I love hearing other people talk about their spiritual journey and what brought them to know the Lord. If you listen to enough of these stories you will find there are similarities that offer clues to identifying our calling.
These similarities seem to be universal. In researching this a bit I noticed some folks want to come up with fancy words as descriptors. Ok, so I get that. I dreamed up “gracedrops” remember? Geologists have lots of verbiage as well… one of our professors at UF used to call them “hundred dollar words” – ha! I liked that. Nonetheless, the truth be told, as someone who is interested in sharing the Gospel of Jesus, I would advise if you’re interested in drawing people in to think about laying down the fancy lingo. I’ll take the props for that one and step down off the soapbox and on to the meat and potatoes…
The Similarities Of All Of Our Faith Stories:
– Our faith stories center on a person or event. It may even be multiple people or events. The people may be complete strangers or life-long buddies. Interestingly, sometimes we won’t even recognize their impact on our hearts and in our lives until years later. Such was the case with my friend John Hall. There are a handful of these people/events for me. I believe it was all part of God’s plan.
– There is turning point. This may be the Ahhh Haaa moment when we finally “get it.” The turning point can also be defined as when our faith becomes bigger than the questions we have about it. Then we can say that our faith is in viable competition for our heart.
Many faith stories stall at this point. Why? It’s no secret. Just like the ministry of many churches stall… it’s because we get comfortable and we fail to take the next step to continuing down the path. We fold inward. Maybe it’s the personification of how life as we know it might just end in the hands of some “grim reaper” of a church leader who will take us down some sacrificial pathway. Yikes, I wouldn’t want to head on hand in hand with that man either!! Or, it may just be we don’t really want to be more like Jesus (i.e., there are other gods or idols that block the path). Unfortunately, whatever the case may be, many will dawdle at this point, or at least tarry for a period of time.
To paraphrase Rick Warren, the famous pastor and author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” one of the reasons that Jesus came was to give purpose to our lives…
“You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that life will never make sense.” RW
Yes there is a next step…
“We could be the life-transforming salt and light in a darkened world which God has always intended his covenant people to be.” Dallas Willard
– Discipleship. Along with that making more disciples. When Jesus called us to follow Him that’s what he was talking about, being disciples. So if our faith stories center on a person, event or turning point, our calling and after that is to follow Him in a process of transformation to more of an inner likeness as Christ Jesus. That change happens primarily in our heart. Indeed, the heart is the wellspring of life. From the heart it molds our character and forms the outward expression of our whole self. Beyond question, reputation management with flair… the self-help that CAN be bought but not from those Dr. Phil chat sessions or a PR firm… from the most valuable and worthwhile lesson ever presented for one to learn.
Can you point to a specific person or event that had a significant impact in your faith story?
Image courtesy of Meir Jacob on flickr.com