I was born in Scotland to parents who raised me knowing God was real. I remember trying to hear God like Samuel in the Old Testament before I had learnt that His voice was most often found inside my heart and in His Word.
I had a home filled with love and yet sometime, as we all do, I learnt how to fear. I was scared of the dark – I used to see strange faces as I peered into the blackness of my bedroom. Sometimes, it would seem like these faces taunted me. Although, as I grew up, the faces in my room left, I sometimes still had nightmares. By the time I went to secondary school, I had also developed a terrible and tormenting fear of people. I remember giving presentations in English classes, and inspiring laughter and mockery after shaking almost uncontrollably and struggling to get my words out. I blamed God for this, and really in many ways I was afraid of Him too. I had a self-righteous faith, and was superior in my salvation, but had little knowledge of the love of God either for me or others. I judged others as sinners and I thought they were judging me too. So my faith was both a stigma and a rod that separated me from others.
But, at the age of 17, God met me in a powerful way through the Book of Romans. I saw Jesus on the cross. For the first time, I was confronted by the reality of my own sin. The worst thing about it was that I saw that it was my sin that nailed Him there. Such beauty was crushed by my brash ugliness. I remember that I wept and wept. But then the comforter came.
I somehow felt compelled to read a book on my parents bookshelf called Good Morning, Holy Spirit. I noticed it as I walked by and something drew me strongly to it. I found the book and the author so strange as I read. He talked about unusual experiences in church meetings and in his bedroom. But the simplicity of his relationship with the Holy Spirit touched me very deeply. I began to talk to the Holy Spirit this way. I asked that He would show me Who He was. What followed were days of encounters with God’s power. My body would shake as I was confronted with a God who was much more present than I had ever imagined. I had read in Romans:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2 NKJV)
I took it very literally. I would lie on my bed and say, ‘Holy Spirit, I yield to you, I present myself as a living sacrifice.’ One particular night doing this, I experienced something unusual. The Holy Spirit came like heat over my body which moved up and down and then concentrated on my lips. I began to say strange words that I had never heard before as I continued to feel this strong heat.
After this, Romans 12:2 also became real to me. The Bible came alive. What I had struggled to read before became amazingly vibrant as I began to understand more about Who God was.
I attended and was baptized in a local Anglican Church and encountered a love there that was strange to me.
Somewhere along the way, I also stumbled across 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
I saw that fear was a spirit and I began to tell it go, saying that God said I had a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. I was amazed to find that it actually left. I found that I had a love for people that had not existed before, and I began to want to share about Jesus and what He had done. The Holy Spirit showed me more about Jesus, and is still showing me more about Him. I began to notice that Jesus was Who He seemed to want to talk about most. He showed me that I have a Father Whose love for me is endless.
My Father, the Spirit and Jesus have helped me in all life’s battles since. I would like to invite you to get to know them. I pray for you that as you read this, you will already begin to be aware that He is with you and wants to talk to you.
If so, I invite you to pray this prayer out loud:
Jesus, I don’t know much about you and I definitely don’t know you, but I would like to. I repent of sin and I ask you to come into my heart. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and cleanse me. I believe that you died on a cross and rose from the dead. I ask you to take my life and do something amazing with it.