Saturday, November 29, 2008

When I Encountered Grace

I remember it as it was yesterday the first time I heard a preacher preach the gospel so crystal-clear it almost there and then completely changed me. It is almost five years ago. Joseph Prince visited Norway for the first time. The announcements had in advance proclaimed what he stood for and that he had received revelations from God that had changed him from an ordinary preacher who usually would balance grace with law into someone who solely preached God’s grace. Prince thought he preached grace until God told him he didn’t. This was an eye-opener for the young man who had to discard all his manuscripts and begin all over again.

It was an odd experience to be present and in a physically way sense how the atmosphere in the room changed when Pastor Prince was preaching. It was almost as a sigh of relief permeated the premises when he with conviction and eloquence explained the new covenant.

In the car on my way home some tears of happiness escaped because I had been given some answers to the many questions I had faced as a Christian. The tears flowed because my inner yearning and pain for the truth was met that day, and inexplicable paradoxes in the Bible were solved when they were read through new covenant lenses. Grace gave those sections in the scripture a new meaning and everything seemed all of a sudden so simple and logical. I have during the years heard many messages and read many Christian books which only purpose, it might seem, are to put heavy burdens on persons like me instead of pointing at Jesus.

The years after have been a process where I have become more secure in my own grace walk. I have learned to accept my shortcomings and have a profound understanding that God loves me and accepts me anyhow. I have stopped giving myself faith objectives and have stopped using my inner strength to become a better person. What transforms me on a daily basis is God’s grace. I do not feel condemned anymore when I am reading a criminal book filled with horrible details or listen to music which would give other Christians nightmares. I am who I am – this is how God has created me.

Grace has taught me to appreciate diversity. I cannot stand conformity or people trying to fit everyone in the same mould. I feel despair when preachers manipulate the assembly by giving them an inward glance instead of helping them to direct their eyes towards God. Well, to be honest I become angry. Not as angry as I would become only a few years ago. It is quite easy to become a legalistic grace adherent, you see. But, that is a part of the process I assume.

Now I am sitting here in my coach hoping someone will read what I am writing with such joy and inspiration. I believe I have the gift of preaching. In bed at night I am often daydreaming being behind the pulpit delivering a message that I am certain will encourage and set people free. Most doors have been closed so I have assembled quite a reservoir of unused messages.

When the idea of initiating a blog came to me it was confirmed in my heart with a joyful yes. Since the heart is the place where the Holy Spirit dwells, and it so fun to write I assume I am where God wants me to be. An important confirmation has also been Steve McVey finding time to reply on a comment I posted in his blog. He told me I could use his articles, translate them and publish them in my blog. By the way; Steve McVey had also played an important role in my grace walk. I have had the pleasure of listening to him at several occasions when he has visited Norway and I have read several of his books. He has definitely helped me become a deep-rooted grace walker.

Don’t believe all those who give you an impression that to follow what you desire is in conflict with God’s will. I assert it is the other way around. It is when we follow our hearts we really live and flourish. Jesus did come to give us abundance of life (John 10:10).

Have I reached the finish line? Have I grasped everything? No, there are days when shame and guilt smothers me. There are days when the feeling of failure and impurity envelops my soul like a thick carpet and I have neither strength nor boldness to approach God. But, this happened much more frequently before.

God has invited me on a journey which is unbelievably joyous. Before, I dreaded the day when I had to give up everything and follow God, something which of course is religious nonsense. I have not lost anything – I have gained everything.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

That's an encouraging testimony, i also have had my eyes opened by listening to Joseph prince and Steve McVey! Stay with it brother, it is only the tip of the iceberg. God is even better than we know.