A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend about the way youngsters who are Christians behave. She was lamenting the fact that they don’t really behave like Christians. The only thing that came to mind to tell her is that it’s because they haven’t encountered God for themselves yet. A few nights later as I knelt at my bedside praying, that same thought came to me: things will not change until you make it your duty to encounter God.
The Lord reminded me of Samuel. This was a young man who was dedicated to God by his parents from birth. He lived in the tabernacle with the priests and performed his assigned duties. He was Eli’s right hand but his purpose didn’t begin to come to fruition until that fateful day when the Lord called to him, he heard and acknowledged the voice and said the fateful words, “speak Lord, thy servant heareth.” You have to encounter God for yourself.
The Lord then showed me Saul. This young man followed the religion of his fathers. He was intelligent and well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures. He went out and persecuted others for his faith. He was a seasoned follower! But he was missing one key ingredient, an encounter with God. When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life and outlook change. He became Paul. You have to encounter God for yourself.
Jacob fell into the same boat. Although his parents knew God, he had no such accreditation. His name meant trickster and he spent most of his life playing and cheating his loved ones. This all changed when he encountered God one night. He realized then that though he was hurt, he needed God desperately and from this came his impassioned plea “I won’t let go until You bless me.” This realization and encounter changed his life and he became Israel the man who had wrestled with God face-to-face. He had an encounter.
I remember my first encounter with God. I had been baptised for over a year yet my habits hadn’t changed much inwardly. There came a time I was broken. I was beaten. I felt lost and alone. I was being attacked from every side until I had no one to turn to but God. In my distress, I cried unto the Lord and He heard me. As I stood in my favorite corner on the church grounds, crying my eyes out, I felt God wrap His arms around me and for the first time in months I felt truly at peace. I accepted God was truly in my corner. That was the night I received the Holy Ghost.
I don’t care what is going on in your life. I don’t care how empty you feel. You may be baptised but until you have an encounter with God, nothing will truly change. Your parents’ or pastor’s relationship with God can only do so much and no more on your behalf. You have to reach out and touch Him for yourself. Have an encounter, I promise you won’t regret it.