I had another realization this Sunday in Bible Class.
I was saved and baptized when I was 9 years old. That’s pretty young, but I fully understood what I was doing and felt called by God. I have always been someone who follows rules, so before my salvation experience, I was a good little 9-year-old kid. Afterwards, I was still a good little 9-year-old kid. I don’t have a big conversion story where there was a drastic change in my life.
I have always struggled with how to share my testimony when I don’t have much to say about my conversion experience. Of course I sinned before I was saved, but I’ve sinned plenty after I was saved too.
But lately, in our Becoming a Contagious Christian series, we’ve talked a lot in our class and LIFE Group about the “becoming” part. We tend to put a lot of emphasis on the initial conversion experience, but the reality is we will continue “becoming” for the rest of the time that we are on this Earth.
I’ve realized that my story includes my conversion experience, but then it also includes every other experience from that point on. How I’ve screwed up and been redeemed…over and over! Lessons that I have learned along the way. Ways that I have grown. Ways that God has obviously shown up and in my life and touched me. How I’ve lost faith over and over again along the way and God continues to bring me back to him. How God has truly been changing my life. How God has loved me through it all!
And I’ve realized that because of the experiences I have had, I find it much easier to connect with people. That doors to spiritual conversations will be flung open wide if I choose to listen to others’ stories and help any way I can from the experiences that I have had. And people need to see how we are allowing God to change our lives on a daily basis!
Everyone’s conversion experience is incredibly important! Just don’t forget that the rest of your story is equally important! And people need to hear about it!
I had the realization in Bible class on Sunday that as long as I think that I’m in the converting business, I’m probably not going to do much. I’m going to feel overwhelmed and do nothing.
We have grown up being told that we need to convert people…get them saved! We’ve been trained our whole lives to do this.
But the reality is, the vast majority of us (me included!) are not even attempting it! We’re scared out of our minds about it!
The task seems too great! We are unsure of what to say or do. It seems like such a big deal, a lot of work, and probably a whole of time that we would need to invest in order to see a conversion take place. It’s completely overwhelming.
But if I shift my focus to just having a spiritual conversation, I feel like I can do that. It starts to seem possible. If a spiritual conversation is my ultimate goal…and I give God the job of converting (it’s been his job all along!), that feels like a lot less pressure!
It’s kind of nice to realize that it’s not all up to me. I can be a small step in someone’s journey and not have to feel responsible for the outcome. That’s between them and God. And it’s really kind of selfish of me to think I have a bigger role in this thing than I really do. Yes, God will use us. But ultimately it’s all about God. And we’re here to give him the glory.
I’m embarrassed to say how long I’ve thought this, but here goes!
Up until recently, when someone I knew got saved and accepted Christ into their hearts and lives, I was like “Woohoo! Another person escaping Hell when they die! They get to go to Heaven! Yay!!!”
While that is all true, I really missed the point. There’s way more to salvation!
It’s not all about just making sure you wind up in Heaven one day. The truth is that as soon as you are saved, you start the journey of experiencing Heaven on Earth. Life isn’t the same.
Putting Christ on in salvation and baptism is just the first step on the road to having a relationship with God. And in this relationship, and the developing of it, is where you see Heaven on Earth. It’s where you feel his presence, his love, his grace, his forgiveness, his mercy, etc. And these things draw us closer to God.
So, I was wrong. And I’m glad I was wrong and have realized how much more is out there for us!
God’s kingdom is coming…but it’s also already here with us. Because God is here with us!
And it’s just a bonus that we get to spend eternity with him too!