Zander Yost: I Wanted the Central, Sensational Moment

Posted by in Faith | November 12, 2013


Editor’s Note: Zander explores something that many people in Christian circles experience. Questions of faith and salvation and the role that the Holy Spirit plays in our own personal relationship with God. The welcome realization that he stumbled upon and explains so beautifully is that, “Although meeting Jesus may be a one-time experience, knowing him is not.” And whether your conversion was accompanied by some sort of central, sensational moment or not, we can still be assured of our salvation by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, even when it is not upon us. Excellent insight, Zander; thanks for asking the hard questions and really digging for answers.

In Luke 11:9, Jesus says,

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 reads,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.”

My original interpretation of these verses led me to believe that knowing Jesus was as simple as knocking on His door. When He opens I would be fully assured of the Holy Spirit in my life and in that moment I would forever be changed. In other words, meeting God is a one-time thing. Yet, very recently, my interpretation of these verses has changed.

For many people in my life, their first encounter with Jesus was sensational. For a long time, it seemed as if they all had one “aha moment” where they were overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and fully aware of God’s love, grace, mercy, etc.; however, my experience with meeting Christ was very different. My experience was not centered around one specific moment, rather many little experiences over the course of a few weeks. These experiences allowed me to see, for the first time in my life, that God was not only real, but also showing himself to me on a personal level. My life was altered forever from that point on, yet I certainly did not feel fully assured of whom I was in Christ.

My hunger to figure it out was intense; but after many months of being away from brotherhood and community, my hunger and focus on discovering what it meant to be in Christ waned along with my time in the Word and prayer. I began to question if what I had experienced was real or if it was just behavior modification that I had somehow tricked myself into. I began to question if I had really met Christ. When I compared my experience to many others’ in my life, I was worried because mine did not have the central sensational moment.

Growing up in Church I had prayed THE prayer many times yet I didn’t really experience anything different until I was a senior in high school. This is when I became consumed with the idea of sensationalism. I thought that I needed to experience something sensational to experience Jesus for real and to really be assured that I was in Him. So every time I prayed I began telling God to do something remarkable or to let me see a miracle. Something, anything to give me assurance! I needed to know that he was walking with me because I so deeply feared that He wasn’t and that I was missing something. I needed the “aha moment!” I would spend time in the Word aimlessly, yet my prayer and focus was on asking God to just reveal himself to me.

My prayers were never answered. Throughout this period I didn’t experience anything that blew my mind or was an undeniable miracle. Because of this, I became certain that I really was missing something. So I went back to square one. I began asking the big questions about God, even questioning his existence, as if to start over because I had missed something along the way the first time.

Going back and looking at my experiences was extremely beneficial to me, yet not in the way I thought it would be. Originally I thought going back and investigating my walk with God would lead me to the area I needed to fix, or perhaps lead me to the Jesus I never really knew; but what I found was that searching for what I was missing was actually the cause of why I was missing out. My motivation for knowing God was solely focused on MY security, MY needs, and MY joy. But what I have realized is that joy in Christ comes from breakthroughs in our walk with Him. Paul says that we are restricted by our affections. When Jesus says knock, he isn’t saying, “Come in and you will be safe,” he is saying, “Come in and experience me!”

Although meeting Jesus may be a one-time experience, knowing him is not. Jesus wants me to keep knocking, keep seeking, keeping asking questions and desire to know him better, and experience the Holy Spirit in new ways. I am no longer in question as to where I stand with Jesus; and I am certain that the Holy Spirit is in me. I still have doubts and I will always question myself; but what I have come to understand is that I cannot be preoccupied with what I am not; I must be preoccupied with who He is.

The reason I decided to blog about this is because I know I am not the only person who questions where they stand with God. This probably happens at different times for different people; but for me, it’s when I have been away from Church or community or if I have been allowing a certain sin to take over. It leads me to pray things like, “Lord be with me today,” or “Jesus, walk with me.” What a ludicrous thing to ask! He is always with me; He says he will never forsake me; He says he will finish the work he has started; there is nothing that can separate us from God!

We pray for God to do things that he has already done! For Christians like me, closed heavens are between the ears. They exist in the thought-life that empowers darkness to do exactly what the believer has believed. Somehow we convince ourselves that we can distance ourselves from Him. We believe this because the Holy Spirit is within all of us but does not rest upon all of us. The only person who fully remained in the Spirit all the time was Jesus! But we have the capacity to host that same Spirit. Look at Peter; he healed people with just his shadow! I don’t think Peter was in question as to whether or not he was walking with Jesus. Peter was preoccupied with making himself a host for Jesus’ spirit.

Through all of this I hope to communicate the fact that the Holy Spirit is within all of us who believe. We can’t be ignorant of the things that God has done in our lives. Praying for these things gets us nowhere and leaves our prayer lives boring and routine. Instead, we must pray for things that require us to step beyond our boundaries. Ask God to show us miracles, not because we need to see them, because we want to see God move in our lives. Ask him to place people in our lives into which we can pour out love.

Most importantly, we must ask to be better hosts of the Holy Spirit so that we can be better ambassadors of Jesus in our world. Bill Johnson says, “The breakthrough of prayer is supposed to be our ongoing source and flow of joy from God.” Instead of asking Jesus to walk with me, now I ask him to do something in me that will allow me to impart His presence.

Zander Yost

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