Ask someone when they felt closest to God or when they experienced God meet them in a powerful way and I can almost guarantee you that the context of the moment will be significant. What do I mean? Put inversely, our context may be the most significant spiritually formative aspect to our lives. See, we often meet God most significantly through the change of context. Just a short trip through my stories and the stories I have heard from others and I can tell you about moments such as
At risk of over-simplification, I would suggest that our greatest spiritual moments are either “exile” moments or “mission” moments. Home was a significant theme throughout scripture, but God often removed the people of God from “home” in order to reshape them and make the people he chose them to be. Abraham in Egypt, Joseph in Egypt, Israel in Egypt, David among the Philistines, Israel’s exile to Babylon. The departure from home was never less than transformational. The same is true today. Nothing like a good mission trip to get a girl to break-up with the boyfriend she had “settled with.” A little time away, a little experience of God and she realizes what life ought to be like—and he ain’t helping her get there.
Interestingly, “exile” is only a slight theme in the New Testament (see part two for this). The expectation rather is that the people of God will put themselves on mission. Jesus leads his follower on mission. Then he sends them on mission. On mission, they experience the Holy Spirit like never before. Luke, in writing the story of the early church in Acts, when describing the people who started crossing barriers in Antioch said, “The Lord’s hand was with them…” (Acts 11:20-21).
Your best spiritual moment in 2017 will likely be out of your comfort zone. You can’t and shouldn’t choose exile, but you can choose mission.
When have you grown through an “Out-of-comfort zone” experience?