Walking by the Spirit

What does it mean when the Bible tells us to be walking by the Spirit of the Holy God? Is it in fact possible for us to be so walking by the Spirit? Or are these just the empty words of wishful thinkers? This article has the potential to help us answer the following question for ourselves: Are we walking by the Spirit or are we rather walking by the  resources and tendencies of our human nature?

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways (Psalm 128:1, ESV)!

The Holy Spirit lives within every person who believes that Jesus died on the cross for her, and repented of her or his sins. That is, the Holy Spirit lives in all who, relying on Christ, no longer live independently from God. He is present, He is living, He is abiding, within those who know Him and are concerned with doing what pleases God.

Even if we are Christians, it is possible for us to grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30), and to quench Him — (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Yet, we may choose to be walking by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16). This means living in the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God. Such living is not beyond the reach of any believer. We may choose to walk that way. Indeed, walking by the Spirit requires a  choice on our part.

Through His example, our Lord Jesus-Christ invites us to be waking by the Spirit. His apostles after Him, encourage us to follow this same path of waking by the Spirit. Trying to grasp what it is about, we will consider Biblical passages where the Holy Spirit tells us how our God and Father desires us to be walking, as we live our lives.

To do so, we will consider passages from the Old and the New Testament where God tells us how He wishes for us to be living. It will include observing how a man of God, king Josias, was walking. Pondering on these will prepare us to to move on and consider what is walking by the Spirit. Only then will we delve explicitly into what is walking by the Spirit. But we will begin by focusing on the sort of walking pleases God.

1. Questions from People, Answers from God (Micah 6:6-8).

Let us consider the questions people were asking in Micah’s day. This will allow us take the pulse of how difficult they thought it was to please God. It will help us understand how hard they thought it was of being accepted by God. Why not ask ourselves if some of their questions are also ours? Whatever be the case, let’s compare their questions with what God asks of them and of us.

This we will do as recorded in Micah 6:6-8 (English Standard Version, ESV).

1.1. People’s Questions

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with a thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6-7, ESV).


1.2. God’s Answer

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8, ESV).

1.3. Are We Asking the Same Questions as They Were?

These people were asking what sacrifices they should bring to God in order to be forgiven from their sins. Would thousands of rams be sufficient? Will we have to present ourselves before God with ten thousands rivers of oil? Must we go as far as offering human sacrifices, as do the nations? Must we go as far as offering our own first born children as expiation sacrifices?

We don’t know what to do, God, for you to forgive the faults we are guilty of! We are clueless as to what we must do in order for you to look upon us with an approving eye. This, in essence, is what many people were telling God and each other in Micah’s day.

1.4. Is not God Answering the Same to Us as to Them?

God did not require any of this from them, and he does not require this sort of things from us either. Rather, what pleases God is quite simple, and easy to understand. Are we guided by what is just? Do we love being merciful? Do we walk in humility before God? These are the things that please God. That’s it! Doing good around us in the daily course of our lives. Not balking in the face of people in need of our compassion.

This means walking without pretense, not as if we were important. Walking humbly has noting to do with going about facing the ground, as if weighted down by our guilt. We walk with our eyes turned upward, toward God, in hope and trust.

2. Manasseh, Amon, Josiah (2 Chronicles 33-35)

Josiah, “[…] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord […], while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father” (2 Chronicles 34:2-3, ESV).

2.1. What happened in Josiah’s day?

This king, Josiah, chose to follow in the footsteps of his ancestor David, rather than in those of his father or grandfather. He wanted his personal history to be modeled by his godly ancestor David. He did not want to follow the path of evil as his grandfather Manasseh or his father Amon had for the most part (2 Chronicles 33).

Josiah lived in social and religious contexts promoted by kings whose lives are summarized as being wrong-doers. These kings were known to do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.  They even made laws that encouraged people to practice all sorts of evil. Few of them paid any attention to the laws established by God for people to be good one towards another.

This went on generation after generation. That is what the leaders of the people, and the people themselves, had come to consider as normal. Because of this, it was necessary for Josiah to fight against the social and religious practices of his day. Josiah opposed himself against what people considered to be normal. This is never easy!

King Josiah had to fight current trends, if his people were to learn walking in ways that pleased God. He rose against the accepted ways of thinking concerning what was considered right or wrong. Josiah fought practices that seemed obviously right and necessary to a majority of people. He himself wanted to walk with God, and he did. But being king, he also wanted to lead his people toward walking in the ways of God.

Why not listen to this story as found in 2 Chronicles 33-35 and 2 Kings 21-22? Let yourselves be touched by Josiah’s history, starting with the reign of his grandfather, Manasseh, and of his father, Amon.

2.2. What is happening in our day?

Why would the story of kings Manasseh, Amon and Josiah be important to us today? If we are seeking God and if we desire walking with Him, we cannot go about as ignoring our context. We cannot do as if everything around us was as normal as everyone seems to think it is. We cannot or should not pretend that every religious and cultural practice deemed normal should be considered normal. The story of Josiah invites us to question our own acceptance of every practice as being equally good.

It is imperative that we consult the Lord, His prophets, and His apostles, through their writings in the Holy Bible, Word of God for people of all times, and for us now. These are the foundations of everything that wants to call itself Christian. Why should we leave to others the task of finding and telling us what the ways of God are. Of course we can be helped by people more advanced then ourselves about the ways of God. But this does not dispense us from consulting God and His word on our own.

What we need to inquire about is not limited to learning what God wants of us. We must also seek to be doing what we learn that pleases Him. This will mean renouncing certain things that the Scripture warns us against, because it displeases God.

3. Walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5, Romans 8, Philippians 4)

Walking by the Spirit, what does it mean, and how can it be achieved? This is taught in the apostle Paul’s letters to the Galatians, to the Romans, and to the Philippians. As we listen to these three books of the (audio) Bible, why not ask God Himself to teach us?  Let us ask Him what it means to be walking by the Spirit, and how we can learn it. The point here is asking God to help us in the process of understanding and applying what we learn. Lord, teach us what is walking in the Spirit. Father, guide us so that we ourselves are walking in the Spirit! Instruct us Lord, in some specific areas of our lives, where we could begin, or return, or improve, our walking by the Spirit.

Listening to these Bible books or chapters being discussed here (Gal 5, Rm 8, Ph 4), while praying God, would be an excellent preparation to reading the rest of this article.

3.1. Paul to the Galatians

I will focus on a few relatively short biblical passages from the apostle Paul. Why not begin with Galatians 5:25 (ESV):

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Now, let us observe how the same passage is rendered in the more interpretative New Living Translation (Gal. 5:25, NLT):

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Or, yet, the Good News Translation (Gal. 5:25, GNT):

The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.

Living by the Spirit (ESV), following the Spirit’s leading (NLT), allowing the Spirit to control our life (GNT) are three  formulation of the same idea: walking in the Spirit. What happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us? When we let Him control our lives? What is the observable result in the life of a person who keeps in step with the Spirit?

We can then experiment from within a certain set of attitudes. These attitudes become outwardly observable by others and by us. Such attitudes and behaviors correspond to what the apostle Paul called the fruit of the Spirit. These are: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”  (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV).

If, on the other hand, we are not led by the Spirit of God, what we will be experimenting within and observing without will be of a radically different nature. Our attitudes and behaviors will then be along the following lines: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5:19-21, ESV).

3.2. Paul to the Romans

Romans chapters 5 to 8 deal very specifically with what we are concerned about with right now. Let us consider Romains chapter 8 verses 5 and 6, in the English Standard Version:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Our own inward thought world lies behind any attitudes or behaviors that might indicate whether we are led by the Spirit or impulsed by our unaided human nature. The way we think and the contents of our thoughts are determinant factors in the attitudes of our hearts and the behaviors we adopt. Even if it cannot be observed from the outside, our thought world is to be considered as one of the aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, or of its counterpart, the works of our human nature. Our thought world is part and parcel of our walking by the Spirit or of our walking as per our human nature, unaided by the Spirit.

Paul to the Philippians

In our deepest times of needs, let us not hesitate even one half of a second to ask God’s help in fighting against the thoughts that bombard our minds and that don’t please Him. These thoughts might be indicators of what are the central preoccupations of our hearts.

We can and should transform these into immediate prayers to God. Whenever anything comes to our mind that does not come from God or that dishonor Him, our best course of action is to turn to God without delay so that He assists us in that very moment. Right there and then, let us ask God to help us with whatever aspect of our life being exposed.

And, do not doubt for an instant that it is in our best interest for us to follow the guidance provided by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians, ch. 4 v. 8 (ESV):

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

This article deals with nothing but one of many aspects of what it is to be walking by the Spirit: obeying God, doing what pleases Him, doing what He asks of us, loving Him, praying Him, according to what the prophets and apostles told us in the Bible.

Indeed, there are many other attitudes and behaviors that are just as much a part of walking by the Spirit as those we focused on so far. Loving the Word of God is one. Praying the Lord is another. Trusting the Fatherly love God has towards us is yet another. Walking by the Spirit also includes our ability to understand in practical terms that this same love from the heavenly Father is extended to every person we happen to be interacting with, or with whom we are in in any type of relationship. And there are many more aspects of what it means and what is entailed by walking in the Spirit that are not covered here.

Please feel free to leave a comment in the box below, letting us know your own experience with coping with doubt in such a ways as to nurture your faith.

You may communicate with me through the indications under Questions or Comments.

Daniel Garneau,
B Th, B Com, MA,
Published: March 2, 2018;
Edited: March 3, 2018.

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This article stems from my taking part in the Cleansing Stream Seminar under the pastoral leadership team of l’Église Vie Abondante, from January to March 2018. More specifically, it is my personal response to Biblical passages God impressed upon my heart while pondering upon the theme of the second lesson of the seminar, Walking in the Spirit.

Do We Have a Leader’s Heart?

This article attempts to extract from the second epistle of Paul to the Corinthians what were some of the key attitudes of the apostle towards leadership in his life and ministry. Please note that the concept of leadership as we understand it in this article applies to every person, since all of us have roles of leadership in certain spheres of our lives. The reflection aims at sensitizing everyone of us to develop a leader’s heart inspired by Paul.

The Lord takes pleasure in those who hope in his steadfast love (Psalm 147:11)

Do we ask God to help us having a leader’s heart, as the one Paul showed to have? We criticize spiritual leaders around us; sometimes rightly so, sometimes not. Jesus warned  that there would be those teaching what people wanted to hear, instead of God’s truth. Prophets before Him and apostles after Him have also been warning us against this. Their words have been recorded and preserved to this day, for us to read, in the Bible.

We must imperatively remember that if there are false prophets, there are also true ones. If there are those teaching without sincerity, there are those who teach with sincerity. If there are those leading their hearers into a path of death through lies and seductions, there are also those who lead towards life telling the truth on behalf of God. If there are, even amongst Christians, those whose opposition to Christ is made in the name of Christ, there are also those who teach the very message of Christ, in truth and with His approval.

Before meditating upon the leader’s heart as demonstrated concerning Paul in Scriptures, let us ask a few questions about where we ourselves stand with this respect. What sort of inner attitudes do we carry toward people under our leadership? Do we pray for them? What sorts of things do we do in that which pertain to our responsibilities toward them? Do we place the interest of others ahead of our own? Are our relationships characterized by truth, sincerity and faithfulness toward what God requires from us?

Paul Manifested the Outward Signs of Having a Leader’s Heart

As we are about to delve into 2 Corinthians seeking to observe the outward manifestation of a leader’s heart. I invite you to listen for yourselves. This you may do, for example, using the English Standard Version Dramatized available from Bible.Is.

Having read this letter a few times in various translations, I was touched, first of all, by the sincerity of the apostle. Next to that, what stood up for me was Paul’s trust in God. He had learned to rely upon God’s strength, instead of his own strength. Also, i was happily struck by the fact that he spoke frankly and truthfully.

Yet another important characteristic of Paul’s leadership is that he counted it as more important to achieve well his task of ambassador for Christ, even at the cost of not  defending his personal reputation, whenever necessary.  This included the audacity of saying to others what they did not like to hear if that’s what they needed to grow in faith.

Paul also demonstrated a remarkable zeal to communicate the message of God to those persons whom God wanted it to be told on His behalf. On the other hand, I was intrigued and edified to observe Paul’s sensitivity in setting aside a door that had been opened by the Lord to proclaim the Gospel because he worried about Titus (2 Cor. 2:12-13).

Moreover, Paul recognized that his ability to live as God wanted Him to came from God not from his own efforts or as a result of the zeal which he is ceaselessly giving proof of.  Paul rested upon ways of doing that were conform to the will of God and faith in Him, instead of trusting in ways of doing that came from the world. As he was facing oppositions or obstacles to Christ’s message he stayed steadfast in his ways (2 Cor 5).

In fact, Paul knows that he is fighting against modes of reasoning that rise in opposition to the knowledge of Christ and of God. His talking aims at destructing such obstacles. But he does so with the strength and methods provided by God, praying to Him, trusting in the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of his hearers. Trusting the Giver of Life to lead people to the peace that comes with abiding in Christ as a result of new birth. Trusting the Light of the world to shine in the heart of those immersed in darkness.

What more? Many a time within 2 Corinthians and in his other letters as well, Paul demonstrates his profound love and sincere interest towards the persons that God placed under his leadership so that they would come to know Christ and then grow in Him.

The Leader’s Heart that Paul’s Example Invites us to Grow

What effect can Paul’s example have on us living in the 21st Century?  All of us have functions of leaders in some circumstances and within some circles. How does Paul’s example contribute to inspire or to encourage us with regard to our own leadership? Are there not some specific areas about which the Spirit of God is inviting us to trust Him? Growing in our faith and trust in Him through tough times with regard to leadership? Trusting God for growth in our willingness and determination to obey Him as we lead? Do we need growth in our love and sensitivity toward those — loved by God — and with whom our common Father entrusted us with a leadership fucntion and relationship.

May be the area we need to grow the most as leaders is learning to accept and receive the love God has toward ourselves! May be do we need to grow in the love we have toward God, our Father, toward Christ, His Son, our Savior, toward the Spirit, who lives in us, through faith in Christ, who lives in us as a gift from our Father and from His Son. This Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, who gives us eternal life and, here and now, peace of heart.

If y0u have not yet done so, please do listen to this epistle while reading it, for example, in the English Standard Version Dramatized available through Bible.Is. And please let us know what leadership attitudes you observed in Paul’s life and ministry that you could ask the Lord to help you develop with regard to the people God put in your life.

The article Do We Have a Leader’s Heart? may be consulted in its original language of publication, Spanish, under the title ¿Tenemos un corazón de líder?

You may communicate with me through the indications under Questions or Comments.

Author: Daniel Garneau, B Th, B Com, MA;
Published in Spanish: February 19, 2018;
Translated to English: March 6;
Edited: March 8 and March 27, 2018.

 

Merging of Past, Present, and Future

My journey of faith, when I consider it today, may be considered from the angle of a merger of horizons, or the encounter of past, present and future.

What is man that you care for him (Psalm 8:4)?

Three events have been turning points in my Christian life. Witnesses of Jesus told me about the love of God for human beings, guiding me in this with the Word of God. After a fairly long period of resistance on my part, I finally decided to make the changes that needed to be made in order to obey God and follow Jesus. But it was several years later only that I came to understand what to be loved by God meant, and what it entailed in terms of the peace that comes with knowing we are forgiven by Christ no matter what.

Always, God was there. Keeping watch over me. Guiding me. Respecting my refusals.  For God does not impose himself upon us. Instead, he invites us, and waits until we are ready. In the past, God waited for me. In the present, he does not bully-me around, but waits for me to become ready to enter more and more fully into the love He has for me. For, from our human perspective, all begins with our understanding that we have God’s love for us.

No matter how despairing your situation might seem to be at any given point in your life, please always remember that God is preserving your life all along. Personally I went through phases of high expectation, deep despair, and to one of peace and joy in Christ. Today I realize that God is using every dimension of my personal history for His glory. One way to put it is that I am now living at the encounter of past, present and future.

Full text available from :  La rencontre du passé, du présent et du futur (French).

You wish to get involved and discuss about life-related subject matters, feel free to join our trilingual Community of dialog about the Christian Faith (French, English, Spanish). You are also welcome to share below some aspect of your hard-gained life experience.

Summary created: August 28, 2017.
Updated: January 5, 2018, and June 28, 2018.

Follower or Fan of Christ?

Are we truly disciples of Jesus Christ or just person who connect emotionally with the propositions of Christianity and the nice statements it issues as mentioned in the Bible?

To one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23, ESV)

Follower or Fan? is the title of a post that drew my attention in the General Discussions of Christian Forum Site. I found stimulating the opening post (OP), where a forum member, who identifies himself as JohnC, says the following about the question “Follower or Fan?”:

That was a thought on one of the radio shows the other day…. Are you a Follower or a Fan?

and it got me to thinking of Facebook…. A “Fan” is someone who “Likes” a post from far away…. Not someone who shares your life with you…

Someone who hears a saying and says “Yes, I like that” or “Wow, that’s deep”… Maybe thinks about it a little afterwards…

This takes us back to Ezekiel 33:32: “Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.”

We love to be fans…

But… We don’t think how being a fan is different from following or relying on the Lord in an active sense…

And.. being a fan is also very different from being a Friend.. there’s no intimacy… There’s not the assumption that the fan has something to offer that the star wants besides money, notoriety, a feeling of importance/glory…

But… Is that what Jesus is after? Notoriety, formality, glory, and no intimacy? For us to click the “like” button whenever some scripture hits you…

Think of Luke 9:23… Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Then another member of Christian Forum Site, one who goes by the nickname of “boltardy“,  posted a response that begins with the following words :

I’d put myself in another category which I’d call struggler […].

This led me to write the following response to the question “Follower or fan of Christ?”, reproduced below, as posted, except for the correction of typos or language glitches, and some expansion, wherever I felt it helpful in clarifying the meaning of this short testimony:

A struggler, that is how I perceived myself for many years as a Christian going to Church, reading the Bible, serving God, and doing my best most of the time to obey God. Then I really got discouraged, so I kept going to Church, but got less involved in Christian service, Bible reading, prayer…

I became a Christian in 1977, and would have defined myself as a struggler, until bout 2007, although from 1977 to 1987 or so I was intensely involved in Christian growth and service, and really felt that my heart strove after God. Then, in 1987, I broke and stayed broken until 2007.

Many times I thought: “I have no one else to turn to but Christ, yet I am not sure I understand what it means to truly follow him.”

To sum up, from 1977 to 1987, I was a struggler with hope that God would somehow fix my life one day and make it as He wanted it. Then, from 1987 to 2007, I was a struggler who was gradually losing hope until I became quite convinced that I would never get anywhere spiritually.

Year 2008 was a turning point. That is when somehow the Spirit of God showed me I had to repent from one sin I had let myself slip into, and that was creating guilt, and hindering my ability to live a joyful Christian life. Since then, I have generally been experimenting joy and peace.

Which brings me to the Opening Post about being a fan or a follower of Christ. One of the things that struck home for me in 2008 was that Christianity is not about how well I am successful in doing what I understand from the Bible that I should be doing.

NO! Not at all! Instead, Christianity is about trusting Christ for having justified me and empowered me to live as He wants.

So when I sin, I confess, and I trust God that I am forgiven. Forgiveness does not occur once I have forgotten my grief over sin… Not years later. Not months later. Not weeks later. Nor does forgiveness happen days later, hours later, minutes later.

Instead, forgiveness has occurred when Christ died. And it does take place now, at the very instant I appropriate it, for the first time, or reappropriate it in any given situation. Forgiveness occurs here and now, wherever and whenever I kneel before God in recognition of His authority in all areas of my life including the one I just understood I needed to turn away from.

Now, many Christians live a life where they try their best to do what God teaches in His Word. That was my case. That was my problem too. From 2008 and forward, I found it much easier than before to rely on Christ for His righteousness and His forgiveness. I came to realize that the enemy of God could attempt to convince me that I was unable to obey God based on past failure, but that, as Christ’s co-heir, I could call upon my Father to send armies and set me free from any prison where I might be constrained. So this was of great help to me.

Being a fan is not so difficult as being a follower. Followers do struggle sometimes. But an outcome of following Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, is real joy and inner peace… Never perfectly here on earth… Never without glitches here and there… Yet real joy, and real peace…

You are interested in reading this post in its original context? You would like to read for yourself what more was said in this thread by OP author and other forum members? Why not visit Christian Forum Site, and navigate to the General Discussions and to the post Follower or Fan? opened by JohnC. on Dec. 1, 2014.  I encourage you to do so.

Or Perhaps you would like to add your own contribution to this topic and others like it. Then, why not sign-up and then login to Christian Forum Site? Make sure you take the time to read their statement of faith, and respect forum rules, and then you will be able to participate in whatever discussions seem interesting to you.

You don’t know where to start from, and you like what you have read so far at www.savoiretcroire.ca? Then you might want to follow the threads that I found interesting, and read how I responded to them. My Forum member name  is DanielGarneau. Choosing the Postings tab there will allow you to view my postings.

You wish to get involved and discuss further about the above topic, please consider doing so at Christian Forum Site. I will be happy to engage with you there. You may also join our trilingual Community of dialog about the Christian Faith (French, English, Spanish), or simply leave your response to this post using the comment box below.

You may communicate with me through the indications under Questions or Comments.

Daniel Garneau,
B Th, B Com, MA.
February 7, 2018.

Bird’s Eye View

My preceding testimony,  God’s Outworking in my Life, provided a detailed view of some of the major events that drew my attention to God in the first place, and that contributed to make me want to stick with Him throughout the years of my life. The testimony you will read below is simply titled Bird’s Eye View, because, as its name suggests, it provides an overview of the same without entering into specific details. These titles are intended to reflect that both testimonies are complementary of one another.

Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful (Joel 2.13)

I became a Christian in 1977. I clearly understood that I was leading a life that displeased God, although I had been considering myself as doing no harm to anyone up to that time when I began reading the Bible for myself.

Changing my attitude, ways of thinking, of doing, and of being, required a decision on my part which I was not willing to make at first. I believe today that this refusal on my behalf was what eventually led me to declare myself an agnostic.

But, as a self-declared agnostic I could not explain how a God that does not exist could have answered one of my «If you exist, then you must…» type of prayers which I had made earlier on, when seeking God, and asking Him to reveal Himself to me.

That answered prayer nagged me until such a day I realized agnosticism was not a valid world view, and decided to turn away from the life I had been living, up to then, and to begin living in ways taught by the Word of God.

This led me to become dynamically involved with sharing my faith all around me, up to a point when I joined a «servant in training» program, preparing for what turned out to be a Church Planting pastoral ministry.

I was devastated, when I came to realize – in 1987, after eleven years of training and ministry – that there were issues in my personal life that would not just go away, and that I had to make a choice that involved stepping out of full-time Church leadership, and going back to secular work.

I stayed in the small Church I had been the founding pastor of, but soon realized people kept coming to me with situations that the new pastor was teaching and leading in ways that were sometimes opposite to what I had done. So within the same year that I had left full-time Christian ministry I also felt I needed to move to a different local Church.

From 1988 to 1997 my family and I worshipped and shared about God and His ways in a nondenominational Christian assembly called Assemblée chrétienne la Bonne Nouvelle (Good News). It was a good Church, and it helped us in our spiritual walk. But a situation came up that led our family to join a start-up local Church involving leaders that were from the same denominational background that we were.

So, from 1997 to March 2017, we were involved in a second non denominational group, La communauté chrétienne des Deux-Rives. The name has to do with the premium value this local church lays on the notion of community, and to the fact that its participants are spread out on the North and South shores of the Quebec city area, Quebec, Canada. From that community church we moved on to our current Église vie abondante.

It was not until 2008 that came about a life-changing insight, which I am convinced was from the Holy Spirit of God, and which led me to confess my sin in a specific area of my life I had progressively let myself slip into with the passage of time. As a result of this, and of several other factors that were part of God’s doing, I began to experience a deep and permanent joy I had tasted a little of before, but that had not been my daily lot.

My family, and the people who had known me for years, asked me what had happened. But I could not explain it apart from the above. I do know that even when we are convinced that nothing will ever come of our life again, because it did not turn out as we wanted, God is there doing His work, and leading us to greater knowledge of Him. My article Can Married Couples be Restored is a direct outcomes of this life-changing event.

In light of one of what I am trying to accomplish through www.savoiretcoire.ca, perhaps concentrated on the page titled Autobiography and Learning, and documented more in-depth in my master’s thesis (French only), it might be appropriate to add that the current synthesis is an example of the level of abstraction that one can choose for presenting  autobiographical material, in cases he or she does not wish to provide some of the specific details, yet is determined to stay true to what actually occurred in his or her life.

Please check out www.christianforumsite.com, where a draft of the above testimony was first published as part of my profile. I’d be happy to engage with you there.

Daniel Garneau, B Th, B Com, MA
Updated: Sept 2014; Aug 2015; May 2016; Jan, Feb, and June 9, 2018.

God’s Grace Working in my Life

This article is a personal testimony of God’s grace working in my life. It was written down spontaneously, as I took part in the Christianity Board Christian Forum community. I had felt led to write my testimony of conversion to Christ from the perspective of God’s intervening in several sets of circumstances throughout a period of several years. I’ll just share some chunks of my testimony here, skipping huge portions.

One day, sometimes in the 1970’s, I read in the Bible that God will reveal Himself to those who seek Him. So I prayed that if He existed, he revealed Himself to me.

At another time, as I had read the Bible a little bit, trying to understand it as best I could, I read that God wanted all men to be saved, and also that any prayer we made according to His will, he would answer…

At some other time, while hitch hiking from Calgary Alberta to Vancouver British Columbia, it turned out that I teamed-up with another guy, and we began hitchhiking together. As we waited, I learnt he was from some kind of a Christian background, and knew his Bible quite well. But instead of using his knowledge to help me understand what it all meant, he tried to destroy Christianity with what he knew.

So, I said “God, if you exist, give us a ride with someone who knows the Bible and who will be able to answer this guy’s criticisms against Christianity.” Not long after that, within minutes in fact, a man picked-us up, and before we had time to say anything at all, he came up with: “I never pickup hitchhikers, but God told me to take you two in my car and give you a ride”. There was a Bible on the dash of his car, and right away we began talking about God. The other hitchhiker argued against everything the man said, just as he had argued with me. But later, when I tried really hard to not believe in God, because I did not want to change my life and abide by His ways, this story stuck with me.

The Lord is my strength and my song (Isaiah 12v2, ESV)

Eventually I chose to repent and to obey God. That is when I right away got involved with evangelism on the Military Base I worked at at the time (Valcartier, Quebec) as a corporal in the Military Police. My conversion to Christ radically changed the way I did my police work, and since I was also patrol chief for the team of a few men I was leading, I imposed very strict conformity to the respect of any servicemen we had to arrest, even if they became extremely injurious against us. As a result, I got instant respect from the entire group of 50 or so Military Policemen, as well as from the civilians that worked for our Military Platoon, as for example, the secretaries.

Why this respect? Because I went from a bad-mouthed cursing-lad with a code of ethics that needed much improvement to a cleaned-mouth and cleaned-attitude person whom no one found anything to criticize against. In brief, I became perceived as very coherent in my new walk with Christ, and it gained me a lot of respect from everyone around…

At first, I was hoping God would not ask me to share my faith on the military base where I lived. But it only took a few weeks until huge doors opened-up for me, and I organized what could almost have been called evangelistic campaigns, going from tent to tent on the base and sharing the Gospel to anyone who wanted to hear. Even once, I went to the military base bar, where I talked about nothing other than what God had done for me by way of salvation, and what He could do for those listening to me. In that context, there was a woman who seemed very impressed with my testimony; she asked me a ride home after the evening, and invited me in, mentioning that her husband was away somewhere on military duty, and would not be back for a few weeks. Then I realized I had naively walked into some kind of a trap. As soon as I realized this, I left right away, before anything could develop that would destroy what I had said that evening.

One guy I had preached the Gospel to in the military quarters where we both lived found himself in the hospital, and had one of our common friend ask me to visit him. So I went. And while in that military hospital on the base, I preached the Gospel to his three roommates who all seemed to me very interested in what I had to say.

Then, a few days later, I was invited in the Military Police commander’s office. He gave me the order to stop talking about my religion while I was on the military base, whether I was on duty or not, because, as he saw things, I was misusing the authority that came with my rank and trade. To which I answered: “With all due respect, Sir, I cannot comply to this order, because it goes against what the Bible teaches.” He asked me to put this in writing, which I did. In my written statement, I assured my superiors that I was willing to comply to any order I was given that did not conflict with what God clearly taught in Scriptures.

A few days after that I was sent to a psychiatrist operating on the military base. My pastor had advised me to tell him nothing except that I had been sent there to be examined, and then to answer whatever questions he would ask of me, sticking to the facts, and not volunteering anything I was not being asked for. This was sound advice: my interview did not last long, and I was deemed “normal.”

However a couple of days or so later, I was discharged with a clause that went something like this : “developed a weakness that he refused to correct.” I immediately became involved in my local church on a full-time basis, then went to Bible school, and eventually started a small daughter Church, of which I was pastor. Ten years or so went by between this rerouting from the military to the ministry.

My life broke apart because there were issues I did not know how to handle. So I decided to leave the Christian ministry, and get a regular job for a living. That is how I eventually became a Technical Writer, communication analyst, and managing consultant (conseiller en gestion), for a large Quebec based consulting company which operates in the field of corporate computer systems management…

I kept going to Church all along, but my heart was not really there any more. I did feel however that it kept me in God, and protected me from turning away from the Faith. People still did find encouragement in what I shared with them, but deep down inside of me I was discouraged beyond words, with regard to the really important aspects of life, meaning, everything that has to do with Christian spirituality or Christian life.

Then, in 2008, everything began to turn around. We hired a Pentecostal believer to replace me in the job I did as a Technical Writer for the National Defence of Canada, as a consultant for the large Quebec company I mentioned earlier. But the work we had to do just happened to double in intensity during that time period, so that we ended up working together for over six months or so. My daily relationship with this believer did much good to me. We became friends, and shared about God and His work in our lives.

During that period, something really strange occurred to me which is really difficult to put into words. But God showed me very clearly that there was an area of my life that I had to repent from, as if I had to choose there and then between God and that sin. My immediate response was to choose God, repenting, and never returning to that which I repented from since that time on. Within the same month , perhaps even during the same week, I did feel that a weight was lifted away from me. The best I can do to describe it is to say that it was as if I had been living under an atmospheric pressure system that felt ten times lighter after this experience with God than before it occurred.

As people in the Community-Church I was participating at at that time observed the changes in my general attitude towards others, and especially towards my wife, they asked me what happened. And for the most part, I was unable to explain in a way that was even close to being adequate what exactly had happened to me. Now, at this point, I must tell you that I am the type of person who reads a lot. So books are and have always been an important part of my life. Amongst the books I read, I found one author in particular that helped me maintaining my life in the direction that God gave it in 2008. Here are two of his books that go in the general direction of what I am now living on a daily basis:

  • Victory over the Darkness – Realizing the Power of your Identity in Christ, Regal Books, 1990, 2000;
  • The Bondage Breaker – Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, Habitual Sins, Harvest House Publishers, 1990, 1993, 2000.

Please receive the above testimony as a spontaneous expression of what God did and is doing in my life… […] God bless… […]

The above testimony was first published in thread titled Whats Your Testimony? I am reproducing here what I wrote there on June 17, 2014, editing it only very lightly as I go, in order to correct typos and respect the new context, which now is the present site.

You wish to get involved and ask about my testimony or share yours, please consider doing so at Christianity Board Christian Forum, under Whats Your Testimony? to which the above was my response. I will be happy to discuss the above with you there.

The above mentioned Christianity Board is a huge Christian Forum with many interesting topics and people to interact with. So don’t hesitate to get involved there. But, of course, we also would like you to feel more than welcome to join our nascient (as of this writing) trilingual Community of dialog about the Christian Faith (French, English, Spanish). In addition, you may share your response to this post in the comment box below, or join me through one of the other means mentioned under Questions or Comments.

Daniel Garneau, B Th, B Com, MA
Updated: September 2014; August 2015; May 2016; January, February, and June 2018.

Web Research Key Words: God’s grace working in my life; testimony of conversion; personal testimony; Christian testimony; testimony of conversion; conversion to Christ; The Lord is my strength and my song, Isaiah 12v2, English Standard Version, ESV.