“As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” – Acts 9:3-5.
What would change in your life if you personally encountered God? If the lives of those in scripture provide any precedent, one God encounter changes everything. Moses, Saul (Paul), and Dwight Moody are just a few examples.
Moses’ encounter with the I Am, in a burning bush, changed him from a stuttering back-country shepherd into a bold leader and deliverer of a nation who could confront the Pharaoh of Egypt, the world’s most powerful ruler. Saul’s encounter with the risen Christ—in a vision on the road to Damascus—transformed him from a firefighting persecutor of Christians into Paul, a fire-igniting apostle who carried the gospel of Christ throughout the Roman Empire. Dwight L. Moody’s encounter with the calling of God—during a prayer meeting in a hayfield—changed him from a poorly educated, unconfident shoe salesman into one of the greatest evangelists of modern times. There are many more examples that prove an encounter with Jesus can be life-changing.
There is a well-known bible story of the woman at the well who had a real Jesus experience. When she met Jesus, her life was transformed. For the first time in her life, she knew that the details of her life mattered to God and she knew for certain that God loved her. This real-life encounter with Jesus was life-changing. When she gets back to town, the woman tells everyone she can find that she’s met the Messiah. Picture this – the woman who just a few hours ago was going to the well in the middle of the day to avoid seeing people comes back into town running around, gathering up as many people as she can find. She tells them that He knew everything about her and her enthusiasm for Him makes them want to meet Him themselves. They believed her based on her testimony about Him, but then they encountered Him and believed even more.
So this, I think, is the most important thing we need to remember about a true encounter with Jesus. When we truly know Him and He’s done all this work in our hearts, we can’t possibly keep it to ourselves. We should be compelled by what He’s shown us and by the love He’s placed in our hearts to help other people meet Him and be changed by Him. A true encounter with Jesus sends us out to tell others about Him.
The God of the universe longs for each of us personally. He wants us to encounter Him. Not some of us but all of us.
- What constitutes an encounter with God to you?
- What can we do in the short term to foster a more intimate relationship with God?