(Very Important 6-part series)
Having been asked by someone earnestly wishing to understand this and to be able to pray in the Spirit, obviously one could write a whole book on this major topic. But relax... I won't! *hee!* Instead I'll aim to set down just the nitty-gritty of this so important part of our Christian life - over a number of parts, until either the topic or I am exhausted, whichever comes first! *grins broadly* Let's start at the beginning, shall we - always a good place to start I reckon!
BEING BORN A SECOND TIME
Jesus told Nicodemus that to enter te Kingdom of God he had to be born again. Poor Nic was flabbergasted at this and stammered, "W-w-what are You talking about, Lord!" (read this at the beginning of John 3 - it's kinda funny in a way). I was 18 when I finally found the Lord, after many years of searching. Or I guess it was He who found me! What I did was very, very thankfully accept that Jesus died on the Cross for me personally, so all my sins could be forgiven forever. Wow!!
JESUS AS SAVIOUR
Basically all I knew to do at that time was accept Jesus as my Saviour. I did give my life to Him in the sense that I've been with Him from then and every since - by His inestimable grace alone never falling away at any point. Even when I fell into major sin much later on I didn't leave Him. I was sinning and disobedient for a time, but not wanting to be, and soon enough was out of this and back on track.
THE HOLY SPIRIT??
But there's a whole pile more to it all than this, which I was blissfully unaware of at the time. You see this was what we were taught back then. Accept Jesus as Saviour! But this is simply not good enough, and had sad ramifications for me and my life for quite a period. I started to study the Bible immediately I was born again and began learning some wonderful things, but I never saw the "more" that's clearly there! Ask me why! Okay, I'll tell you: you can learn/understand NOTHING from the Scriptures - UNLESS the Holy Spirit of the Living God reveals it to you. No if's no but's!! So what I was not looking for - didn't KNOW what to look for - I simply didn't see! Very sad.
Looking back I'm astonished at this, and amazed I could be so blind. But you see all I knew was Jesus as Saviour, God as Father, and that's about it. My knowledge of the Holy Spirit was almost zilch. I was even preaching fairly regularly by age 19, but man, I seriously needed a lot more than I had at that time. And I had to wait till I wad 31 to get it! I was in far North Queensland by then and it came from way over a thousand miles down South in the form of a cassette tape by an Anglican Minister. How I love that man for opening my eyes to such a VITAL NEW TRUTH as he did!
JESUS IS LORD!
That Minister said so! Spelt it out in clear language that not even a child could miss. And I was utterly blown away! Fact: I'd never heard that Jesus should be Lord over my life! Oh I'd heard the words: 'I give my life to You', even said them myself, but truly this was relatively meaningless - if not totally meaningless - to most of us... quite simply cos it was never EXPLAINED!! How appalling.
Okay, I immediately saw that action was required here, and so to prayer within a matter of hours, and to an astonishingly clear vision the Lord put to me. I found myself on an old sailing ship riding a sea what was not calm. And I was on the plank. Walking the plank, I mean, quite literally! Right out on the end of it I stood as the ship swayed with the ocean swell. Nothing underneath but waves and very deep water. I knew perfectly clearly that I was there to decide if I would take the Lord Jesus Christ to be LORD over all of my life. I stood there for some time and remember having somewhat mixed feelings about what was going on. But two things I knew with absolute certainty:
1. That I had to step off down, down into the waves and water below, and
2. That once I DID there was absolutely no going back ever: that I would be taking Him as Lord of my life FOREVER!
continued in Part 2...
- BM and his Beloved