At the age of thirty-three Jesus encountered my life and turned it upside down and inside out. For the previous two years, unbeknownst to me at the time, He had been drawing me, placing me in various situations and events leading up to that one powerful moment.
Up until then, I was completely unaware of God. I had never stepped foot in a church, except to get married, and had never opened a Bible. A married man with two young children, my life revolved around business and sport, with little time for my family and not an iota of thought for God or any form of religion. But that day in May 1986, Jesus broke into my lost state and changed my life forever. I was miraculously born again and a deep and abiding love for Jesus was birthed inside of me.
In those early days of my walk with the Lord, I knew Jesus was alive and real, but I had little understanding of who He was. Out of a deep and pervasive longing for more of Him, I began to read the Bible, which only resulted in an insatiable appetite for the Word of God. I was captivated by it, and couldn’t put it down; to the point where I would take my bible to work and read it before I started, at lunch or during any gap. I would go home as soon as I could and walk around the house reading the bible. At times I think I drove my wife crazy.
Over the years, I was fortunate to develop a lifestyle of much time in the Word, without initially realizing what God was doing. As I look back, I see some of what the Holy Spirit did in me through His Word. Today I want to highlight two of these:
Through repeated reading of the Gospels and Acts, and much Spirit-led meditation, I developed a hope and an expectation for the things of the Kingdom. Faith began to rise up in me. I wanted to experience and see the Kingdom. I believed Jesus when he said: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) I took Him at His word, so not only did I start to hope for the things of the Kingdom, I started to expect them.
Something else that happened through the reading of the Word is that God established me in truth. I began to see that the true Christian life was not dependent on feelings or circumstances, but on the truth of the Word of God. Because of this, when the tough times came, when I got “hit by the freight train of life”, I was able to stand firm and remain strong, because I knew what the Word said, and that the Word was truth – despite my fickle feelings and the varying circumstances of life.
What is now abundantly clear to me is that unless I had read the Scriptures and seen the Kingdom of God, I would never have known and developed an expectation for it. Unless I’d read the truths in God’s word, I would never have become established in them. We can have met Jesus and know Him as our Savior, but unless we make ourselves aware of His Person and of the truths of His Kingdom, we don’t know what we have been born into. We don’t know what we can trust for and put our faith in. And it will be very difficult to live an effective Christian life without know what it’s all about.