I love the term spiritual history. I don’t know many Christians who use it, but I think that should change. I grew up very conservative, and never heard the term. It wasn’t until I became Charismatic that I’ve realized how important this truth is. “Spiritual History” to me is the life memories we have with God. Whether we are Conservative, or Charismatic, we all have it. Unfortunately neither group emphasize it much as we should.
In the bible, I believe there are countless memories of spiritual history from Abraham’s life to the Disciples; even the writer of Hebrew understand this truth because he wrote Hebrews Chapter 11, the “Chapter of Faith,” Which I say is the “Spiritual History” chapter in the Bible. With all these countless examples, the one that I always seem to most drawn to is the earliest example of it in Genesis. This appears in story of Jacob’s life, or the story of Bethel. I call this the first Spiritual History documentation.
The first significance of Bethel happen when Jacob, threaten by his brother’s anger towards him for his birthright, left his home, on the advice of his mother and father and went to a land called Canaan to help his uncle Laban with the cattle business. On his way towards there, he rested one night upon some rocks, and had a dream about angels ascending and descending down the latter, with God speaking to him directly afterwards. This dream completely freak out Jacob, that he awoke from his sleep, and said “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it. (Gen. 28:16). Then he says, “how awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen. 28:17) Then Jacob made a vow, saying “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God. (Gen. 28:20-21).
Lets fast forward to the end of Jacob’s journey, after he returns from his years of laboring for his uncle, wrestling with God and dealing with idolatry in his own family. Having experienced all this, Jacob comes back to the place where he met God, and offers his own personal worship by pouring out a drink offering and oil to the rocks. (Gen. 35:14). He then calls that place Bethel. (Gen. 35:15).
The significance of this story is how Jacob remembered his first “Spiritual encounter” with God. Another words he demarcated, a place, in his life where God has meet with him, and changed his life. The point for here I believe is that if we don’t remember the times in our lives where God has met us, we will fall slave to being forgetful about him.
From a practical perspective, if we don’t hold unto some sort of Spiritual History with God, what will reminds us in our times of struggle that God came through for us? I bet you most of time that people wander off the faith is not because they didn’t believe in God when they’ve encountered them, but more so, that they didn’t develop any strong or lasting Spiritual Histories which they can call their own.