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ohbaooo asked: I’ve been thinking about spiritual highs (the ones you get from a conference or praise concert etc.) lately. On one hand, for some reason, some people regard it as something negative, but I feel that it’s a good thing to go through, because it leads a person closer to God, and also to get a better understanding of who He is. What are your thoughts on spiritual highs?

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Unka Glen answered: Well, let’s get one thing straight off the top: wherever there’s something popular in Christian culture, there’s someone, somewhere attacking it with all they’ve got. And that’s of course more about jealousy than actual analysis. On the other hand, I think it’s sad that praise concerts and conferences are where most people think to go, to experience a spiritual high, but more on that in a bit.

The real question here is whether the “high” you’re experiencing is an emotional high or a spiritual high. Both are good to have, I suppose. You paid good money for that praise concert, it should be uplifting. So there’s that. But emotional highs tend to be very short lived. Nice as they surely are, emotional highs simply aren’t solid enough to build a walk on. 

I imagine that these concerts and conferences do, for most people, involve a certain amount of spiritual growth, and that there is a certain giddy spiritual joy associated with being set free from the fear and pain that often grip us. There’s nothing like that feeling of casting off the sin that entangles you and running that race for real.

I would beware of any situation where your emotions are being manipulated, even in a positive way, and if someone wants to get in your wallet at that same moment, then it’s time to head for the exit. 

But all of this is different from a so called “mountaintop moment” that people often have on retreats. That’s where a certain amount of teaching and getting away from the everyday routine allows you to be ALONE with God, and be open to Him in a way you ordinarily wouldn’t. And maybe you receive an insight and a breakthrough you never had before. 

Those mountaintop moments are, I find, much more important, and can be even more joyful and satisfying over the long-term than sort-term emotional highs. 

But all of this is about the internal, where I’m the center of attention. If you want a lasting spiritual high, you point that focus outward. To illustrate that point, let me use my brother and fellow blogger Joon Park

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Joon came to Chicago to hang with our ministry, and on two hours notice we asked him to preach in front of a room of ex-cons, gang members, and addicts. This is our weekly worship service called THE BRIDGE. Trust me when I say, this is one of the most demanding rooms you’ll ever preach in. 

When it comes to preaching at THE BRIDGE, it had better be good. They’re hurting, and they’re doing everything they can to follow the Lord, and they need all the help they can get. If you say something to help them, they will literally tell you so right on the spot, if you don’t, it gets really quiet in that room. And if you, God forbid, say something to make things worse, well, you might want to go ahead and make your way to you car. And do so at least at a slow trot.

Joon got up there, and as we all knew he would, he got after it, digging deep for nuggets of truth, exposing the lies that were holding everyone back, and insisting that they see that they are not alone in their struggles. Amens and applause greeted nearly every point he made.

Talk about a spiritual high! This brother’s feet didn’t touch the ground for the next hour! The first thing he said to me was, “my fingers are tingling, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to sleep tonight.” I know just how he feels. I get to experience that high every week, and plenty of times in between.

Whether it’s through your tumblr, or something you do with your church, or some project you come up with on your own, serving the Lord and making a difference in people’s lives is the ultimate high. When you know you’re a part, no matter how small, of the work of the Kingdom, well, there’s nothing like it.