I spent my life loving God in a “religion" I chose. However, little did I know it was consumed with “rules” that would be more important than learning to have faith or getting know God.
I speak on this because it was the way I slowly lost more and more joy. My thankfulness for God was rooted in the fear I would lose everything if I didn’t follow the rules. I would be shunned and left alone if I didn’t do as I was told by the “workers".
We don’t chose to live this way but sometimes the choices we make ultimately leave us on a path that takes us further from God.
A personal relationship with God' is what churches (religions) should be encouraging.
And when I was to submit to religious men and their very important rules, that is when I lost my connection to God.
What I really lost was my “joy” in serving God. And over a long period of time (24 years), this loss of “joy” lead to “fear”. Fear is what destroys our testimony.
"Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)
Faith is what pleases God. As we increase our faith in God, we begin to experience the joy that God truly loves us, more than we can ever imagine. Isn’t that what our relationship with God is all about?
“But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (AMP)
When rules become the focus and not seeking God for a stronger walk with Him, then we lose our joy, and fear sets in. When you do this long enough you lose your way in some sense. You might still be saved but you have no joy.
I feared more than anything that I would not be approved by the “workers”.
Here I chose a religion that I thought would take me closer to God but instead it lead me into a maze where I couldn’t find God. And I remember crying out to God to help me yet I couldn’t see that He was saying I needed to get out of this religion. I was too afraid until one day I realized that if I didn’t jump ship I might not ever find the joy.
I do want you to know that I wasn’t totally without God. I looked Godly (outer appearance) and I went to church regularly and studied to give my testimony (for the meetings) but as I read the Bible I kept seeing the wrong in the religion.
Finding God and serving God is a personal relationship that leads you in the direction where you pray and read daily. Thru that you learn how to listen to God’s voice and let God help you in every aspect of your spiritual life.
Today that is what I do but I don't let the "rules" be my focus....I let love for God be my focus.
Remember that if a “religion” or a path you take to find God is not strengthening you to really have a relationship with God, building on it continually, then it’s not in alignment with God’s Word.
Is it to follow someone else’s ‘idea' of how to find God or to do it the way God instructs in His Word?
Are you listening to God or to someone that claims to be serving God?
Please hear me out.
I walked in a religion that had a lot of 'good qualities' but when I became discouraged I was not pointed to God but to the workers (ministers). They believed that they had to make all the decisions because I was not able to do so.
I asked them how would my faith and trust in God grow if I didn’t rely on God and not them? They said it’s not God’s plan and that is why I need to answer to them.
That was a red flag for me but I was too fearful to walk away at that time.
Having stayed in that religion for over 24 years I had become like a puppet. I had lost my joy and the fear that overtook me kept me in their control.
Fear of God is to bring awe-inspired reverence, a sense of admiration and respect. But the kind of fear I had learned to have by keeping rules and fearing I would be shunned and kicked out of the church, was trembling fear and I couldn’t hardly stand on my own.
Today, after leaving that religion I have seen that having a relationship with God is the most amazing opportunity anyone can experience while living in this world.
You can be saved but not be experiencing the unbelievable joy in having a one-on-one relationship with God, talking to Him and letting Him guide you.
In Deuteronomy 23:5 God speaks to the people who have been trapped by idols and explains that He is still there, still waiting for you and me.
“Nevertheless, the Lord your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God has loved you."
God never left me even though I chose something that didn’t quite work in my favor. The best part of this story is that God was waiting for me when I was willing to take a leap of faith.
Today God has given me back my joy and the only fear I have is a healthy fear. I have learned what it is to have joy in wanting to get closer and closer to God. I have learned God went before me and waited at the next corner when I was willing to turn away from my previous choices.
God never stops waiting for us. God wants to give us all the joy He has planned for our lives.
It’s up to us to take a leap of faith and to jump into His Arms.