Unwavering beliefs

As I start this journey, I have an open mind.

I don’t want to build my faith on man made beliefs.

I want to be firmly planted on the pure and unchanging Word.

So I am trying to UNlearn things I have read, been taught or picked up in some other way over the years.

Making room for the Spirit to teach me straight from the Scriptures.

However there are some things that I want to make clear from the very onset.

Unwavering beliefs that I know will not change because they are clearly stated in Scripture.

Truths that are true regardless of what else comes to light.

Hopefully these are the things that I can use as common ground with friends, family and acquaintances who don’t agree with changes I may make down the road because of my studies.

I BELIEVE

Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah.

He is the second person in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

He came to earth (born of a virgin) and lived a perfect, sinless life.

We are all sinful and separated from God because of that.

Christ willingly gave His life on the cross to reconcile mankind to their Creator.

Our salvation and eternal life is found only through the blood of Jesus. We can not earn our way to heaven by good works, obedience or keeping the law. 

God’s grace and redemption are not something to be squandered by living our lives for ourselves (or our family, friends, church, etc) We are called to make changes in response to our belief in the sacrifice of Christ.

As new creations, we are called to continually grow in our relationship with God– through prayer, worship, study of His word, etc. And this would manifest itself in outward changes  (behavior, lifestyle, interactions, serving…) as well as inward changes (renewing of our minds, deeper understanding, being more sensitive to the Spirit….) and is an ongoing process until the day we die (continual sanctification).

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is unchanging. Since Jesus is God, the same holds true for Him and thus anything God has said, He agrees and vice versa.

The Holy Spirit is alive in believers, moving and guiding as God wills. Therefore, we can learn and understand His Word without interpretation from other people (although learning from others is not BAD, it should be supplemental.)

I think that is a pretty good outline. Basically I am saying that I still hold fast to the basics tenants of faith that most Christ-followers do. I am just digging deeper to see exactly how God wants us to live by studying what He has said in His Word and the way that Jesus lived while He was on earth.

I have a strong suspicion that things just aren’t as they should be and I’m on a mission to fix that in my own heart, mind and life.

 

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The beginning of the journey

I’ve asked myself what started this process for me. What drove me to start digging in deeper to what God desires from us? I know that I have been prompted by the Holy Spirit, because He is always the One who nudges me to do anything that is right and good. I am an analyzer though. Constantly going over and over things in my head. And I have come to the conclusion that there were two distinct occasions that I can say led me to this point. (although I can’t recall the exact order they happened in)

I was doing an in depth study of the book of Proverbs and ran across this verse:

“For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”

Proverbs 1:32-33

The word complacency gave me pause. Where was I being complacent? Where would God have me be more in tune with Him and less under control of the status quo? This line of thinking led me to meditate more on this verse:

“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

Mark 7:8

I was starting to feel very convicted, as I inspected my life, that most of what I believed and adhered to were things I had been taught along the way. Learning from others is not a bad thing. I know iron sharpens iron and God gives us other believers to help us out. As I observed my life though, I could see how so much of it was man made and I realized I needed to get back to what God intended. I just had to figure out what that was….

The other point that strongly stands out to me, was a sermon at my church one Sunday. I’m not even quite sure what the sermon was about. I just remember one very significant part. The person preaching quoted this passage:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Matthew 7:21-23

And he pointed out something that had never occurred to me until that point. Those people saying “Lord, Lord” are not unbelievers. They are people who thought they knew Him. They thought they were working for Him. They were “Christians” who spent their lives (at least outwardly) serving God. Prophesying, casting out demons, doing mighty works IN HIS NAME. And yet God says to them “I never knew you.”

Wow.

These two points have led me to really start investigating for myself, with the guidance of the Spirit, what the Lord says in His Word to us about how we should walk in His ways.

I don’t want to be complacent.

I don’t want to blindly follow what man has decided God means when He says this or that.

I don’t want to cling to the doctrines of men.

I don’t want to waste my life doing what I WANT to do for God, but what HE MADE me to do for Him.

I don’t want to hear “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

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It’s a process

I’ve been a Christian for nearly 13 years.

I grew up always knowing there was “a God”, but never actually living differently because of that knowledge. Never internalizing it. Never pursuing it.

After our first miscarriage in 2003, I started searching out this God for myself. Long story short, on Christmas Eve 2003, I came to a full saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and gave my life over to him.

It’s a process.

I’ve learned (even more so recently), that the Lord reveals things to each individual little by little over their journey with Him.

An example from early on in my walk: I was a smoker when I got saved. I loved my cigarettes. I was a smoking Christ follower for a little while before I felt convicted that it was not an okay thing to do. Then I wrestled and whined and tried to explain to God that He doesn’t say in His Word that I can’t smoke. Finally in September of 2004 (thanks to lots of support from my husband), I laid down my habit on the altar and haven’t looked back. Now….is smoking a sin? I don’t think so. BUT: smoking is an idol (dictating where and when you go places; burning through your money; comforting you when you are stressed, sad, mad, etc) and idols ARE a sin.

Did I have to quit smoking to BECOME a Christian? No. Did I have to quit as soon as I became a Christian? No. Did God punish me for not immediately giving it up when He convicted me of it? No, He gave me the space to work through it like a gentle parent who knows what is right.

I very firmly believe that as long as we are walking next to Him and having open communication with Him (prayer and reading the Word), He will continue to make changes like these in our life. Molding us to His will. Little by little.

Now, that is just a small, silly (in comparison) example. These days I am wrestling with bigger things. Things that YHWH has really laid upon my heart that call on me to make changes once He opens my eyes to them.

The Sabbath.

The Law (torah).

Obedience.

Holiness.

How to really love Him.

How to really love others.

Deeper issues that He wants to show me to make me more like His Son. Which is really ironic, because my “word for the year” (I pick one every year), was DEEPER. I didn’t searching out some radically different teachings. I just searched His Word with the prompting and guiding of the Spirit living in me.

This blog is going to chronicle that journey.

It’s a process.
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