something that requires your participation nonetheless. See your spiritual life as something that requires steps. Ask God to reveal the impurities in your life. Then ask God for the strength to both endure His removal of those things and the strength to stand up to those things’ desire to say in your life. Then, and only then, will you be in a place where you can truly hear and see the great voice and visions from God.