Friday, February 11, 2011

My Personal Experiences in Understanding God's Purposes

Hindsight is really 20/20. Today I can look back over the years and clearly see the plan of God. Beginning from a very young age I was somehow sensitive to spiritual ideas. I attended a one room Methodist Church in the town I grew up in. Later, just prior to my teenage years, I was confronted with the claims of Christ. After the death of my older brother I abandoned any notion of a caring and involved divinity. The next few years brought a time of family and personal strife.

It was in the plan and mercy of God that I would leave the town I grew up in and move to a one bedroom cabin in the wilds of Northern Michigan. My heart and soul was hungry for substance. The freedom and choices I made as a teen and young adult failed to fill the vacuum in my life. God allowed, in His providence, me to meet a young woman who loved Jesus Christ. She was not afraid to speak of her relationship with God. My heart was fertile ground for the seeds of faith to be sowed.

The message of Christ began to have a place in my thinking. The spiritual hunger in my heart grew, I made the decision to trust in Christ and His revelation to me was real. I knew in my heart and mind that God loved me and my faith in the completed work of Christ brought me into fellowship with Christ and my relationship to God was restored. The Holy Spirit had His witness within my spirit, I knew.

I suppose my spiritual growth was the same experienced by millions. I was eager to know as much as I could about Christ and the gospel. I began to read scripture and tried to develop a devotional life, prayer and scripture reading. During this time I began to sense that God was laying the burden upon my heart to communicate the gospel. The burden grew and I acknowledged it to those leaders around me.

The young woman, Donna, became my wife and we found ways to serve God in our local fellowship. She knew of my burden and shared the same in her life. During this time a spiritual struggle was developing in my heart. I knew that I wanted to serve God. I knew that God, through Christ, had my life in His hands. The trouble was, I was not able to do all that I knew, and I was unable to cease from doing what I feared. Sin, the inward power, was at war with my desire to serve God.

My heart and spirit began a period of frustration and crying out to God for answers. The struggle could not really be the will of God. Why would He want me to feel defeated, to sense failure in my desire to serve and love Him wholly. I devoured books and articles about the inner struggle and light was given to my understanding. God was telling me that there was more to His life in me. The Bible, prayer, fellowship with other mature believers and the presence of God Himself spoke to me the truth. My life was the same as reflected by millions of others. I was in need of the Holy Spirit to invade my life and clean house.

That experience was to have its birth during a rather ordinary spiritual retreat. Our guest, a teacher from our own seminary, spoke about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the weekend my prayer was very simple, rather unemotional, yet desperate. God have your way in all of my life, consume everything that is not like you. Fill my life with your presence.

The confirmation, that He indeed had accepted my plea and gift, came that very evening. I was to speak at our fellowship that night about the weekend. The overpowering, warming, unexplainable presence of the Holy Spirit seemed to consume every cell in my body. Now, I knew this, God revealed to me that it was His desire and plan to equip me to live a life honoring to Him. That evening the evidence of His gift to me was also in evidence. Many friends confessed that God spoke to them in a very real and understandable way through my message. The Holy Spirit had gifted me with communication.


1 comment:

  1. First-person stuff always has an amazing, powerful effect on me; thank you for this. Looking forward to the rest ;-)