Would you agree with me if I said that we were living in an age of deception? That our world is infatuated with humanistic idea’s and false ideologies. That things like the New Age movement, the emerging church, and Darwinism have crept not only into our societies but are in our churches, schools and homes? As many of you know these utopian ways of thinking are all around us and the reality of our Savior has become more of a bedtime story to our post modern society, rather than an assurance of faith and salvation. The World is attempting to eliminate any belief and existence in the one true God. And the sad part is, people are falling for it everywhere, even in the church. This soon included me and I began to fall for the worlds lies. I doubted God, His existence and reality. And sadly I became a skeptic.
In my earlier years, I was one of those who sat in church every Sunday and listened to the pastor teach year after year. I was raised in a Christian home and my Dad was a very strong Christian and still is today. For years I thought I was a Christian, I went to church, I said the prayer, I thought I believed. Yet, I was one who never truly committed my life to the Lord until years later.
There are so many people in and around the church who have heard the truth and may even understand it but, who have not yet embraced it and committed to it. That was me for a time.
To give you a little better understanding about why I had made the ‘decision’ for the Lord. Simply put, I didn’t want to go to hell. Who would want to go to hell after all! After all the horror stories you here about it. Heck I’ll say the prayer if it will keep me out of that horrible place. I needed my ‘fire insurance.’ And I got it the only way I knew how.
You see, for me, accepting Christ was all about what Christ could do for me. I mean he could surely save me from the pits of hell, but what I failed to realize was that it also required a complete sacrifice.
Now I knew from growing up that my life had to change, at least a little bit. So with my legalistic way of thinking I quite the big sins drinking excessively, cussing, partying, you know the big stuff. I then began to attend church on Sunday and pray before every meal. You know the basics. I thought I had this ‘Christian’ thing in the bag! For the next three years I played the part of Christian all too well. But what I failed to realize was that my life was at a slow decline. Overtime deception, doubt and false ideologies began to fill my life. Satan was at work and I developed strongholds that kept me from the Lord. I kept telling myself that I was fine, I said the prayer. I’m a good person. But I was only deceiving myself.
For three years I lived like this. Until one day God woke me up and I began to think that there has to be more to the Christ life than just doing Christian things. I knew deep down there was something wrong, I just couldn’t pin point it. So that night I prayed the prayer from Psalms 139:23, “Search me oh God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there are any wicked ways in me. Lead me in the way everlasting!”
Simply put, I asked God to pull the dirt out from my life, to show me the strongholds that kept me from him. The funny thing about God is that he answered right away!
You see, the very next day I received a phone call from a “so called” Christian friend and she began questioning Gods existence. The things she said to me made me doubt Gods utter existence and I began to question God myself. Maybe what she was true, maybe these are just fables? After all how could they be real?
But you know what God showed me. That I had doubt all along. I couldn’t blame my doubt on her if it existed within me in the first place. So to be more frank, God made me come face to face with the fact that I didn’t believe in Him. I had allowed so much influence from the worldview way of thinking that God, had become nothing but a likely possibility, maybe it’s true!
It scared me that I didn’t believe in God, yet I knew the cure could only be found in God himself. So that night I took action and prayed. In fact for the next two months I prayed every night in my prayer closet for at least an hour a night. During this hard time in my life one verse carried me through. It was James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” So I thought okay God, if I draw near to you, then your promise is to draw back and I held tight to this verse because for these next couple of months, there was a real battle going on in my brain.
You see when I was in that closest praying to God. Satan would keep telling me that “Gods not going to answer you!” He even used my own verse against me! Look at you, Elissa you’re “Drawing near to God, but He is certainly not drawing near to you!” Night after Night after Night…he would tell me this! But you want to know the truth! God did not show me anything or talk to me or anything during that time. Not one word. Satan kept whispering, God kept not answering. But you see God had a reason. God does not draw near immediately sometimes He wants us to seek Him out and He knew exactly what I needed.
The Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart we speak.” And when I was in the prayer closet that was exactly what I did. I said some pretty ugly things to God. I told God to prove himself to me by showing me a verse, I asked him to magically write on the wall, I demanded Gods answer like I had authority, I even threatened to turn from Christ if he didn’t show Himself to me. Let me tell you! God pulled out some dirt and I needed sifting and lots of it. But you see, God wanted me to believe in him first, in His Reality. So he kept silent till he knew I was ready.
Finally at the end of those two long months. I gave up the battle. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “GOD! I quite! I can’t fight you any more! You win! I believe, I believe! Even if I don’t have all the answers!! Even if I don’t have anything to go off of! I’ll just do it! –“I’ll BELIEVE!”All of a sudden with those words, I physically felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders! Whoosh!! I could feel that bond breaking in my life and I had been set-free!
Then something powerful happened! God was true to His words in James. He spoke and gave me my life verse!
Hebrews 11:6- “But without faith it is Impossible to please God, for he who comes to God Must believe that He is!”
What a perfect verse for me! Now I am closer to God than ever before and my Christian walk has been at a steady incline.
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