I have always known about God, but I’ve never had a personal relationship with Him. I was raised Catholic, I attended Sunday school, and I went to church every week. I knew about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but I never really knew how all of these connected. Although I never knew about all of these things in depth, and I never really read the bible or studied scripture, I see now that God was there all along. At times, I heard my family mention God, and it was always important to pray, but there was nothing that ever stirred deep conservations about His greatness.
Even in the midst of not knowing, there has always been a pull upon my heart to know more. I am grateful that my mom allowed me to visit other churches that my friends attended, and many things that I experienced in other denominations I did not have a clue about. I always loved religion classes and would do extra work to know more about God. I had several spiritual experiences and encounters when I was younger, along with very vivid dreams and visions. There were also things that I would be able to discern about people and see where they were spiritually, but I never fully understood what that meant. No one could ever really explain that to me, but I did have encouragement from my religion teachers, even though I never shared any of my experiences with anyone until later on in the future.
When I got to college, I was exposed to God a lot more and learned about His character and the Holy Spirit. As I read more and began to hear people speak of what it meant to be “saved,” it scared me because I thought to myself, “I love God, so that means I am saved right?” As the years went on, I had friends that I could share with and talk to about who God really was and what it meant to be saved. For a long time I thought that I had a clear understanding of what being saved was about until I moved to New York and attended church with a friend. It was here that I had a true encounter with Christ and this was unlike anything I had ever experienced or known; it was only the beginning.
I began to grow in the body of Christ and God surrounded me with a family of believers. I gave my life to the Lord in 2004. It’s funny because I wanted to really make sure I was saved and I wanted God to know that I was serious. There was even a time period between 2004-2005, that anytime there was an alter call to get saved or receive prayer, I was up there. In addition, when I discussed it with my mom that I was ready to get baptized, she became uncomfortable because she believed that I was already baptized when I was a baby in the Catholic Church. At times, it was hard to express my growing love for Christ with my family because they were a bit skeptical about the church I was attending. It was not Catholic, and perhaps it seemed that I was just too into the church and God in a way they had not known. I can remember my mom mentioning her concern that the church I attended might be a cult or something. All I could do was laugh to myself. but on a more serious note I continued to pray about this.
Sharing Christ boldly earlier on in my faith with family and others was uncomfortable because I did not believe that I had the clarity and understanding of the Word to share it sufficiently. Even now, with me being more equipped and maturing in my walk with Christ, I realize that coming to understand God is never-ending and eternal. There is always more to learn, and you come to realize that you really do not know anything. We always want to share the gospel eloquently and as if we are knowledgeable, but if Jesus is not at the center and the heart of what we are sharing then it is pointless.
If you really take the time to look at the outline of your life, you will see how the Lord’s hand has been guiding you, even before you realized it. If you remember this as you are sharing the gospel and you remember that it is not about you but that His word stands alone in itself, perhaps you will allow the Holy Spirit to have His way. This is Who should be leading us as we speak and share the Word; the boldness comes from Him.
“And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God,” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5, English Standard Version).
A lot of times, we try to formulate words in our own fashion to adequately describe the gospel and we always come up short. Our human language does not have the capacity to describe the glory of God in all His majesty. It is difficult sometimes to put our own thoughts and feelings about the Bible to the side and really hear what God is trying to say.
Allow God and His word to speak for itself in your life as you share and walk by faith.
daily devotional Francine Ott