As early as I can remember, church was a part of my life. Singing songs about Jesus and His love with teachers who loved Him, loved me. Watching adults worship. Hearing the word of God preached. Experiencing the fear of God; knowing I was the sinner the pastor talked about. Afraid of entering God's presence; also afraid of the eternal destination of "Hell" reserved for those who fall short of the holiness of God.
It was the summer of my eighth year, at Vacation Bible School. The speaker invited us to "Come to Jesus". Timidly and without moving another muscle other than my heart, I raised my skinny little arm in response to the story of God coming to us through His Son Jesus Christ.
I came to Jesus but I was still afraid to approach this Holy God. Like my father when he was drunk or angry, I thought God was watching, waiting for me to make a mistake so he could point a finger at my failures.
I lived a powerless life. I could not overcome my circumstances or my sin. I knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. And I never told anyone that I had accepted Christ as my Savior. I felt like a failure because I had been in church all of my eight years and just now became a Christian. How funny is that? Eight years old and already rationalizing, "What will others think?" I wanted to pretend I had been a Christian all along!
In yesterday's blog "Day One", I shared that God has come to us through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. John the Apostleexplains that through these "comings" of God to His people, we can be OVERcomers...
“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the one who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement (I John 5:5-8).”
This is how we overcome the world. This is the journey to becoming the holiness of God…
1. The Blood: I believe that Jesus shed His blood on the cross as a sacrifice for ME. He died for MY sins. I testify that I believe in Him, confess that I have sinned, accept His forgiveness, and enter into an eternal relationship with Him.
2. The Water: I publicly testify that I believe and have received Jesus Christ as Savior of my life by being baptized with water. This symbolizes to others that Jesus has washed away my sins and I have chosen to live my life for Him.
3. The Spirit (Fire): I seek a greater infilling of the Holy Spirit by surrendering more and more areas of my life to God. In response, the Holy Spirit purifies my heart’s desires, refines my personality, empowers me to overcome bad habits and secret sins. He cleanses my life and makes me holy, not just for my sake, but for the sake of inviting others to "Come to Christ".
Will you "Come to Jesus" through the "Holy Spirit" and enter into the throne room of the God who loves you and has come to you? The next few days, our writers will be discussing ways in which we Come To Him.
Ladies, I wanted to close by adding this hindsight of my Christian life. I was finally baptized with water in my mid-thirties, alongside my daughter, who was just a teen. It was a glorious and life-changing occasion! It was an act of obedience to God, my Father. Resisting this public testimony of faith truly crippled me in my walk with God as a child and young adult. Entering that water demonstrated my faith that Christ had washed away my sin. It also washed away the pride that prevented me, as a child, from telling anyone that I had accepted Christ as my Savior. This was a huge stumblingblock throughout my life. I was missing so much of the glory of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit! I pray you will surrender your all to Him and be filled to the fullest measure of the love of Christ!