The Christian Experience

the Christian ExperienceHave you had a fresh Christian experience lately? Or, is your Christian life the same as it was from the day you accepted Christ into your life? For some, it wasn’t that long ago when your new life in Christ started. For others, it was so long ago that it may not seem as new as it once did. In fact, it might even be a little stale.

British evangelist, A. Lindsay Glegg, once shared a story told of an old man who had a wonderful experience twenty-five years earlier, so wonderful that he wrote it all down and called it his “Blessed Experience.” When people visited him he often would bring it out and read it through to them.
One night when a friend called in he said to his wife, “My dear, just run upstairs and bring down my ‘Blessed Experience’ from the drawer in the bedroom.”
She went up upstairs to get it and, on returning, she said, “I am sorry, but the mice have been in the drawer, and have eaten up your ‘Blessed Experience’!”
And a good thing, too! If you had a blessing twenty-five years ago, and have not had one since, you had better forget it and get an up-to-date experience. (citation: Gospel Herald)

They say that experience is the best teacher. And that is true to a large degree. But I say that if a follower of Christ has only one experience, then one hasn’t learned much. For each day that a Christian faces ought to include a fresh experience of grace and knowledge in the Lord.

The Apostle Peter urged the church to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” The aim for experiencing growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus is so that we can bring him glory: “…To him be glory both now and forever. Amen!” (2 Peter 3:18, New International Version, NIV)

Our own “blessed experience” is not so much on the experience as it is on the Person who provides that experience, Jesus Christ. Peter Taylor Forsyth is quoted, “We need an experience of Christ in which we think everything about the Christ and not about the experience.”

A good question one should regularly ask is, “What experience have I had today as a believer in which I can give praise to my Lord?”  That might be a tough one to answer. We routinely go through our daily activities with a lot of things on our minds: “Did I finish all my work I planned to do today? Did I miss any e-mails or phone calls? Are all my bills paid up? Did I feed the cat or dog? What’s on tomorrow’s agenda?” And on and on it goes. By the end of another busy day we might simply be too tired to think about any Christian experience for which we could praise the Lord.

It might be difficult to even think you’ve had a Christian experience that is worth recognizing. You might have the notion that it was not earth shattering enough. No revelations took place. No miracles were witnessed. The heavens didn’t open and angels didn’t appear. But our Christian experience doesn’t always have to be that dramatic.

Elijah once learned that his experience with the Almighty didn’t have to be that way. As this great and powerful prophet was going through a rough time, he was feeling sorry for himself for what he was experiencing in his stand for God. He felt all alone. He thought that he was the only prophet left alive who hadn’t been put to death by wicked Jezebel. So, he went to a cave to get away from it all. That’s when the word of the Lord came to him and told him to go outside and stand on the mountain of Horeb.

The Lord then sent a mighty strong wind that shook the mountain and shattered the rocks, but God was not in the wind. Next, the Lord sent a mighty earthquake but he was not found there, either. After the earthquake there was a devastating fire, but the Lord was not found there, as well. After the fire there appeared a still, small voice or gentle blowing.  The Bible then says,

When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” But God revealed to Elijah that he was not the only prophet left alive serving him. There remained 7,000 more faithful prophets who had not bowed to the idol Baal.  (1 Kings 19:9-18, New American Standard Bible, NASB)

Elijah’s experience with God was not in the great and mighty things but in that still small voice, that gentle blowing of God’s peaceful presence. And how reassuring for us to know that God doesn’t always demonstrate his greatness in dramatic ways like wind, earthquake, and fire. That still small voice will leave us experiencing peace of mind that nothing and no one else can give except through our Lord Jesus and power in his name.
This is the kind of peace that the Apostle Paul described in Philippians 4:4-7,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When you experience God’s inner peace, you know you’ve had a blessed experience. When you’ve had an answer to prayer, you know you’ve had a blessed experience. When you think of something—anything—for which you are thankful that day, you know you’ve had a blessed experience. In reality, there’s not a day that passes that you haven’t experienced the Lord in one way or another. This is the Christian experience that comes through the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it’s a blessing that doesn’t come every twenty-five years. It’s time to get an “up-to-date experience.” Speaking of which, what’s been your experience, lately?

Like Matt Redman sings, there are at least 10,000 Reasons to Bless the Lord for experiencing him each day:

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael

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