Before I describe all that God has done for me this past year, I’d like to look at all that God has given me throughout the larger part of my life with Him. These past few years have probably been the best and most beneficial of my entire life. I say beneficial because I have seen a great refinement and increase in my walk with Christ: from pursuing Him in greater wisdom and understanding of His gospel at Legacy Bible Institute, to seeing His work in the lives of others in the fellowship of Youth Choir this past summer. After coming to know Christ in a more focused way, I realized how much I hadn’t allowed Him to work in my life in the past and decided to give and devote my life to Him. From that surrender to Him, He has worked so heavily and gracefully in my life, to the point where I feel like a completely different person.
Christ has freed me from a serious weight of worry and stress. He has given me a great boost of confidence and openness to trust and communicate with others in fellowship. It is actually very interesting to look back at my life and see how far I’ve come and the changes that have happened since my growth in Christ. My entire outlook on life and who I was changed: I got an incredible boost of confidence, I stopped worrying about everything I did, and I actually enjoyed conversing and doing things with other people. From that newfound confidence and desire for interaction with others, I decided to commit almost a year to study Him, His Word, and His works in a classroom with four amazing classmates.
My reason for coming to Legacy Bible Institute was that I had seen what God had done in the life of my brother, Zac, who had also gone to Legacy. His life had completely changed to a point that it was evident in all of my interactions with him that he was a different person with God. I wanted to see that same change in my life, so I decided to join this awesome class, and amazingly I’ve seen very prominent changes in my life after going through it. It is honestly surreal to think that the class 2019-2020 is almost over; just looking back at all the good times we had as a class is difficult, as there are so many. It is, however, quite easy to see how far each of us has come and how much of God’s Word we have ingested, as it is evidently displayed to one another.
One thing that struck me towards the beginning of the course was how little I actually knew about God’s Word. I have to admit that many of the classes surrounding the different books of the Bible were my first introduction to them. With my new knowledge of His Word, I have been given a better and more refined understanding of God and his intentions for my life. It is quite amazing to not only see how much He has done for me, but what He is doing currently.
One of the many great gifts that He has given me just this week was the gift of a nice, open sky for the sun to shine all the clearer as I was reminiscing about my home back in the deserts of Arizona. Another gift that I “received” from the Spirit was one that was already there for a long time; I just failed to acknowledge it until recently. That gift was His presence: He was and always will be there with me in times of trials and confusion. The time that I spend with the Spirit in solitude has benefited me greatly. Ironically, with all of the panic and hysteria in the world right now, I find myself more calm and collected than ever. That is actually a major component of my walk with Christ, His authority in my life, and the triumph over anxiety and worry that was once within my life. I am so excited to see where He takes me in life with the knowledge that we can accomplish anything with Him.
The final, but certainly not the last gift, was given to me by God in class. In a time of sudden confusion and trial, I realized that we were going through the book of James in class. The book of James is one of my favorite pieces of God’s Word as it has encouraged me so greatly in the past. Chapter one in particular is so important to me and my walk with Christ as it brings out the role of the trials in our lives and how we should see them as a spiritual sharpening stone of perseverance. One of the most challenging statements in the chapter is written at the very beginning with the words, “Consider it pure joy… when you face trials of many kinds.” We should thank God for our trials and opposition – for our sadness and challenges – because we know that when we overcome those things, we will be made even stronger than before. With the conquering of the bad times in my life, I can look back and not only see how much I have grown, but how much God has sharpened me in my walk with Him.
– T. J. P. (written 4/6/2020)