How You View God Determines How You Present God to Others
My first impression of Salt Lake City was that it was very clean. It reminded me of Disney World without the Disney. A kind of “sheen of niceness” hung over everything and everyone, but instead of feeling happy and content, the whole vibe just made me feel kind of…sad.
I’m not sure if I can even explain why.
But I wasn’t there to walk around with a white glove and test the dirt levels, I was there to film a movie. The goal was to go into the very heart of Mormon country, to the Tabernacle itself, and introduce as many people as we could to the Holy Spirit.
While we were there we talked with some former Mormons, some of whom had family members on the council of 12 (which, I was told, is a really big deal), and to say I learned a lot is an understatement.
I learned that Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being and is the brother of Lucifer (the devil). I learned that Mormons believe that two other books are on par with the Bible as spiritual authority.
Most importantly to my task at hand was that I learned that Mormons do not believe that the Holy Spirit can be consciously felt or experienced, nor do they believe He is an actual Person in the Godhead. To Mormons, the Holy Spirit is more like the idea of Providence—a kind of force that works behind the scenes and vaguely affects things.
But that’s not what I believe, nor what I know to be true. The Holy Spirit is indeed a Person, and He’s the Person Jesus sent to be God’s representative here on earth—to be our comforter, advocate, healer, and partner. In our time at Salt Lake City, I simply wanted to introduce people to my friend as I knew Him.
I was there with two friends of mine, Will Hart and Jamie Galloway, and all day we simply struck up conversations with people, almost all of them Mormons, and prayed for them to have an actual experience, an encounter with the Holy Spirit.
It was wild to watch people feel sensations in their hands and arms, almost like electric shocks, and none of them knew what to do about it. This was not the Holy Spirit they had been taught about, and the experiencing of Him began to overrule what they had previously thought.
At one point we met a man who was standing on the corner yelling at everyone that they were going to hell because they did not believe in the true Jesus Christ. We approached him and struck up a conversation because I really wanted to understand this man and why he did what he did. I found out that he had been doing this for decades, and he believed that people can only be convicted by preaching. We obviously had a difference of opinion, but I was trying to understand him. He was a nice man, but he viewed God differently than me.
I learned a major lesson that day.
How you view God will in large part determine how you present God to others. If you think God is angry, then that’s exactly what you’re going to show others. If you think God is full of grace, you will most likely take an opposite approach.
Both the justice people and the grace people have a real hard time understanding each other because they are so diametrically opposed to one another. But the hard part for everyone else is the understanding that God cares about both justice AND grace.
So which one do we present to people?
For me, Jesus is the ultimate answer to this question. How did he treat people who didn’t believe in Him? He spoke the truth, but He also did it in grace and love, and He always sought to connect with whoever He was dealing with—at His core Jesus was a man who loved people.
I wonder how much easier reaching the world would be if Christians just took His example to heart.
Later that day, we met four teenagers who were heading home from a local skate park. We were able to talk and pray for all of them, and one of them was even healed of a problem he had been having with his knee.
That day they experienced God in a way they didn’t know was possible, and that experience trumped anything they might have learned from church. All four of them accepted Jesus into their life not because of our eloquent preaching, but simply because they encountered the wonderful Jesus on their own. And if there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that Jesus is truly irresistible.
How is your view of God affecting your life and those you present the Gospel to?
This Story is From:
Holy Ghost. You can watch this story as it unfolded because captured it on film. See this and more stories in the full movie available now.