My friend’s words caused me to think of my own faith journey.
In Sunday School my young heart warmed toward God when I heard the stories of David and Goliath and Zacchaeus, the wee little man. My grandmother made sure I treated God with respect. No food in my mouth when we blessed our meal.
But I’d never thought of myself as a sinner in need of saving. I wasn’t even sure what people were saved from. At youth camp that changed when a youth leader explained John 3:16.
That night, the Holy Spirit cut through my blameless veneer and exposed a self-centered core. I’d wronged God, and my sin had sent Jesus to the cross.
The realization broke—and healed—my heart. The gospel became personal. Jesus didn’t just love this conglomerate called “world.” He loved me!
I returned from camp on top of the world—a citizen of heaven—a child of God. Could anything be better?
But the glow faded. I didn’t sprout wings as I’d hoped. I still bristled when Mama said, “Clean your room.” I still fussed when my little sister got into my stuff. Knowing Jesus assured me of heaven when I died, but it didn’t seem to make much difference in this life.
In college, I spent a weekend with some vibrant Christians. Their lives created a thirst to know God better. A friend invited me to her Bible study. We listened to audio tapes of someone teaching the Bible. This group read the Bible as if it meant what it said.
I’d read my Bible for years, but it raised more questions than answers. I viewed the Bible through my own understanding. I kept what agreed with my world view and threw out the parts that didn’t. No wonder it didn’t make sense!
A Turning Point
Those I met who simply trusted the Scriptures showed more joy and peace than I felt. I faced a choice. Would I trust in my own understanding, or would I believe the Scriptures?
I exchanged my know-it-all approach for childlike faith, and the Scriptures became alive to me. Questions, I thought could never be answered in this life, became clear. Scales fell off of my eyes.I exchanged my know-it-all approach for childlike faith in the Scriptures, and they became alive to me. #faith Click To Tweet
I told my friend, “I feel I’ve been living blindfolded all my life, and now I see.”
Even how I saw the evening news changed. Life brimmed with the presence of God, and I couldn’t get enough of Him.Life brimmed with the presence of God, and I couldn’t get enough of Him. #joy Click To Tweet
Becoming a Doer of the Word
A college friend’s gentle correction taught me my Bible offered more than inspiration. I needed to do what it said (James 1:22). When I grumbled over my typos (This was before delete keys!), she said, “I guess you’re learning to give thanks” (see 1 Thes. 5:18).
Hmm. My mouth hadn’t been spouting thanksgiving. But I decided to try it. It felt weird to thank God for mistakes. But she was right. Giving thanks changed my attitude and cleaned up my mouth. As I saw the change happening in me, I felt thankful!
Maybe you’ve developed a thirst to be close to God or a longing for more joy and peace. You can be as close to God as you want to be.
Tips for Your Journey
- Approach God as your heavenly Father.
Do you want to know God better? Ask your heavenly Father with the faith a secure child would ask her daddy for new soccer shoes and know he’d provide the right size.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7: 7-11 NIV).
- Approach Scripture as a child.
Trade cynicism and an intellectual approach for childlike wonder when you read the Bible.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do’” (Luke 10:21 NIV)
- Approach all of life as sacred
Don’t divide life into secular and sacred parts. Practicing God’s presence while filling the car with gas reminds us He is always with us.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10 NIV).
- Approach challenges as opportunities to experience God
Only one person ever lived the Christian life. Let Jesus express His life through you.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NIV).
A full and satisfying life doesn’t come from riches and power but from closeness to Jesus. He holds out His arms and says, “I’m waiting. How close do you want to be?”