A couple of weeks ago was the 40th anniversary of when I met Jesus Christ in a new and personal way and experienced the release of the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.
This was not a new belief experience, for I was already a baptized, practicing Catholic. This was a “going deeper” type of experience in my relationship with God. It was the beginning of my not just knowing about God, but my coming into a personal relationship with him through his son, Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
It had many effects. Prayer changed from occasionally talking to God to having regular conversations with him. A casual and infrequent use of scripture was transformed into an intense desire to read the Bible. Over the next few months I read the Bible from cover to cover as I commuted on the trains in and out of New York City. There was a desire to be reconciled with anyone I might have offended. Prayers at mass that I had heard for years took on new life and meaning, and I acquired a new love for my church.
I began to experience some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in my life as described in Isaiah 11:2-3 and by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. There was a desire to bring this new found presence of God into all aspects of my life, including my work life which I had previously separated from my faith life. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that all my focus, direction and priorities began to change following this encounter with Jesus.
I was 37 when this happened. I have often wondered what would have been the effect on my life had I been open to seeking this kind of relationship with God when I was a teenager or in my early 20’s. While I am extremely grateful to God for all the many blessings he has allowed me to experience, I might have avoided some missteps and sin along the way, and been able to serve him more fully earlier in my life.
So, I offer this thought to all of our younger Christian brothers and sisters who may be in their teens and 20’s: Don’t wait! Don’t wait to seek a personal encounter with the living God, the Creator of all that exists, through his son Jesus, the Messiah, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Seek your encounter with him today, as well as the release of the power of the Holy Spirit that you received in your baptism.
Life with a personal Jesus at your side and in your heart, along with the power of the Holy Spirit, is superior to a life with God when he may seem distant and removed.