The Bible tells us that Jesus went up on a mountain with three of his closest followers, Peter, James and John, where he was “transfigured” or changed in appearance. His clothes became dazzling white and the three disciples heard the voice of God the Father out of a cloud saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” It was an intense, life-shaping experience that fed their faith.
Many people have stories to tell about their own personal experiences with God. Most of them are wonderful, a few are weird, and some are downright wack-o. But what we need to understand is that faith is always tied to personal experience with God and these experiences are different for everyone.
Personal faith is how a person becomes a Christian. That’s why we talk so often about a personal prayer of commitment to Jesus. Faith is not something that someone else can decide and do for us—every one of us needs to experience Jesus Christ. But it’s important that we don’t try to copy somebody else’s experience. If we climb a mountain expecting to see Jesus, as Peter, James and John did, we’re going to be deeply disappointed. That was their experience. Unfortunately, some well-meaning Christians try to impose their experience on others. They expect others to see their visions, to speak in their tongues, or to experience their miracles. But that misses the point. For God’s plan is for each one of us to personally experience Jesus Christ.
Related Scripture: Matthew 17: 4-5
© 2007 Leith Anderson