By William F. Holland Jr., DD., C. ED.D.
Ordained/Licensed Christian minister
Recently, I spoke about a wonderful man who is a member of our church, and if you recall he just turned 95 years young. His name is Charlie and since then I’ve had the privilege to spend some time with him. I listened intently as he shared his amazing testimony about what has been going on with him for the last couple of years. He said throughout his life he had been a person of few words, a quiet person who just minded his own business and kept his thoughts to himself. He believed his low-key demeanor was interpreted by those who knew him as someone unfriendly, and as a result, was shunned and ignored. When his wife passed away not too long ago, he was left all alone and began to struggle with how he had felt like an outcast for his low-key personality.
A while back after listening to a sermon by our pastor about the importance of personal evangelism, after the service he found the courage to say, “You mean the Lord wants me to ask people if they know Jesus and if they are not close to God, I should invite them to church?” Our pastor said yes absolutely, and this was another confirmation about what he knew the Lord was speaking to him. Charlie told the Lord he was sorry for being so unfriendly, and the more time he spent praying and asking God to take control, he could sense that he was being changed in the deepest recesses of his soul. No doubt, I was seeing this miracle, simply with the fact that he was communicating with me with such honesty and sincerity. The words were flowing from him so eloquently, I would have never known that just a short time ago this would not have been normal for him at all.
Sharing this new chapter in his life touched me and inspires me to know that at any age God is ready to bring His tools and begin serious renovation if we will simply reach out to Him in faith. The old saying is true, if we are serious about asking God to bring personal transformation within us, we better be ready for our world to be turned upside down. There is no way we can suppress our joy and excitement about Jesus if we have been saturated in the glories of His presence. This past summer he wanted to rededicate his life to Christ and was baptized because he could not remember ever being baptized. So with this new boldness and enthusiasm, Charlie starts becoming somewhat of a social butterfly by greeting and speaking to people, witnessing, smiling, and just demonstrating more of a friendly and receptive disposition.
I will go ahead and give you a spoiler alert, the amount of change that all of us have the potential to undergo will have everything to do with our level of love for others. As we move closer to God, we are filled with His love for us, and this in turn will spill out toward others. You’ve heard another old saying, “If you want friends, show yourself to be friendly.” Within the Christian faith, we are to be known by our love and how much we genuinely care about what others are going through. I’ve mentioned the key to becoming a more spiritual person and that is spending quality time with the only one who can change the mind, conscience, and spirit of a human being. We can be used by God to tell them and love them, but it is God who has the power to transform us.
I pray the Spirit will haunt us as children and servants of God to embrace our responsibility to not just go to church, but to spend time with God in prayer which empowers and inspires our excitement and enthusiasm. A couple of crucial words within the Christian life are conviction and burden.
Conviction is a blessing as this allows us to know the Lord is trying to speak to us, and the more sensitive we are to His presence, the more likely we are to develop a burden for the lost. The reason why the average Christian does not pray or share their faith is because being filled with His Spirit is not a priority. Becoming constantly aware of His voice requires a desire to train and control our mind which is an intentional act of self-discipline.
Dr. Holland is an ordained minister, chaplain, and author. Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com