I remember the night I asked God to bring me back to Him. I needed Him to renew my life, and I knew that as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that Jesus Christ was the only One who could bring renewal to me.
The path to renewal, however, can be a long one. Everyday, people embark on the journey or renewal at different stages. These stages include:
Let me unpack these terms for you a little bit more so we can understand the transformation that can come to us when we allow Jesus to renew our life.
Reception: To receive Jesus involves hearing His claims of divinity and His offer of salvation to humanity.
Exploration: Allows people to have their curiosity met as they explore who Jesus is.
Disorientation: Begins when a person, overwhelmed and faced with the implications of the truth of the claims of Christ, asks what must be done in response to them.
Reorientation: Starts when the person agrees to obey the command spoken by Peter in Acts 2:38 that tells them to “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Discovery: Involves the process of renewal and inspiration that follows.
A journey to the place of renewal is one of challenge, rigour, discussion, and change. It requires a willingness to repent, which takes honesty, self-examination, openness, and humility. The journey means that a person must seek the good of others before themself. Renewal prioritizes relationships and the many acts of remaining present both with God and with others.
Although we may wish it was easier, renewal does not offer simple answers for complex questions or pains! It often involves long conversations between friends, late nights of contemplation, and periods of testing to see if something has changed. Most importantly, renewal comes from calling out to God and accepting His forgiveness – a forgiveness that is only found in Jesus Christ. Those who experience renewal are often left saying, “I was blind, but now I see!” (John 9:25).
As a Mission Canada worker who is also continuing my education at Regent College, I have the great opportunity of worshipping, studying, and sharing life with Christians from many different denominations, nations, and vocations. There are times when dear friends of mine from the college challenge my assumptions. For me, this begins a process of exploration, disorientation, reorientation, and discovery. At the end of this journey, I am usually somewhere deeper in my faith - a place marked by empathy, compassion, care, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to listen to others and to God. At the end of this process, I usually look a little bit more like Jesus!
On this journey, I have learned much. Often, the relationships I build with others deepens the life of Jesus in me, as He speaks through those who are closest to me. I have realized that I am made to be inhabited, sustained, and animated by God my Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who dwells within me. This makes me more fully aware of God’s grace to me in the past, what God is doing in my life today, and the fulfillment of His plan that will be mine in eternity. I am constantly humbled and reminded of my need for Jesus and for those I am in relationship with.
I have discovered, again and again, the riches and joys of learning, an activity that heals my own wounding and allows me to invite others into that same healing. I have come to see my own vocation more clearly and more concretely, and I have learned to relate to others with greater health and security. These are all results of the renewal that Jesus has brought to my life.
My God heals the broken. He has healed me for the sake of His love and His calling over my life. My testimony is witness to this.
The moment of reorientation can be surprising! When we give ourselves space to reflect on our journeys, we often receive a revelation of God’s divine creativity. The end of renewal, stated simply but perhaps also with profundity, is gratitude.
I’m so thankful for my JOURNEY TO JESUS and how He is continuously leading me to learn so that I can better carry out His mission and see Christ’s kingdom expanded.
[To read more about Paul’s testimony and the power of Jesus to transform, check out “Victory, Layer by Layer: A story of restoration and healing”.]