Column: Joining the Battle

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“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus sent him away, saying ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’  So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” – Luke 8:38-39

During the 30 or so years of my life when I ventured nowhere near any church, there were few encounters I found more annoying, less useful and downright silly than with Christians – especially born-again Christians – telling me about their faith in Jesus.

– Annoying because I thought such tales revealed their private emotional and intellectual shortcomings. I didn’t want that; didn’t even want to be close to it.

– Not useful because I did not perceive the wisdom, feel the need or understand the truth of God’s glory and the mystery of salvation.

– Silly because after attending church in my youth, the ensuing years of a college education and communications career taught me so much about reason and outcomes that “seeing was believing” and believing without seeing was just plain silly.

So imagine my surprise 13 years ago today – Nov. 18, 2001 at age 47 – when I came up out of the water as a baptized believer in Christ.

It wasn’t as though demons suddenly, violently departed from my being at the command of Christ (Luke 8:26-39).  I didn’t perceive that I had been shackled naked in a cave, sinner that I was and am. There wasn’t much to tell “all over town.”

No, my new birth from non-believer to believer was gentle like a sunrise, not rattling like a lightning bolt; an awakening rather than an alarm; a process, not a punch. Jesus didn’t throw a net over me and force my faith.  Jesus did what He always does: He patiently waited for the right time in the right setting and knew the right way to reveal to me – personally, with His insistent gaze – what I had been missing.

Because that’s what Jesus is, a person; and does.  It’s what makes Jesus divinely unique: He is specifically and exactly personal, and He is infinitely, eternally and gloriously one with the One God Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth.

Jesus is Emanuel: God with us. He seeks our love and trust.  He fights for us and draws us near, yet gives us freedom in His life, love and grace to reject Him.

When He personally invites us into the battle, it’s crazy to ignore it.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) prays that you recognize the light of Jesus whenever and however it shines in your life, and praises God for this continuing opportunity to tell about Jesus “all over town.”

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