A testimony; a life of doubt reformed into a life of purpose.
"Every life transformed is evidence of God's truth."
My faith changed. In an instant, a culmination of countless moments, experiences, inexplicable provision and questions crystallized into one epiphany. I was faced with a decision to honor truth or turn in denial. Suddenly, after almost 3 decades, I had the realization that sin is real.
Evil exists. We see it with every mass shooting, in the sick, psychopathic, perverse people that thrive on destroying life, and even the jerks that cut us off in traffic. Evil so thick, it palpably weighs on our hearts. I could never quite comprehend why people do the things they do or are the way they are. It was only when I looked at evil as a consequence of sin that I could discern the heinous, unfathomable acts we witness.
We live in a world of polarities; polar and non-polar, positive and negative, light and dark, right, wrong, free, imprisoned, love, hate. Even our existence is defined by whether we're alive or dead. Though all of these examples may abide within a spectrum, there are two defined opposites. If evil exists, we can therefore reason good exists. Not a version of "good" found within the spectrum that's been watered down and muddied, but a holy and righteous good. This quintessential nature can only be found in God.
I once thought the Bible was fallible because it was man-made. The books of the Bible were written thousands of years ago, translated into a number of versions, and controlled by governing authorities. Even so, the words of the Bible have remained unwavering and relevant. They provide a clear explanation to the realities and purpose of life, though not everyone who hears these words will interpret the intended meaning. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (NLT),"But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means." The Parable of the Sower is another example of the message being missed. Jesus, whose proven existence commenced a new era, repeatedly calls for those who have ears to hear.
We use reason in the natural world, creating theories to postulate the principles of physics, chemistry and medicine. In Matthew 16:2-4 (NLT), Jesus says, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Throughout generations, these theories have been disproved or reformed, frequently creating other hypotheses altogether. Meanwhile, the message of the Bible has remained the same, providing consistent guidance on spiritual discernment.
Faith is not blind, but reasoned. Paul expressed this in Acts 26:25 (ESV); “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words." God actually calls us to talk things out with him in Isaiah 1:18 (KJV) "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
In addition, God reveals His glory through His creativity. Every sunset, mountain ridge, peaceful water, starlit sky or towering forest attests to the beauty, magnificence and character of our Creator. Romans 1:20 (ESV), "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
Every life transformed is evidence of God's truth.
Once I realized the role sin plays in our lives, I was awakened to the validity of the Bible. The entire Old Testament serves to point us to the reality of sin and our need of sacrifice to make amends with God. God unquestionably loves us, but He is without a doubt holy, therefore He cannot tolerate sin; it’s antithetical to His very essence.
Leviticus 17:14 says the life of every creature is in its blood. Romans 6:23 states the wage of sin is death. So how do we pay the debt of sin? With life, i.e. blood. Can you imagine sacrificing at temple every time we fall? Thank God, we don't have to. Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of us with his blood, freely given, completely pure from living a perfect and sinless life. Despite calling myself a Christian my entire life, I never fully understood, and in turn believed, this basic Christian concept. This understanding transformed a label I called myself into a decision to live my faith.
Everything that I questioned about life and about God was answered. Every book of scripture I read could be perfectly personified into the conflicts experienced today, thousands of years later. The words were not man-made; they were given and protected by God. My newfound faith strengthened my relationship with Him.
As I drew near to Him, the fear and self-loathing I experienced were exposed as lies I believed. Through guidance and a painstaking process, I re-defined my anxiety and depression. I realized I had conditioned myself to a normalcy that was not healthy by allowing fear to defeat me repeatedly and accepting it. As I found my confidence as a child of God, fully known and accepted, I became empowered. I conquered those lies (and am still conquering).
I also questioned my relationship with alcohol. Having watched a handful of family members struggle in the grip of alcoholism, I often worried whether I would eventually follow in their footsteps. Could I become so dependent on it and not notice it before it was too late? Did I already depend on it? I didn't want to revolve my weekend or my social outings on a choice of beverage.
I began to seriously consider what was actually good about alcohol and couldn't come up with anything. I could, however, list out the hangovers, the money, the bad choices, and the shadow of alcoholism. I told myself to only drink on special occasions, but then debated on what exactly constitutes a special occasion. Why the heck was I spending so much time ruminating on whether or not to drink? Why was this such a struggle? Why did life seem to revolve around drinking? I then realized that my thoughts and my actions were prioritized before God. I was making alcohol an idol.
Once I made the decision to stop drinking altogether, I was free from the struggle and worry; free from the hangovers and wasted money. What I didn't realize was how much this choice would affect the relationships I had. I noticed shifts in my friendships. Plans were cancelled, I was no longer "fun" or included in events and outings. The distance became a chasm. I didn't make the choice as a judgement to others, but as a personal conviction. I didn't choose my stance to have a superiority complex. I chose it to be free.
Still, it created a breaking point. Which just makes me wonder; why does alcohol, or any other mannerism, have any hold over anything we do or the people we associate with? What is the basis of friendship? Is it commonality and shared hobbies? Or is it the enduring love we have for each other, regardless of who we are?
All my experiences have shaped who I am and led me to my faith. I've made more than a few mistakes. I’ve been completely broken, consumed by selfishness and vanity, and suffocated by self-doubt and self-loathing. Though I’ve changed and chosen to live a new life, feelings of unworthiness challenge me often. I now know where to turn when darkness sets in.
Jesus is my stronghold. He conquered the grave, and the power with which He defeated death lives in me. I'm still a work in progress; maturing in my faith, learning to love more and to focus on myself less. With God on my side, I can let all my insecurities go and trust that He’s in control. Despite my imperfections, I find purpose for the Kingdom to fulfill His perfect will. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (KJV) "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
My journey has led me to a new-found freedom. It’s freedom from the grip of fear. It’s a confidence of being completely accepted and loved despite all faults and failures. It’s being victorious over empty and meaningless behaviors that reigned over my life. Everyone can experience that freedom. John 8:31-32 (ESV) "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”
If anything is keeping you in confusion and you're seeking answers, I encourage you to draw close to God and His word. Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV), "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." If you are being restrained by consuming thoughts or substances, He can free you. Luke 4:18 (NLT), “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free."
We created this platform to reach people and build a positive, loving community. If you have questions or would like us to pray with you and for you, leave a comment below or send us a message in the 'Let's Connect' section under the About page. We would love to walk with you on your journey and for all of us to encourage each other. That's what community is for. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT), "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
I know that if you have the tiniest nugget of faith and tell your mountains to move, they will move. With God, all things are possible. I urge you to believe His promises and to walk in faith. I know He will do great things for you. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”