“In the fourth chapter of John’s gospel,” Stan began, “I think there’s a perfect reflection of my life before and after I became a committed Christian.”
“In what way?” I responded.
“There’s the story of a Samaritan woman with whom Jesus shared the truth of His provision of living water. In addition, Jesus told the woman things about her life that caused her to believe that He was the Christ.”
Continuing, he said, “The woman then returned to her village and told others about her encounter with Jesus. Because of what she said, many of the people also believed.”
“Sounds like a good thing,” I replied. “People coming to the truth of Jesus.”
“It was a good thing,” Stan said, “but what came next was better.”
“Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for a couple of days. While He was talking to them, they came to believe in Him because of what He said, no longer relying on what the woman had said about Jesus.”
“Same with me,’ Stan continued. “For a long time in my life, too long, my belief in God was based on what other people said. But, thankfully, there came a time when my belief became rooted in what God said to me. My belief became mine, my personal belief.”
“Personal belief,” I repeated. “Kind of like a personal relationship?”
“Not just ‘kind of like’,” Stan replied. “Absolutely like. The day I made my belief my own was the day that I began the walk of transformation towards greater spiritual maturity.”
“And,” he concluded, “I think that walk towards transformation and spiritual maturity is to continue for as long as I am on this side of eternity. An ever-closer walk towards an ever-deepening relationship that is mine, mine alone, not based on anything anyone else says. Just God.”
And many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:41, 42.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for bringing me into a personal relationship with you so that my belief is based only on what you say, not on what others have to say about you and their belief. I pray that you will move in the hearts, minds, and spirits of all who claim to be yours so that they come to believe on their own, accepting your words as the foundation of their belief, rather than relying on what others have to say about you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: How does a personal relationship with God based on what He says to you differ from basing your faith on what others say?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.