ARTICLE – Encountering Christ: The Path to Transformation

Evangelization is best understood as the process of leading individuals to encounter Christ. Nonetheless, we can ponder: what does it mean to encounter Christ, and how can we prompt this experience?

Encountering Christ means having a personal experience of God’s love, grace, and presence. This encounter happens within the context of faith and involves both an emotional and intellectual dimension. An encounter with Christ marks a turning point that disrupts our status quo. When we truly meet Jesus, we become awakened to the reality of God’s kingdom. Our priorities shift from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness.

Encountering Jesus leads to repentance and conversion – turning away from sin and turning wholeheartedly to God. As we yield more of ourselves to Him, we begin to reflect His light to others. Essentially, encountering Christ launches us on the path of discipleship as we seek to follow Him.

We can encounter Jesus in a variety of ways. For many, reading and reflecting on Scripture provides a meeting place with Christ. By the Holy Spirit, the Gospel stories come alive to reveal Jesus’ mercy, wisdom and vision for our redemption. Likewise, through liturgical celebrations we join the body of Christ. Singing praises positions our hearts to receive fresh revelation about God’s character and purposes. Taking communion offers a tangible experience of Christ’s presence. Serving others also opens doors for divine encounters, as Jesus identifies Himself with the poor and marginalized. Additionally, activities like fasting, adoration and intercessory prayer create space for us to meet with God.

The more time we devote to spiritual disciplines like scripture meditation, solitude, fellowship and service, the more spacious our interior lives become. Here Christ illuminates areas that need realignment – resentments that poison relationships, addictive behaviors that enslave us or misplaced priorities that lead to burnout. In love, He frees us from demonic influences and corrects warped thinking patterns. Through these encounters, Jesus heals us and empowers us to live fully as the Father intended when He created us.

And, these encounters with Christ inevitably spill over to bless others too. Those who have met Jesus can’t help but proclaim and demonstrate His kingdom in words and deeds. Truly the proof of one’s encounter with Christ lies in a grace-filled countenance, a Spirit-empowered life and other-centered overflows.

Christ’s life-giving presence in our lives fulfills our deepest aspirations and realigns us with our ultimate goal – to glorify the Father. When we open our hearts to Him, He fills us anew with His love. Our highest calling is to abide in His presence, yielding to His transformative touch, and then to be vehicles of His life and light for this world.

Pierre-Alain Giffard

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