<<first hand knowledge>>
Genuine salvation starts with a heart ‘moment’ that continues as a vital ongoing relationship with Jesus, resulting in a total life transformation, not just the accumulation of head knowledge or facts (2 Cor 5:17). It’s only as we experience Him that we can make a valid recommendation to others, telling what the Lord has done for us (Ps 34:8; Mk 5:19). Throughout life observe and learn from the good and bad experiences of others (as well as of your own) both in the natural and spiritual realms – what to do, what not to do, how and when. Keeping a journal, mentoring and being accountable to and in close fellowship with others assists in this. We need wisdom and help to live, so meditate much in the Bible especially the book of Proverbs where the writer says, “Do not let what I say [words] out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body” (Josh 1:8; Ps 1:1-6: Prov 4:20-22).
Pass on to others sound advice, guidance and how God has led you (Ex 10:2; Deut 6:20-22).
Our claim of being a Christian is proved genuine and effective as it is out worked in daily life, through the love of God and fruit of the Holy Spirit as we are confident God is in control (Rom 8:28; Gal 5:22,23; Phil 1:12; 1 Pet 1:6,7). While past experiences have an effect on the decisions we make today and in the future, they are not to dictate our response. Confront and deal with areas that prevent you entering more fully into what God has for you. The hard times in our lives make us better and stronger Christians if we respond with the right attitude and we can learn more by losing than winning. By honestly evaluating our experiences of the past, we can benefit from them and become better prepared for the future. Don’t allow the experiences of life to be wasted events. Why be content to live so far below God’s expectations and our privilege as His children?
However, do not seek spiritual experiences for themselves, as they are but a manifestation of the one who we should be following. Having a greater awareness and love relationship with Him should be our highest goal rather than any sign or physical expression that would draw attention to us and away from the Lord. Christianity is not about feelings and experiences – it is about being born again, having a deepening relationship with the Lord, reaching the lost and developing Godly character as we make Jesus Lord of all. From the foundation of being with Jesus we are able to go and affect our world (Act 4:13, 17:6).
Just because our experience doesn’t match those in His Word, or the results spoken of, don’t stop doing it – be it praying for the sick and seeing little result, or praying for the lost (Mk 16:15-18). We are to faithfully do what He has told us and leave the outcome to Him. “Do what the Word says” (Jas 1:22). Do not bring God and His Word down to our experience, rather use these as the standard by which our lives and results should be measured and aspired to. It is healthy to experiment with doing things in different ways, trying a different or more contemporary approach, except we are not to experiment with sin or evil practices.
Don’t be satisfied with the theory, reach for reality
you have overcome the evil one” (1 Jn 2:13,14). Has your personal history and spiritual experience been one of defeat and shame? With God’s help, you can change from being overcome by Satan to being an over-comer, from being crushed by the power of sin to being a conqueror, from knowing the theory to living the reality of the power of God. Isn’t this the life you want? Determine to enter into the victory that Jesus died to provide. Making every effort to grow in your knowledge of God and the resources available, and through obedience to the Holy Spirit apply this to your everyday life (2 Pet 3:18).
Jesus experienced temptations so He could relate to us, yet He did not yield to the pressure to sin (Heb 2:18, 4:15). He died not just to get us to heaven; He conquered Satan on our behalf so that we might walk in victory – the reality of what His blood accomplished – and bring His Kingdom into reality in the lives of others too (1 Jn 3:8). “They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony” (Rev 12:11). Am I walking in increasing wholeness and liberation from the power of sin?
It’s as we experience God our faith grows. Unless we are being transformed continually into the likeness of Christ, we are not allowing the truth and His potential to be outworked in our lives – this should extend beyond what happens to us, to what we do with what happens to us.
The victory that Christ gained for us on the cross needs to be demonstrated in our experience as we say ‘no’ to the flesh and ‘yes’ to Him. God sees us as righteous through the blood of Christ; it is our responsibility to make this a reality experientially – by outworking our Christianity in our daily lives.
Become living proof Jesus changes lives
steadily coming into glorious liberty in Christ. Many people set themselves up for defeat through self-fulfilling prophecies, ‘I feel a cold coming on…life is difficult…the kids are so unruly and disobedient…’ These may be true but don’t speak them out, rather bring these matters to God in prayer and claim His help and intervention. By accentuating the uplifting, positive things while reducing or eliminating the negative, energy-sapping comments a change will come in your outlook on life.
Our encounter with Jesus should be getting richer each day – expectantly pray and look for His involvement in your life, continually reaching higher levels of intimacy and usefulness. We can never exhaust the resources and outflow of life He has to display through us to bless humanity. Be thirsty for Him. Don’t go to the dry wells of the world, instead “Whoever is thirsty, let him come and take the free gift of the water of life” (Isa 55:1,2; Jer 2:13; Jn 4:4-14; Rev 22:17).