In season. Tropical fruits are all in season ready for harvest during the month of May. As a month-ender, I decided to write this article for they reminded me of only one thing: the altar call. What is an altar call? Contrary to popular belief, it is not just reserved for pastors or priests. Oftentimes it is referred in the most common term which is “a calling.”
As I was reading my devotion, came the idea that not all are called to do certain missions based on our spiritual gifts but all were called to bring God glory by sharing the Gospel. Sharing the Gospel always follows after a public declaration of your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Savior and a commitment to obey the Word. Sharing your testimony, so to speak.
For it was written:
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
This happens after being born again through the water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit. But this only follows after the altar call. I do not really consider myself as part of any religious organization or fellowship but just to give honor to the spiritual family who made my salvation possible, I’d be discussing my own experience how I got saved in our church. I have already shared in my previous articles how I got saved but not in particular the first step I did towards that salvation.
Speaking from my own experience, one reason why an unbeliever goes to church is because you are seeking for answers. Probably you are in a very low situation in your life and problems simply just took its toll and gained full control of your life – a state of chaos and confusion. Emotionally you are hopeless, helpless, depressed and in a lot of pain. That was what I am before the altar call.
The altar call is yes, a calling. It is that time during church service and everyone is worshipping that you will feel the tugging in your heart of the Spirit. It is something that is unexplainable for it can only be felt. During the worship while everyone was singing, I had this strong urge to let all my sorrows out and pass on the burden to someone. Later did I realize that that someone was the Spirit who lifted them for me, made me walk towards the altar when asked who wanted to surrender their life to Christ, crying my heart out and feeling every single word in the worship song that we were singing at that time along with fellow believers.
The worship song that we were singing was Unending Love and it was the right song at the right moment. A swarm of fellow believers followed suit and only a few remained in their tables. We were all there crying and it was not because we were all emotionally unstable but because the Spirit led us there and all of us were feeling burdened at that time and at the point of losing all hope – a state of sincere repentance and absolute surrender. We were blessed at that moment right in front of the altar and the church leaders prayed for us.
Bit by bit, the load begun to get lighter and lighter until almost after the praying was done, I felt as if my heart was already whole, complete, light and burden-free – complete freedom, a renewed self. I was having my One to One Discipleship with my bible study group leader at that time which is a more focused approach in preparing you for your water baptism and baptism of the Holy Spirit. The last two will culminate your salvation and your transformation. It is more like counseling and therapy. Except that you are discussing everything spiritually and the transformation comes from the person’s own free will to change guided by the Spirit’s leading.
Salvation is always an act of surrender. Repentance is the key followed by acceptance of a Savior in your life. No one else can lift your burden for you; otherwise, you wouldn’t be in church in the first place if you have found the solution to your problems and the answers to your questions someplace else. But then, God will not give you right away the answers you have been needing nor the solution to your problems but He will give you PEACE.
It is only through peace that you will be able to hear His instructions well which contain the answers you are looking for and the solution to your problems. Sometimes it comes through trust, patience, discipline and a whole lot of values and character traits that He wanted us to acquire first. One thing that an altar call makes possible is opening a door to establishing a firm and personal relationship with our God, the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ. Achieving peace during the altar call though you felt you have been burdened to death will give you the peace in every burden that you will carry in the future.
Because you now know that there is a God who hears, who loves and who saves. With Him, nothing is impossible. That is the assurance that an altar call, that God and what Jesus did for us on the Cross represent – HOPE.
And only when you are in season will you know the real essence of an altar call. For it is only then that the Lord will call you to make a lasting commitment with Him by accepting the gift of salvation – this is a personal encounter with the Lord.
The right time will come to make the harvest – when it is in season, ripe and ready to be caught when it falls. 🙂