By Not Known
As we look back on our lives, we see several turning points, moments or events that changed the direction of our lives. It may have been the choice of a school or university. It may have been the choice of the area or country we live in. It may have been our choice of career or first job. It may have been meeting our future spouse. It may have been an illness. It may have been the death of someone close and loved. It may have been several things, that as we look back, have changed our lives and their direction sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. Some of these turning points we were aware of at the time. Some we only realised in hindsight, looking back on our lives.
As Christians we also look back and see turning points in our Christian life, moments of conversion and commitment, moments of struggle, moments of inspiration and assurance. In his book ‘The Lord’s Creed’, George Ingle wrote “There are three conversions – or turning points – in a person’s life: the first is to Christ: the second is to the church; and the third is back to the world.”
We normally think of conversion as a single moment. But for many people commitment to Christ comes as an accumulation of experience. This is particularly true of those who are brought up in a Christian home. As we look back there is no one point we received Christ, because we received Christ first from our parents. As we look back there is not always one turning point but several. Perhaps an analogy from travelling in a car may help us here. Sometimes our turning points are quite clear. When we reach a junction we can turn left or right. We can make a clear turn. But at other times when we are travelling on expressways, it is the road that does the turn for us. The curve of the road takes us in a different direction.
It is the same with our Christian journey. Sometimes our turning points are very clear. But at other times they come naturally as part of our walk with the Lord. This means that those of you who come from non-Christian backgrounds will probably have a different turning point experience from your children. Yours will be a cross roads experience. Theirs will probably be more an expressway experience. The Damascus experience of Paul is not for everyone.
Dr J.I. Packer in a recent book has stressed the need for continual repentance, a continual turning to God. Perhaps we need to see conversion in the same light, as continued conversion. Let’s just look at the three conversions outlined earlier. The first turning point is to reach a firm belief in Jesus Christ, and to realise the he is “the way, the truth and the life.” The second turning point is to want to link up with people in the church who share that conviction and express it through worship, fellowship, teaching and service. The third turning point is “to go into all the world” to want to reach out with God’s love to all the worlds we belong to. These are indeed great turning points, great conversions.