And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” …you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1, selected verses
This is one where I am asking you to write the ending for me. I truly am at a loss and invite your perspective on this dilemma of mine.
I’ve gone to church since my earliest memories. I suppose you could say I’ve been a Christian all my life. I’ve never led a life of substance abuse or had (serious) mental issues. I’ve been active in church since I was an acolyte and on up to church president. Like Paul wrote in Romans, I don’t always behave as I should. I give to church and Christian charities. I’ve helped some strangers in distress, and done…tried to do what Jesus asks of us. And I’m not trying to punch my ticket, so to speak. I do these things, because I want to do what God wants me to do.
I’ve never had a “come-to-Jesus” epiphany. I’ve never had Jesus and/or the Spirit dry me out from whatever addiction, strengthen me to beat some sort of disorder, or had a life transformation.
“12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[c] anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:10-14
Yeah, no miracles either. In high school I went to a Christian coffee house near home. One regular was deaf – prob’ly still is – and one evening after a bible study, I started thinking, “Why not ask God for a miracle and heal him of his adversity?” That’s biblical, right? And I really believed that sure, we could pray for him and ask for a healing.
When we asked him if he’d want that, he indicated, no, I’m used to being this way. I think I recall seeing something like fear in his eyes.
So, no epiphany, no becoming a new creature in Christ, no miracles. It’s just me trying to lead the life Jesus wants me to lead, hoping and praying I’m not one of those that He rejects, even though they did miracles in His Name.
“21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 7:21-23
I know that there are different spiritual gifts. Not everyone gets to be a healer, but I don’t know ANYONE with that gift. You’d think SOMEONE at a church of the size I attend would have that gift. Or tongues. Or prophecy.
So, now that I’ve spilled my guts and maybe look foolish, is there anyone else in my boat? Anyone who used to be in my boat? Or is Satan deluding me into doubting salvation with these thoughts?
I’m not going to suppose anyone has the answer, but maybe, if this turns into a clearing blog entry of sorts, maybe we all get edified and/or educated.
I’m ringing the bell for round one. Everyone play nice and no hitting below the belt!