I got saved when I was five years old. If you had asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up I would have said “be a missionary”. I used to hope that I would be martyred for my faith and from about the age of six read every missionary or other great Christian hero biography I could get my hands on, often reading the same books my parents did, my Dad being a pastor and avid reader himself. I have never tried a cigarette, much less any other drug or illegal substance, never tasted alcohol all my growing up years and still to this day have never been drunk.
I remained a virgin until my wedding night and certainly have never been in trouble with the law. From the time I could read I read my Bible every day and as a kid fell asleep ever night listening to ‘Unshackled”, a radio program that dramatized real life testimonies. I defended the kids being made fun of or bullied and witnessed to all my unsaved friends. Oh, and when I had money of course I tithed! No surprise I ended up at Bible college, it had been a dream of mine my whole young life.
As I got older and became a wife and mother, so many other godly duties got added to my list it became difficult to keep up. Now I had to work on being patient, submissive to my husband’s every desire, keeping my house clean , disciplining my children diligently, having meals on the table, maintaining a modest yet beautiful ‘feminine’ appearance, and serving the church in any way I could.
So there it is: the outside of my cup and dish, the whitewashed exterior of my tomb. That’s the game I kept up, or tried to, for most of my twenty-five years or so as a Christian. From the outside it looked pretty good, I think lots of people were impressed. But religion is a dangerous game to play, when you think you’re doing well you’re somewhat happy, comparing yourself favorably with those around you. But when you fail, there is no mercy to fall on. You fall into shame, guilt, condemnation, fear, and hopelessness, and no amount of guilt and fear can give you the power to make it out of that dark pit; the righteousness that God demands from us cannot come from us. Down in that pit the enemy constantly whispers in our ear ‘without holiness no one can see the Lord’ , ‘God hates sin, no sin can enter his presence’, ‘the prayer of a righteous man is fervent and effective’. You have to admit before your accuser that your aren’t sinless, holy , or righteous, because the law which you’ve been living under can only ever show you that you have fallen short of God’s glory and deserve to be eternally condemned. Despair overwhelms you and you are tempted to believe the lie that God is not fair, but a sadistic god who enjoys commanding us to do what he knows it is impossible for us to do, who puts burdens on us that are impossible to carry.
But Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt.11:28-30
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Introduction to My Testimony of How I Came Out of Legalistic Oppressive Religion to Live in Jesus Who Gives Grace and Freedom!
I was in the mood to put a long title haha, this post is in response to some harassing comments you may or may not have noticed! I don't know why I haven't been writing much, but I've certainly been thinking. Anyway, I'm just going to put up the very beginning of the book I'm supposedly writing. Any and all input, critiques, suggestions are not only welcome but highly coveted (to use a very churchy word hahahaha) no but seriously, I value my fellow bloggers' and readers' opinions very much, so don't let me down.