Living His Story Ch 7
Stories of finding Jesus
‘Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you, but also all those who are listening to me today might become such as I am - except for these chains’ Acts 26:29.
Paul’s prayer in Acts Chapter 26, that all the people who heard him, might come to know and experience Jesus as he did, realistically notes that this could be a quick or a slow process. Paul came to faith dramatically and famously on the road to Damascus. I used to think that I too came to faith quickly; I did have a dramatic and instantly life changing Damascene moment, but I’ve come to recognise, and even more so in the wake of reading ‘Living His Story’ this lent, that seeds were sown, nudges were given, links were made and holes in my world view had already opened up. The ground had been diligently prepared over the years for my dazzling moment of realisation by people who probably never thought for more than a minute or two that their words, action, or witness would have had such a lasting and transforming impact upon me.
All of us who engage in evangelism long for those we witness to and those whom we love to instantly fall down on their knees in response to what we say about our life changing experiences of Jesus. I wonder, as we reflect on our disappointment, when invariably they don’t, whether we ever stop to take into account our own route to a personal faith in Jesus. Did we respond in the moment to just one conversation, one talk or one experience that touched upon the gospel message? Or have our own experiences been part of a much bigger and more intricate and imaginative journey?
Jesus calls each one of us into unique roles in his kingdom. What we experience and how we live prior to that call shapes us into the people we need to be to live it out - this process may be quick, or it may take a lifetime to build up the life experience, gifts and skills that we need to serve God where he calls us. Our journey, like our faith, is a multilayered experience, rich and diverse, filled one moment with hope and the next with challenge. Our lives before we come to faith were not empty of meaning, they were a complex part of God’s plan, as are the lives of those we have the privilege to speak of Jesus to. God is so much bigger than the church. The church is the community that he calls us to be a part of, because we simply cannot do what he calls us to alone - we are made for community, but we would be wise to remember that He is not limited to the church or by the church.
We need to keep an open mind as we mix with people for whom imagining a world other than the one they currently reside in quite impossible. As Hannah reminds us, helping to initiate someone into the Kingdom is only the start of this extraordinary journey of discipleship, which is the joyful work of a lifetime, a road to Emmaus, where God reveals his truth and his love to us over and over.
Hopefully this lent journey through ‘Living His Story’ has been for you, as it has been for me, a period of personal reflection and a period of equipping. God doesn’t call us to evangelise because we know instinctively what to do, He calls us because we are ordinary and our ordinary lives are relatable to the hundreds of other ordinary people that he calls us to gently nudge along the pathway to faith.
Click here at 1pm today to join us on Zoom for a further discussion, questions below.
How do you feel the story of your journey to faith affects others? How do those of others affect you?
What are some of the ways you might be able to help gently nudge people along the pathway to faith?