Tuesday, March 23, 2010

That I May Know Him

Have you ever wondered how to put into words what you want to say? Even if you could, many would still read them and miss the very essence of their content. Unless one has gone through the same experience readers will only understand up to a certain point. For example, a young Christian reading a book written by a seasoned child of God will only glean so much. Picking it up again a few years later when she is older and more seasoned, what was overlooked before is met with sympathy. The Holy Spirit shines light on truths previously missed.

I've pondered for sometime on how to put into words what God has brought me through these past few months and even years. Some may read what I write and not be moved at all. Some may sift every word in a critical spirit looking for something to use in argument, missing any good at all. Then there are those always coming with an open heart, ready to receive and glean something which may be of some help, some comfort, or of some good for their souls. It goes without saying we must pray without ceasing especially when reading anything, asking the Lord to keep us from any error or deception.

I hate rushing any post and quite often it can take hours as I ponder and pray over anything I write. Clicking the publish button is a scary moment! This is one reason I have not posted as often as I have in the past. I also hate posting for the sake of it. There is a great responsibility that comes with anything we share especially online. Our words must reflect the Light within us that we may glorify our God. With all this said I commit all to my God and Saviour with the desire to bring Him glory and honour and to edify the body, His bride.I don't believe for a minute it has to be like that.

Be Zealous!
As a new born babe in Christ I was blissfully unaware of even the word theology. All I knew, with great simplicity, was that God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to take my place on the cross to die so I can be saved and brought into a right relationship with Him, my heavenly Father. Little did I know of the trials ahead or of having to learn of God as a Father. These days were carefree, full of joy and I felt full of the Holy Spirit. Many have said to me over the years, “Oh yes, that is the zeal we all had when born into the Kingdom. It's the honeymoon period. It soon passes.” I hate that saying! I don't believe for a minute it has to be like that. In fact Jesus tells us to “Be zealous”, Rev.3:19.

Over the years the enemy came and did what he does best . . . steal, kill and try to destroy! Seeing my weak points he used hurt to try and cause unforgiveness and bitterness to grow within. God's strength was made perfect in my weakness. The Lord used this for good and continues to do so. Then came something that caught me off guard. I had the basics (the essential doctrines) of faith, was growing in my relationship with God when suddenly before I even knew it I was in a world of many various points of view of Christian doctrines. Arminianism , Calvinism, Pre-Trib, Post-Trib etc. The schools of thought seemed to never end. Then there are those longing for the "good old days" and trying to bring back the old manna of yesterday even naming themselves after that particular group. Which brings up the issue of the many denominations today. Entering this world and taking hold of what seemed the right point of view at the time I became engrossed in defending that view. My bookshelf showed it. My way of looking at everything did too and unfortunately this resulted in outright judgmentalism, legalism and a critical spirit towards my brothers and sisters in the Lord. This was a few years ago. Now but coming through it, I had lost my zeal and vision. What now?

With the benefit of hindsight I can almost see the Lord looking at me and saying, “Have you quite finished now? Have you come to the end of yourself and stopped striving? OK, now follow Me.” I realized I stopped following the Lord and listening to His voice. Somehow, somewhere I listened to the voice of a stranger. Now was the time to listen to the Good Shepherd's voice, the one I knew so well. So what did He say to me? Well for a while I had on my heart peacemaking. All this time I wasn't in a particular fellowship. I knew I did not leave the last one well and believed relationships needed to be restored including any past hurts forgiven of.

After some time seeking the Lord I found it was my relationship with Him that needed attention first. He was drawing me closer to Himself. I realized I had not been pursuing God but religion. Religion had brought with it a set structure and told you how things were. It was a way of being brought into the bondage of legalism. Man is very good at taking a truth and turning it into a doctrine! It's very subtle at first and only people on the outside can see what's going on. In it you cannot see what it is doing to you. Joy has gone only to be replaced by seriousness. A lightness of spirit replaced by a heavy one and fear, worry and anxiety abound. Worst of all your view of God changes from loving Father to someone you fear if you don't meet with the theological interpretation you are following. Again, I am talking about the non essentials.I JUST LOVE THE LORD!

BUT NOW I AM FREE! Free to love God, to know Him, to grow in my knowledge of Him, to allow self to be crucified so I can become more like Him, and to just abide in Him! I JUST LOVE THE LORD! I am a child of God. And that's it, knowing who you are in Him. To find out who a fellow brother or sister is some will ask, “What denomination are you?” or “What is your theology?” Then if it does not agree with their point of view they will either write you off or categorize you in the hope of one day "converting you"! When someone replied, “I'm a Christian” it would annoy me. But now I understand!Big fat pride kept saying no!

As I continued to listen, the Lord began to reveal His will. Over and over I kept getting the words "keep moving forward: and Phillipians 3:13-14. “But Lord”, I thought, “Forward where?” And that's when I knew in order to move forward I had to go back. Yes, I had to go back to my old fellowship! I knew with all my heart I had to go back but big fat pride kept saying no! Confirmation after confirmation came through my daily readings until one day I surrendered to God's will. The day I went back (I called it a tester day, at this point it was official only between God and I) the whole sermon was on the very scriptures God had been giving me! What has ensued since going back is nothing short of miraculous. The changes in me (zeal is back!), the miracles I've seen with God stepping into situations and most of all I have been greatly humbles by the brethren at the fellowship. The relationships of the saints there with their Lord are beautiful and humbling and I'm always being being challenged by this!

So right now this is where I am. A child of God wanting to be used by Him, for His glory, a vessel of honor fit for the Master's use.

Can I share with you a secret?...
I never intended on writing all this. In fact I was writing a post on something entirely different! But who knows, maybe this is written because it is meant for someone. Someone going through the same situation perhaps? God knows.

7 comments:

Jennifer said...

Geraldine, glad to have you back! Well said, and very inspiring. I know you haven't written in a while but I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3, that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. You have held back for a season, and now is your time to speak. (In fact, I think this is the longest post you've ever written!) It was worth the wait. Thanks for sharing.

Tom Gabbard said...

Geraldine,

I can relate! How easy it is to lose sight of Christ and the gospel in the midst of our intellectual debates. Our flesh is crafty just like the serpent, and will take that which is holy and use it for it's own ends. It is truly wonderful to see Christ and the gospel afresh and to make much of Him!

Geraldine said...

Thanks Jen,
Lol, yes, I was worried it was going to be too long!!! Your so right about Ecclesiastes 3. I really do feel there is a time to refrain from speaking, even for those with blogs, and hold back for a season.

Geraldine said...

Tom,
It's good to know people can relate but sad at the same time. As with any experience, to understand you must go through it. I believe the Lord allows us to pass through these things for a time and graciously saves us...again!
I long to know God personally through relationship not religion. I think it's always good to question our motives in everything we do as that will be a reflection on our relationship. Are we doing something out of love for Him or are we doing it from selfish desire, to make ourselves look good. Many profess to KNOW Him and think their 'much knowledge' is a reflection of this. Yet this just isn't so, as they show no love or compassion towards their brethren who disagree on any minor point of their theological school of thought. It's not a pretty sight. Have we really so much time on our hands?

Latisha said...

Geraldine:

I wrote the heartfelt reply to your post yesterday and it did not go through for some reason. What you wrote blessed and encouraged me so much. I know exactly where you are as I'm there. I know a bit of the road you traveled to get to this place of surrender (e.g. bitterness, forgiveness, having to 'go back" and do over and watch God, the legalism, the self righteous and critical spirit, ai yai yai).

I was so blessed I sent it out to my network and read the entire article to one of my best friends last night to encourage her. I'm inclined to think you wrote that just for me. Your opening paragraph hit me right in the belly as I've been opening my mouth to speak things that I don't even understand. So it stands that others would be prone to miss your heart. Anywho...keep writing.

YOu and Jen are so gentle and warm in your tone. Please pray for me that I would be full of His spirit when I am moved to write. As right now I'm empty and have nothing. I'm still in the oven...not DONE yet--if you will (seasonally speaking, one is never done).

Like you I don't want to write just to write and seeing how you and Jen have consecrated your writing here is making me want to be more careful in my writing online.

Anywho...I want to hug you. I wish I could talk to you live.

Geraldine said...

Latisha,
I was so touched when I read your comment I had to take time out before I could reply!!! But then I'm so desperate to thank and encourage you!

I'm beginning to see my experience is not mine alone. I am so thankful to God for setting us free. In fact right now I'm pretty much lost for words and in awe of His goodness and mercy.

Hugs right back at you!!!! I'm glad we have 'met'. Also I thank God for Jen's incredible patience towards me!

May we all be full of His Spirit when we write, but don't be so quick to put yourself down. I can see through your writing much good fruit, humility and sincerity. It seems to me we all genuinely want to KNOW God more and to become like Him. We are tired of religion, not that we thought we were religious at the time! Religion...what an empty word, void of any good fruits. Let us continue to pray for one another and perhaps make Ephesians 3:14-21 part of our prayer.

Thank you so much for your encouragement Latisha!!!

Renee said...

Jen

It's good to come full circle again "back to" the place of grace!

I hope though you don't feel your walk through "the fear" was a waste of time. Joy in redemption and fear of God I think in a lot of ways are part of the same package. It seems to me, we all have a better appriciation of redemption when we've come to a certain understanding of the hell we've been spared from and our rightful deserving of that wrath. I think that's all part of the process for a great deal of us.

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.." - but the end of that is love "for perfect love casts out fear.."

On the other hand; legalism in some respects I think can be very difficult to avoid. Learning about the law gives us (at least intellectualy) some insight as to the holiness of God. In comparison, I think it can be really hard not to get tripped up by our own sin. With "Be holy as God is holy.." - it can be very tempting to fall into the hole of legalism because of "I wanna get it right" this time around.

Either way - coming back to grace in the end, often times makes it more valuable. A little growth, a little more understanding changes a lot of perspective! (And in the immortal words of Martha Steward) "It's a good thing."