“…I am continually with [T]hee: [T] hou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with [T]hy counsel, afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but [T]hee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside [T]hee. (Psalm 73:23-25)
Through out our red threaded history there have been eras that are distinguished by our ancestors. After our Lord ascended, the era of the Apostles began, or technically at Pentecost, I suppose. Then came the Church fathers, Augustine, Polycarp, Jerome, etc. After this came the Mystics, then the great Reformers, the Puritans, that seemed to be transcendent in so many ways,. After the Puritans, it seems to me, we entered the era of the Remnant, where we are today, methinks, anyway.
Though there was the era of the Mystics, that knew God, but had no Bible of their own. The Words were being written upon their hearts as they worshiped and served.These mystics have always been here. When some hear the word, mystic, they think Catholic and though the Catholic church claims many mystics as their own, the mystics were not Catholic as we understand Catholicism today. In fact, many mystics were condemned by the Catholic church during the purging or inquisition. Persons considered mystic, are Joan of Arc, Meister Eckart, Madame Guyon, Gregory of Nyssa, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, John Tauler, Julian of Norwich, Thomas A’ Kempis, Brother Lawrence and others. One could be intellectual honest and put Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, D.L. Moody, A.W. Tozer and even A.W. Pink and Martyn Lloyd Jones.
I don’t know if any of the persons named in the above paragraph would have considered themselves mystic. Upon reading them, however, and learning of them through biography or collected letters, there is no doubt. Tozer, however wore the title without apology as does many others, though they may not know it. Being a mystic is like logic. One uses logic everyday but does not realize it. If you wake up one morning and the ground it wet, you think, it rained last night. That is a logical deduction. You saw evidence and reasoned backward. Mysticism is similar.
What is a mystic? Does a mystic wear a cape and a hood? Do they walk in a smoke cloud? Do they float? Are they magical? The answer is yes, in a manner of speaking. Some mystics, I suppose wear hoodies, they walk in and with the Spirit of God continuously, they are or seem to be on a different plane/plain than others, and they have prayers answered on a regular basis.
What is a mystic? before we define it allow us to name Biblical mystics, first. One should consider the following as mystics: Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Elisha and all the prophets, The Lord Jesus, and the apostles, all. What is a Mystic, then?
A mystic is one who simply, walks with God, talks with God, and has God in all of his/her thoughts, decisions, and actions. The mystic acknowledges God in all [his/her] ways, and is instant in prayer, or rather prays without ceasing. The mystic senses Him and has a God- awareness at all times. To the mystic, the Presence of Christ is more real than the presence of the person standing in front of him/her. The mystic understands Jephthah of old. The mystic understands, “Come up hither”, of John in Revelation, in a prayerful way. The mystic is not a Christ-believer, but a Christ-knower.
To put this in pop culture perspective, as Reagan MacLeish, of “Exorcist” fame was/is possessed by a demon, so to, is the mystic, “possessed” by the Holy Ghost. The mystic sees God every where, s/he looks for Him every where and at all times. The mystic wakes up, thinking, God and falls asleep thanking God.
Paul, in Acts 20:13, “[minded] himself to go afoot.” Luke and other friends of Paul “sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul…” However, Paul decided to walk instead. Commentators suggest that this was due to sea sickness, but methinks not. Methinks, Paul wanted to walk with his Ever-Present Companion. Paul loved his friends, for he endured all the world’s punishment and hatred for the sake of God’s elect. Albeit, Paul wanted time alone with His Lord and God. Paul was a mystic and mystics, in general, walk alone, they walk alone with God on that other plain/plane.
In Luke 9:18, we find this gem, “And it came to pass, as [H]e was [A]lone praying, [H]is disciples were with [H]im…” Our Lord was Alone, yet surrounded by disciples. Our Lord was Alone and praying, being surrounded by many. That is what a mystic does, the mystic is always, always alone with God, even when he is surrounded by family and friends. The mystic is a balloon and God is his Air. If the Air is let out the balloon deflates and dies, likewise, is the mystic.
In our quoted text, David says there is no one else but he and God, this is the core spirit of the mystic minded saint. A mystic loves his family and his friends, but God is Preeminent, above and over all else and all others; family and friends know this and sometimes they get to enjoy the Presence, as well, I.E. Moses’ glowing face.
If one knew this writer, one would know that we are not sensationalistic. Our feet are planted firmly on the [holy] ground. We do not accept the silliness of going to heaven and coming back nor do we subscribe to charismatic experience over sound doctrine.
One of our titles above, however, gave us the “inspiration” to write this article. We saw two (2) cars next to us in traffic this evening. One car had on it’s license plate, “Mystical” and then the other car passed by and it’s plate read, “Beeness.” “Beeness & mystical,” being interpreted, “Be mystical.” We do not suggest this as a “sign” but it did cause us to think about our mystical heritage.
Are you a mystic? Would you like to be? Is a mystic made mystical by God or can one attain to a level of mystic? I know not. What I know is this, we were envious of David’s walk with God. We were envious of Enoch and the prophets. We wanted that kind of faith and relationship with Him, too. We read of Tozer’s love for mystics, and Pink’s “Communion” tract, LLoyd-Jones counseled his people to “Read Pink” and he recommended Pink’s “Union and Communion.” Brother Lawrence’s book, “Practicing the Presence of God,” was the game changer. This small and humble book taught me about walking with God, as Enoch did, and as Moses did, and as Noah and David did. I learned to “go afoot” and to be “alone praying, [my family and friends being with me]. I asked God to possess me, as a demon possesses the child.
The mystic is one who is born again, then stripped of everything, and re-dressed in a white robe with a hoodie, so to speak. He is one that is on a short leash. He holds God’s Hand, lest he fall. To the mystic, God figures into everything, he cannot stop experiencing God’s Presence, nor would he ever want to. The mystic is God’s “door keeper,” always in front of Him and ready to serve at His Master’s pleasure.
The mystic walks in the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, prays (wordlessly) in the Spirit, engages the enemy in the Spirit and the Spirit, so lovingly, and tenderly, bears witness to his spirit. The greatest fear of the mystic is being left alone without God, his Air.