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The greatest miracle takes place inside you!

From the Scripture we know that Jesus was a worker of miracles – He healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead, turned water into wine and alike! But we also know that he didn’t seek to attract people by mere physical manifestations, no matter how powerful they were, Jesus sought to reach out for their hearts.

The greatest miracle takes place inside you!

This is my testimony that Jesus is alive, living and working in people’s lives, hearts and minds. Once He comes to live in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, the miracle inside you begins! Jesus calls it ‘to be born of the Spirit’ (John 3:8), Ezekiel – ‘a new heart’ (Ezekiel 36:26), Paul – ‘a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5: 17) and ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20), and again in Colossians 1:26, 27 – the mystery of the gospel ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’.

Jesus also warned us that the world will not see Him, but those who are His – will, ‘for he (the Spirit of truth) lives with you and will be in you’ (John 14:17).

Unfortunately our natural sinful condition doesn’t allow us to see that there’s something wrong with us, that we are separated from God and are under judgment and condemnation. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to woo a heart into seeking after God and truth, to convict us of our sinful condition and create a craving for God’s purity and righteousness. How do we respond to His gentle calling?

For many years, even after I came to church, I continued to live without this realisation, until God caused His light to shine on my path and I saw the dark ugly shadow of my own stain emerge on the background of His perfectly illuminated and glorious character. It wasn’t the light of mere doctrine or knowledge of the Bible; it was the light of the person of Jesus Himself revealing Himself to me through fellow Christians, turning my entire life on its tracks within a very short period of time! As Jesus shone His unassuming grace towards me and the beauty of His meek character, I was cut to my heart, ‘that which had appeared right and comely in me, in contrast with Christ’s purity and glory, now appeared only as unworthy and corruptible’ (E.G. White Reflecting Christ, p.90). Gazing at the beauty of Jesus’ character – His unassuming love and acceptance – I realised how short of His glory I was, how poor and wretched I was, how corrupt within, how stained with selfish ambition, impatience, pride, bitterness, and self-seeking  attitude and this list can go on and on, and mind you, I had considered myself to be a common ‘good’ person. I heard Him speak directly to my conscience, and the more I heard His voice, the more I knew I had to deal with sin in my life, sin on which I had previously closed my eyes pretending it wasn’t there.

The sorrow of guilt has lifted up as a morning mist before the dawn, as the beauty of His forgiveness and peace started to fill my soul. It was the beginning of all change! I was convicted I needed to leave certain things behind, but by then sin had been so tightly woven into the canvas of my lifestyle, that I could only pray that God would produce circumstances which would help me to carry out my decision with minimum hurt for myself and others around me. (Sin has a terrible quality of dragging other people into hurt and confusion).

The Lord answered my prayers as His gentle hand slowly but surely led me towards the moment of my total separation from the known sin. That morning, waking up in a new setting, I had a clear vision of my new life right in front of me. The Word of God came to life, it was no longer a ‘letter of law’ – it has become a love letter from the heart of a loving God I knew, written for me and about me. It started to become ‘sweeter than honey to my mouth’ (Psalm 119: 103). Prayer turned alive and I could feel the presence of Jesus right in my skin. Again and again the Holy Spirit would speak to my conscience and would challenge my former habits and ways of thinking. As I surrendered to Him, my reactions started to change and I would occasionally break into tears, realising that it’s not me who was doing all that.

It was at that time when my friend rang and asked me for a favour. It was an evening before a day-off and I had already made some plans for the next day, so I politely excused myself with seemingly good reasons. The moment I hanged up the phone, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. He said: ‘What makes you think that you will be happy doing things you have planned for yourself to do, while your friend needs your help and time?’ Those words sounded so clearly in my mind that it only took me a short trip from the front door to my bedroom upstairs before I collapsed on my knees and asked for forgiveness.  Then I picked up the phone and texted my friend that I was ready to go with her. The following morning she asked me, what had made me change my mind, and I said she wouldn’t believe it, but it was a supernatural experience. That day the Lord blessed me excitingly and beyond my expectations. This is how I started to learn to commit all plans to Him, listen to His guidance and be flexible to respond promptly to His leading.

At another time I remember how He stripped me off my judgmental attitude and selfish assumption. When I was irritated with someone’s seemingly irresponsible behaviour, Jesus rebuked me gently through a brother by showing me clearly my selfish angle on the situation. He told me ‘Don’t make hasty conclusions. You can’t judge, you don’t know the bigger picture’. I suddenly realised I had always judged people, projecting my views as the only right ones and expecting people to act according to my wants.  As I was deeply moved by Christ’s unassuming grace and non-judgmental loving attitude I hated my selfishness. I longed to be like Him!

My outlook has changed, I started seeing others and loving them with a love which I knew didn’t come from me. I felt a liberating separation from the past – it didn’t hold me captive anymore. I saw how my selfish habits and priorities of the former way of life were vanishing, until it has become so easy to make right choices in harmony with the Holy Spirit and to say ‘no’ to whatever doesn’t please God. Victories over temptations followed one after another as I determined to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit each morning. What miracles!

I saw the beauty of Christ rising within me, and it was a totally new supernatural experience! Feeling Christ’s love all around me and experiencing joy deep within me for no obvious outer reason became a natural state of my being. I was ready to speak about Jesus all day long as my heart overflowed with joy and gratitude. New and yet new revelations of His reality and of the divine exchange that took place on the cross attended my way!

My growth was dynamic, my faith soared. All this brought opposition and aggravation among my closest people. They couldn’t understand me. Satan’s attacks increased as he insidiously planned his schemes to hurt me and misrepresent me in eyes of those I loved most. But the Lord was faithful, I saw Him fighting my battles. Prayers for wisdom were answered and clarity and discernment were given me.  In the times of trial He kept teaching me to see others through His eyes and love them with His love. I saw Him turning the very worst and hopeless situations around and turning hearts of others to Himself! And this time He used me! Amen. He has blessed me with new relationships and the bonds of fellowship and friendship that I had never known before.

Today, looking back over all these years, I cannot stop marvelling at God’s amazing grace towards me and the privilege He’s given me to know Him personally and so intimately. I wouldn’t trade this ‘pearl’ for anything.

I knew then and I know now – it has been the miracle of a new heart, a new birth, it was the fulfillment of mystery of the gospel – Jesus coming to live in me.

God is calling us to walk in the newness of life, to live a holy and a victorious life to glorify Him. But we cannot live a life God is calling us to live in our own strength. It takes the very presence of Christ in us and His supremacy over our entire being. But for this to happen we should first agree to go with Jesus to the cross, and die.

‘…Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds’ (John 12:24)

Once the Holy Spirit brings into focus Jesus Christ in all His beauty and love for us, undeservedly taking our place on the cross- the accursed of God bearing my sin in His body as His own, enduring the agonies of our second death – the eternal saparation from the Father – we are drawn to Him.  Our old selfish nature portrayed before us becomes unbearable and repulsive. As we daily keep our eyes on the radiant character of Jesus and fall in love with Him, we make a daily choice to die to that old person without Christ, only to be raised to life as a new creation in Him. Now ‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20) and expresses Himself and His character and His life through me. The joy of being ‘the Lord’s’ passes all understanding. Isaiah expresses exactly the joy of being born again:

3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.

4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.

5 One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD ‘;
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’
and will take the name Israel. (Isaiah 44:3-5)

How did it all start? Jesus came to me through real people, the true sons and daughters of God, filled by God’s quiet strength in the Holy Spirit, fully consecrated and humbly submitted to His will.  Have you ever met them? Jesus may be standing right beside you, full of inner beauty and grace and waiting patiently for you to notice Him, to listen to Him, to allow Him to love you.

Somebody said that Christianity is best taught by example, Jesus left us this living example, and it comes to life in our brothers and sisters! It was the people that God used to show me who Jesus really is and to make me desire to be like Jesus.

We are not fully aware of the influence we may exert on others around us, but if in humble surrender we ask Jesus to come in to live in us by His Holy Spirit, we can truly know Him and love Him. Then we can be sure that the grain which fell into the ground and died – will bear much fruit. (John 12:24)

The greatest miracle happens inside you:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh… (Ezekiel 36:26)

May God be ever praised – I can testify to this with my own life!

‘The Lord’s’

(Svetlana)