Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Elephant in the Room (12/05/13)
TITLE: FAITH IS A JOURNEY, NOT HOME
By Xarj Phils
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On being a Christian, I was like a fish out of water. Perhaps, I’m still. I found the light about the glorious Gospel at the age of 18, sometime during my college. Thenceforth, I started joining school Christian fellowships and some Bible study. The first experiences were flooding and overwhelming. After five consecutive Sundays of visiting the Church where my mentor was a deacon, I decided to be baptized. It was an awe-inspiring moment as I listened to the WORD and the prayer conveyed by our pastor. Just before getting submerged in seawater, I began to establish promises to God in silence. Unexpectedly, that event also marked one of the most painful moments in my life.
As soon as my parents knew that I was baptized there, I had been treated as a black sheep. They were questioning my behavior and taking into account the wrongs I made, attributing those to my conversion. They turned cold to my co-believer classmates, appearing to condemn our friendship. They even announced to withdraw any support for my schooling. I had been grounded. They wanted me to surrender and submit to their will, though it takes pulling me out of school if needed.
“All I am now is a loser.” Thwarted by the circumstance, I chose to refrain from going to that Baptist church again as well as in joining any Christian fellowships. Yes, I was a flower quickly fading. Perhaps, I’m still. I became invisible just right the next Sunday after being christened. I became vapor in the wind, not having felt by my fellow Christians since then. All they made were questions and burdening encouragement; all I gave was silence. I was left alone.
I wanted to speak and defend my side, but didn’t know what to say. I lived in fear as though I have not known a savior. Like living in a goldfish bowl, I wearied myself independently on being right in everything I do to show them that I’m real Christian. Good deeds, right words, all were exhausting.
I struggled to possess that confidence in what I believe. My yoke could be put this way: “How should I know I truly believe in Jesus, so that I can declare I’m really saved?” Another is: “If we are already saved and sealed by grace through His great and all-encompassing sacrifice at the cross, why do we still have to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’?” (Phil. 2:12). Bible was hard. Internet, books, pamphlets and some TV shows were better. I learned of various teachings, even those tagged as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” doctrines which infected or founded many churches as yeast spreading all over the bread. Yet, my cup was never full.
God poured His love. Finishing a college meant a crucial thing – finding a good job. But God humbled me by sending me to a small Christian school that offered the lowest compensation in town. One casual evening, while attending a prayer meeting, I was asked to give a testimony of faith. I honestly didn’t know what to say. I doubted if it was I speaking, but the words were crystal clear: “I was concerned of the deity of Jesus because of His man-ness; but I realized, He is the center of the Bible and hints about him were already given even in the book of Genesis, then down to Revelation. He is undoubtedly the KING of Kings, LORD of Lords, and PRINCE OF PEACE! ”
Jesus paid it all. He once died for our sins, resurrected, and is now praying to keep us safe. Nothing can add to His grace, not even religion. However, we are demanded to “test all things and hold fast what is good”. There’s no allowing for elephant in the room. That’s what faith is – a journey – not home – not happy ending.
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