I hope you will bear with me in this blog post. It’s a bit of a testimony of my Christian walk and maybe similar to some of yours. We weren’t all “born in the church”; some of us (like me) “saw The Light” much later. This journey we are on as believers in Christ is an amazing journey but sometimes it’s hard to see “God’s guideposts” as He directs our paths. Do you ever feel like that? Trying to discern where your will ends and God’s will begins is sometimes hard to see. I don’t know how long you’ve been on your Christian walk. Maybe you have not yet accepted Christ and started down that narrow path. If not, the steps are simple. You simply come as you are. Here’s what God says is required: (Romans 10:9) “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Once we confess our sins and accept Jesus as our Savior, here’s what God says in (Luke 10:27) “He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Of course, loving like that in our own strength is impossible. That’s one of the great blessings we receive – God’s strength will work in and through us and His love will enable us to love others. Now, back to the topic at hand…
My husband and I both accepted Christ in our thirties. Our Christian walk seemed to head down the road fast and furious. However as we look back, it really took us quite a while to “get it”, “connect the dots”, or “see clearly”. Neither one of us grew up in the church. My husband did go occasionally as a child and knew many of the Bible stores. I was, on the other hand, clueless. I only have one memory of attending church as a child. It was Easter morning when I was 5 years old. What I remember is walking into the church and my Sunday school class wearing a new dress, patent leather shoes and white gloves (I felt so wonderful in those things). My mother tells me that we attended a few times after that but I really don’t remember those times. I did not know any of the Bible stories that most children learn. So, when I accepted Christ at age 30, my learning curve was huge! Unfortunately, we were raising 5 children at the time and they suffered from our lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. We all went to church whenever the doors were open. My husband and I read our Bibles but, it took us a long time to figure out how to walk out our faith in Jesus. Therefore, we didn’t show/teach that to our children. We simply didn’t know how ourselves (at least I didn’t). You know this saying is so true – “You don’t know what you don’t know”! Something was missing but I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t even realize enough to pray and ask God for it! I do, however, remember spending my lunch hours in God’s Word. It seemed like I could not get enough of it. I felt like I was so many years behind that I wasn’t sure how I would catch up and move forward. I knew that we needed to somehow incorporate our faith at home with our kids either reading or doing some sort of devotion or Bible study with them. But, frankly, it was all we could do to keep up with their school work, extra-curricular activities, keeping up with cooking, cleaning and laundry – not to mention all the outside chores. Thankfully my husband got home from work before me so he got to be the “homework helper” when needed (I do thank God for that one!). Our priorities were misplaced. Well, we can’t go back and change the past or re-do those years. We can only go forward and pray for God’s grace to cover our mistakes. Three of our five children are serving God and we are so very thankful. We are still praying for the other two and know that their salvation is for sure within the will of God. He wants all to come to Him through Jesus.
Knowing God’s Word: The only way to know God’s Word is to read it. To truly understand God’s Word, as a believer, you have the Holy Spirit to guide you into understanding. The more I read my Bible, the more I see and understand. Even after reading it through many times, it is still fresh every time I pick it up. God seems to speak to us just where we are and gives us answers when we are seeking them. He truly loves us so much that he provides all we need. To summarize, we must know God’s word in order to: (1) obey it, (2) recognize the counterfeit and deceiver’s lies, and (3) share it with others. That brings me to the next part of today’s title…
Praying God’s Word: There is no better assurance of praying in God’s will than praying His Word back to Him. What a journey of prayer God has taken me on! I was terrified to pray out loud for years. I thought I had to pray a certain way. After all, I had heard preachers and others pray and their prayers sure didn’t sound like me talking to anyone, let alone our Creator! I didn’t know and couldn’t feel right speaking in their words and ways. It just wasn’t me. Did I need to change? I wasn’t sure but I knew I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of a group of people. Remember, I was the one who didn’t know anything about God’s Word and was frantically trying to catch up. Well, God, in His infinite wisdom and patient guidance, taught me to pray as I was ministering to children and praying with them. He is so gracious! It was a long journey and God was pushing and giving me strength all the way. Praying is like second nature to me now. All I had to do was finally realize that I didn’t have to speak in a certain way or use special words. God just wanted me (and all of us) to talk to Him. So, however you speak – that’s it. I made something so simple seem so hard. As I begin this new ministry (blog and prayer gatherings) I wonder…was God preparing me for this all along? Funny how hindsight is so clear.
Living God’s Word: Now we come to where the rubber meets the road (had to use that analogy – it’s May in Indiana and the 100th running of the Indy 500 is almost here. Yes, I’m a Hoosier.) The only way we can live out God’s Word is through His power at work in us and the Holy Spirit guiding us. In January 1997 I changed jobs. It was by far the best job and best company I had ever experienced – a perfect fit for me. The funny thing is that I wasn’t looking for a job but a previous co-worker kept hounding me about it until I finally created a resume and applied. I got the job and shortly after I started, one of my new co-workers shared with me that she had been praying for God to send a Christian to fill the position I had taken. It didn’t take me long to realize the blessing was mine! God led me there because I needed her guidance and example. She truly walked her talk. God was (and is) in every part of her life. She saw Him at work everywhere and included Him in all things. Through her example, I kept seeking and finally found what I was looking for – clear vision. I will never forget the day my eyes were opened and I could actually see God at work around me. I can’t explain it but I just knew that I knew that I knew and the light bulb has been on ever since (thank you, Jesus). People at work were drawn to my new friend because the love and light of Christ were evident in her. She truly cares about others and shows it. She is a wonderful encourager but is brave enough to hold you accountable to God’s Word if you are a Christian. That is what we are all called to be and do. She retired a few years ago and is sorely missed. We are still dear friends and maintain our relationship. If you don’t have a Christian friend/mentor/prayer partner, I encourage you to ask God for one. It’s an incredible blessing.
So, where are you on your walk? Are you on the narrow path yet? Have you been wandering around for a while? Are you “comfortable” or allowing God to nudge you into the unknown? I would love to read your story. Simply comment or reply to this post.
Whatever point you find yourself on this path, please keep moving forward. Your life depends on it.
p.s. I have a bonus for all of you living in the Avon, Indiana area. On Saturday, June 4, the dear friend that I mentioned above will be sharing with us at our next “prayer gathering” before we get down to the business of praying. You can find all the details on the “gathering” page of this blog.