What is a God-kind of encounter? And how would I know if I ever had one? What does it look like or feel like? And for those of you who have had a God-kind of encounter, when was the last time you had one that marked your life in a memorable way?
Why Would God Encounter Us Anyway?
In order to answer the questions above, we first have to establish the truth that God, our Creator, would even want to encounter us in the first place.
The first record of God encountering the human race was in the Garden of Eden, in Genesis 1:26-28, where He created man. In the scriptures shortly thereafter, He gave him instructions on how to live and prosper in his dominion.
There are numerous other records of God powerfully encountering men and women throughout the bible all the way to the book of Revelation. However, the primary reason He created us and wants to encounter us is simply because He is a God of love and compassion and He wants a personal relationship with His creation that lasts throughout eternity.
For those of you who don’t believe in Creation, please bear with me. Regardless of what persuasion you’re influenced by, you have to admit by looking around you that you cannot get apples from an orange tree, and cows don’t produce horses, etc. The scriptures also allude to this in Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, and 25. God spoke it, and it remains to this day. In other words, “every living thing produces after its own kind!” Period!
How Do I know If I Have Encountered God?
If you’ve truly encountered God, there is going to be a positive change. If you’re not a believer, it is so easy. All you have to do is ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Lord and Savior. The bible says in John 3:16 that God loves the world so much that He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sin, past, present, and future. But verse 17 says that God IS NOT condemning anyone in the world, but that He just wants all of us to come to Him and believe in His Son. If we don’t believe in Him and reject Him instead, we condemn ourselves and seal our own fate and it will not be God’s fault. It will be our because we turned down the only way to Father God.
Once you’ve accepted His invitation, He wipes away all past sin and 2 Corinthians 5:17 says you become a new creation. The Greek language for that verse means a new species of being that “never existed before”. What God says, He means.
Some who accept Jesus experience a rush of emotions, joy, happiness, tears, a feeling of freedom, emotional overwhelm or even a sense of being light. There are many ways God can choose to manifest Himself. But emotion alone does not determine whether or not you received the gift of salvation. If you are sincere at the heart level, it becomes a reality in your human spirit because God will always do His part.
As a believer, your denominational or religious upbringing can have a large part to play in the type of encounter or experience you have with God. But I’ve also heard many testimonies where God simply overrode “all pre-conceived” ideas in the person’s mind about how they thought God would show up.
Have you grown in the level of your maturity to the point that you now realize God’s word is the final authority and not what your particular denomination dictates? If so, you can experience exhilarating visitations with God that are only limited to your understanding of His character and nature. And that will certainly change with each God-encounter you experience.
Please know that I AM NOT SAYING that every encounter will involve emotions, visions, goosebumps, and the like because they won’t. If you believe that, you will fall into the trap of presumption and God will not be put in anyone’s box. He is God and He alone has the right to manifest Himself as He chooses and when He chooses. You’ll be very disappointed to realize you can’t MAKE Him do anything, but He can be persuaded by a hungry heart that is in pursuit of Him.
Some Unusual Encounters
One of the most powerful and awesome accounts of God encountering man has to be Moses in Exodus 19:18-20. It says that when the Lord descended upon the mountain that is was full of fire and smoke and it quaked greatly, and then Moses went up to it. Out of that encounter came the original Ten Commandments.
Then there was the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22). Some of you may not be aware of this, but Paul was a high echelon, religious leader of his day that was involved in killing Christians because he thought they were dangerous to the future state of Israel his religious sect. But God met him on the way to Damascus, knocked him off his horse, and he was never the same again. As a matter of fact, God used him to write two-thirds or our New Testament.
Heroes of the Faith
Since that time many men and women have had powerful life-altering encounters with God that have marked their lives permanently. As a result, they received their calling from God and appointments with destiny that would affect their lives as well as the lives of countless others for all eternity.
Smith Wigglesworth, who was called “The Apostle of Faith,” was an illiterate plumber from England who had a visitation from the Lord and thereafter became one of the most powerful evangelists of his time. He walked with such a presence of God on his life that records of the past state as he was traveling from meeting to meeting, people would literally fall down in front of him under conviction of their sin. It has also been recorded that as Smith Wigglesworth would begin praying at meetings, people would actually crawl out of the church on their hands and knees because the presence of God was so heavy that they could literally no longer breathe. But Smith would stay for long periods of time and intercede for people with great sobbing.
Then there’s Charles Finney, a Connecticut-born attorney that received the baptism of the Holy Spirit through a radical God-encounter. Shortly thereafter, he closed his law practice and started preaching. Finney taught in Oberlin College, was an outspoken abolitionist, lead a half-million souls to Christ, and allowed women to start speaking in churches which was highly unpopular in that day. And unfortunately, it still is in some places today.
Then there’s Evan Roberts, a young Methodist man who was a leader in the Welsh revival in the early 1900’s. He also received a powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit after an equally powerful personal encounter with God.
Time and space does not allow me to adequately share the details of the experiences of these men and women of God and the powerful life-changing encounters that each of them had. However, I challenge to you research them for yourself and allow it stir up a hunger and passion for God in your heart.
Your Personal Encounter
You must understand that God is waiting to have an encounter with you! Perhaps one that is just as intimate, powerful, and life changing as any of these people I mentioned earlier. You are His creation, the apple of His eye. He sent Jesus to earth on your behalf so that you could have an intimate friendship with Him for all eternity.
But this relationship is not so that you can keep it to yourself. It’s so that you can share Him with others and encourage them. I like the comment that I heard from Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. He said that, “The Holy Spirit is within me for my sake, but He is upon me for yours.” And then he finished by saying, “Many Christians don’t know that we can give Him (the Holy Spirit) away.” He said, “We are to ‘leak Jesus’ everywhere we go.”
So pursue a close encounter of the God-kind of your own and then go out and just “leak Jesus wherever you go.”
Serving You Truth,
If you’d like to know more about pursuing God and encountering Him. I highly recommend Bill Johnson’s book titled: Face to Face with God:The Ultimate Quest to Experience His Presence.