I can remember the very place I was sitting when it happened. I was on a rock in the San Juan Wilderness region of the Colorado mountains. I was 18 years old and had been invited by a friend to go on a backpacking trip with Young Life. I went because I loved the mountains and wanted an adventure, not because I was interested in Jesus or his church. I’d grown up around the church and while I believed in Jesus, I had no intention of becoming a disciple. I was far more interested in girls and baseball than I was in Jesus.

However, that all changed on that summer day. Sitting on those rocks, I opened my Bible to Matthew 5 and started reading. The guide had given us some very elementary questions to think through, but it was essentially just me and my Bible… or so I thought. I quickly came to realize that Jesus was there with me. I started reading and it seemed as if the words of the Scriptures leapt off the page and lodged into my heart like tent stakes being pounded into the hard ground. The story that I’d heard for almost my entire life became real to me; two-dimensional ideas became a three-dimensional reality, wooden principles became living power.

To say it as simply as I can, I was changed. Right there sitting on that rock, with no one else around, I became a disciple. I fell in love with Jesus. In John 6:63 Jesus claimed, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” His words awakened me to new life and I experienced firsthand what Jesus proclaimed.

The Spirit’s power and the power of the gospel were displayed in my life. It wasn’t anything anyone said, it was just Scripture, Jesus, and his Spirit at work. I’m guessing the pristine mountains didn’t hurt either. I’ve thought back on that day many times over the past 22 years.  I’ve got to be honest, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to present the message of the gospel. I spend hours every week preparing to preach the Scriptures. That’s a fine and good thing and it’s what I’m called to do; however, I’m reminded that the power lies in God’s Spirit, not my words. That’s when his power impacted me. I trust that he uses my preparation and study, but if his Spirit doesn’t move, no lasting change or transformation is possible.

That paradigm isn’t true because I’m a preacher, it’s true because I’m a child of God. He is at work in and through you too. As you go about your day, pray for opportunities to share Jesus. And when he brings those opportunities, because he will, know that as you share, Jesus is at work. It’s his spirit that changed your life, and it’s his Spirit that will change other lives, you simply get to be his mouthpiece.

Throughout this week we are trying to capture stories of the way God has “demonstrated his power” (1 Corinthians 2:5) in your life. Would you be willing to share your story? If so, follow this link and fill out the form. We’ll select one of the stories to share as our Friday devotional.

Pastor Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

Subscribe to the Daily Fill