Having divorced parents means that it’s quite rare my mum and dad will see eye to eye on a subject. However, there are the occasions where their advice compliments one another’s. One of these times came in the form of me sharing my faith with my peers.
I really like telling people about God, especially my friends. If I care about you in the slightest, I’ll want you to know God and what Jesus did for you on the cross.
However, none of my friends have given their life to God and as a young, easily excitable Christian, I can find myself getting quite down about it. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. I’m not afraid to tell them about God, to offer to pray with them and attempt to live a life that reflects Jesus.
Even my recovery is based around wanting to reflect God’s love. I’ve gone through some rough times as of late, God is the only reason why I haven’t gone off the rails. So I stay strong, in the hopes that one day someone will ask me how on earth I survived what I did. Then when they ask, I can tell them about this amazing God who saved my life.
But no body that I’ve spoken about him have come to know God. Whats kind of bummer. God is just amazing and I really want people to know about him.
As I’m the type of person who doubts themselves an aweful lot, it’s made room over time for some insecuritys to creep in.
One way or another, the topic of conversation bith my parents has moved to how you tell people about God. Both of them have a significantly longer relationship with God than I have, and are much more mature and knowledgeable than I am. So, they seemed like a good place to start asking questions too.
Their responses were so profound to me that I’d like to share them with you guys.
I wasn’t brought up in the church despite both my parents knowing God. The reasons why are long so I’ll spare you that for now. So if what I’m saying sounds almost like basic knowledge to you, I can only apologise. I can only hope that there’s someone else who read this that learns something from it.
Dad: At the end of the day, you can tell people about God as much as you want. But its God who will open their eyes, not you.
Mum: A lot of the time you’ll never see the outcomes of what you’re doing. It’s not often you’ll see people who you’ve been telling about God come to faith. What you’re doing is planting seeds by telling them about God. When the time’s right, God will water those seeds and they’ll come to know him.
What I took away from that was IT’S NOT ABOUT ME.
Yes, I have to be living a life that reflects Jesus and telling them about God. All of those things are very important. However, ultimately its God who’s going to open their eyes and touch their hearts, not me.
When I look back at how I came to know God, I realise just how true that is.
I went to New Wine about four years ago. It was the first time I’d ever been and I had no relationship with God. Sure I had started going to church and to a Christian youth group, but I didn’t know God.
During that week I started to come to an understanding about who God was. One night, close to the end of the week, the friend that I went with prayed with me in a fashion.
I couldn’t tell you what the evening had been about, I only remember that at some point we were all asked to close our eyes and invite God in and see what happened. I gave it a go with the logic of ‘well what do I have to lose?’ Nothing happended with me at all, but after a while the person leading the evening asked you to raise your hand if nothing had happened, so the people around you would come and pray with you as you carried on inviting God in.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that the person who came over to me was the friend I came with and convinced me to go to New Wine. As they were praying with me I felt the holy spirit for the first time. I’m not talking in a small way either. I’m talking in a Oh shit, this is all real kind of way. To this day, I’ve never felt the holy spirit like that.
I don’t think they realised, but that night was a turning point for me. From then onwards I had an understanding that God was real. However, it wasn’t till the following year that I gave my life to God. A whole year!
But it’s not like I wasn’t around Christians during that year. I’d started going to a new church. I was surrounded by Christians and the pastor of the church was an incredible teacher. It’s not like people weren’t telling me about God.
However, in the end, it was God who opened my eyes a year later. It was God who moved in my heart and made me get on my knees in a freezing cold tent late at night, all alone and give my life to him.
Yes, the people around me told me about God, but it was God himself who saved me.
I still have a weeks break left before I’m back at college.
As painful as the place has been for me, I’ve always tried to think of it as a mini mission field. I’d like the people there to know God. It has been hard, it’s been so hard especially since I’ve just wanted to isolate myself in order to heal.
However, I think I’m going to be going back to college with a whole new mindset.
I want the life I live to reflect God’s love. I’d like to be bold in how I talk about God. But I’m not going to carry on feeling ashamed because none of my classmates have come to have a relationship with God. I’m not going to listen to the lie that says that I’m a terrible Christian because at the end of the day, it’s not about a religion it’s about a relationship with God.
So I’m going to carry on planting seeds.
But now I understand that it’s God who’s going to make them grow, not me.