Your story of how Christ redeemed you and what he is doing in your life is one of the most powerful stories you can share with others. It points to God’s holiness, love, and shows his glory. Your story is your witness of Christ’s power, it is your experience. No one can argue with it. The question is, how many of you know your story? I somewhat knew my story, but I had very little practice sharing it and had never written it out. In one of my leadership roles this last winter our team was challenged to each go through a devotional and follow the guiding questions to know and practice your personal story.
If you have never written out or thought about your story of how Christ has changed you consider reading Mark 5, then answering the following questions. Here are my answers:
When did you first realize your need for Jesus? I don’t remember the very first time. I know I was somewhere around 5 when I decided to follow Christ, my parents did and I felt like I wanted to as well. As an adult there have been so many times that I realize I need Jesus. Recently I feel like it is often when I am emotional- either with anger, depression, or sadness. I break down, I want to have love, joy, grace, compassion, but I know those things don’t come from me, they only come from God and through Jesus is the only way I can have them. I turn to him in desperation, wanting an instant change, I cry out in my heart for him.
What have you focused on in the past that didn’t fulfill you? How did you discover that Jesus was the only one that can make you whole? My own pride, my own wisdom. I can have the best of intentions, but when I rely on myself so often I screw up and hurt someone or things don’t work out like I planned. I start out thinking “this is a problem”, which it may be, then I go on “this is what I need to do to fix it”, instead I should be turning to God and asking him, “Lord, what do you want me to do about this?”.
How did Jesus change you? What were you like before you met him? How are you different now? I don’t remember what I was like before Christ, I was so young. I can only imagine though. When I see myself acting on my own accord, I can imagine I wouldn’t have any positive relationships, because when I act apart from Christ I seem to destroy my relationships.
What does Jesus’ desire for a father-daughter relationship mean to you? How does that relationship impact your decisions? Jesus wants to meet with me, he wants to share his love and wisdom with me. He wants me to know that he is more than just a giver of these things, but he can teach me how to be them, how to be like him. As I spend time with Christ I have more patience and joy, I think of others above myself and my relationships grow. I feel more content and loved and at peace.
Was there a time when you had to fill your fearful places with faith instead?
I tend to have a lot of fear, it comes and goes depending on the circumstances and how safe I feel. I don’t feel like it controls my life, but it is an ever present lurking feeling when it is around. My fears are usually physical harm. Physical harm to myself and my family. I fear my husband being in a car accident, my children be taken and abused, I fear being attacked. When I have these feelings I turn to God, I praise him for all he has done and is doing. I ask that he continue to strengthen my faith in his plan and will.
What did you rely on for sustenance and energy before you met Jesus? What does he give you now?
As I shared, I found Jesus at a very young age, so I am not sure. From my personality though I can make a few guesses. I love being cared about by people, receiving encouragement and praise from them and the Lord has surrounded me with people who do just that, especially when He knows I need it the most.
I also have a need to have a purpose in what I am doing, I rarely do anything without a purpose or plan. God gives me purpose, sometimes I loose track of my real purpose, but slowly and gently he pulls me back to the real purpose of life and I try to align my actions and goals to those.
What did you follow before you met Jesus? How are you following him now?
I follow Jesus by seeking out his purpose for my life and following that. When I was teaching short term about 5 years ago, one of my high school students became pregnant and had a child. She struggled to keep up with her school work. My heart went out to her, I wanted to just encourage her and inspire her. Many times since then I felt God giving me a soft nudge towards encouraging and inspiring young moms. After our family moved I began serving at the Pregnancy Crisis Center in our town. Unfortunately this did not work out with my schedule. About a year later, I felt the Lord calling me to start a MOPS group, but the timing wasn’t quite right. After about another year the Lord placed us in a church that believes when God puts something on your heart to follow through and play your role in God’s story. They supported me in my calling. This is one way I follow God, by listening and doing what he leads, whether it be starting a ministry, praying for another person, taking someone a meal, sending a card of encouragement, sharing my knowledge or whatever he wants me to do.
When have you heard Jesus whisper in your ear? What does it mean for you to come alive?
I most often hear Jesus when my heart and mind are quiet. Often this is in the middle of the night, when all is still and quiet. Last spring I set up a prayer corner in my closet, when I am feeling I need to spend time alone with God I sit in there and quiet myself before him and listen.
To me, coming alive means listening and doing the will of God. Without God we wander our own path towards death and destruction. To come alive means Following God in all things, at all costs, and experiencing His peace and joy.
Your story should point to the glory of God, His holiness, and redeeming power. Every story will have 3 general parts:
- What I was like before I met Jesus
- How I met Jesus
- How knowing Jesus changed me