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  My Witness

Vol. 2, No. 1, January, 1997

My Story of Christ in Me
By Bob Patton

Why did coming to know Jesus, in a personal way, prove to be such a challenge for me? As a boy l had learned to believe and as a mature, married man with 3 children, I had lived out: "Grab hold of life by the throat and be a man; be in control; be strong." But Jesus says: "My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).

When I was young, both in grade school and high school, I watched T.V. a great deal. It taught me much about life. I saw people who always looked perfect and had no problems to speak of. You remember the shows: Father Knows Best. Donna Reed, My Three Sons. Leave It To Beaver. I couldn't understand why my lite wasn't perfect like theirs. They didn't seem to need God, at least they didn't talk about Him, and they got along al right, or so it seemed, without Him. TV. had,a great influence on me and it made knowing Jesus personally, very difficult.

I had also learned that possessing material things was everything. I didn't really look inside at who I was. My problems were solved through material means. As a highly motivated individual I wanted to achieve much in my late. Not knowing how to solve my problems or how to approach life, I was very frustrated.

Raised as a Catholic, did everything Catholics were suppose to do: Church on Sunday, catechism classes and receiving the sacraments. I discovered that in doing all of this. I really did not know Jesus. Yet, I did feel a love for Him but didn't really know what that meant or how to express it. I didn't know how to live or walk in the Spirit.

While in college on a football scholarship, a friend introduced me to Jesus. was amazed that in all the years of my upbringing in the Catholic faith no one had ever really expressed to me what it was like to know Jesus and what He wanted of me'in life. That was 14 years ago.

Because of the people I ran around with at that time, fell back to my previous way of life. Under peer pressure. I was not able to stand up for Christ and my relationship with Him. realized the Lord had a plan for my life but basically I rejected it. And for the next ten or eleven years my life was a mess. experienced severe health problems, both physically and psychologically. I believe the reason my problems were so severe was so that when the Lord called me again would stick with Him.

That is exactly what has happened. Over the past two years my life has changed dramatically. He didn't strike me with a bolt of lightning. But He called me through the People Know, that I've met over the last two years. He called me through the books I've read. read a lot of self-help books, searching for solutions to my problems. noticed that each of these books were scripturally based. thought, why read paraphrases of the Bible? So I began reading the Bible itself and this brought me closer to the Lord. He called me through my wife. I saw what was happening in her life and I saw the joy she felt in her involvements. She would come home from a prayer meeting and share how the Lord was working in peoples' lives. Inside had a hard time listening because I had so many problems but she seemed so happy. One night I told her I was going with her to a prayer meeting. She almost tainted when it happened. Me too! This brought deep change in my life. I not only came to know Jesus more profoundly, I came to realize the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Over the past two years my life with Jesus has been one of growing peace and an ever-increasing love for others. Both of these additions to my life are a welcome relief. When I'm challenged and confronted I repeat, "In Him who is the source of my strength I can do everything" (Phil. 4:13). In terms of the number of challenges I'm presented with, I still do not find life easy. But I have found a new power to handle the every day challenges. The path becomes clearer step by step. In addition, the Lord has given me some insight into what real wisdom is. I've always respected and been motivated by "the wisdom of the world" but I've found that "the wisdom of this world is folly with God" (1 Cor 3:19). I seek His wisdom by keeping my eyes on Him and being more rooted in His word. And fear, which has been crippling for me, is starting to leave me.

What do I look forward to? In my walk with Jesus, I look for an increasing knowledge of Him and an increase of His presence in me. I also look forward to the gifts that God is preparing for me: patience, understanding, endurance and joy. As Hebrews 10:35-36 says: "Do not then surrender your confidence: it will have great reward. You need patience to do God's will and receive what he has promised."

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