Today marks the 10th anniversary of my second birthday. The last Sunday of September 2008, I was a seeker who thought that Jesus was a great teacher. But I also thought Christianity was a religious was a false hypocritical faith that had no basis in Jesus but was about fear, hate, and control. The moment I listened to Pastor Glen’s sermon I knew. I went home and I prayed and I felt a warmth wash all over me and a choir singing in. The back of my head “Let There Be Peace On Earth”. I was a born again evangelical Christian.
If you want to read more about that day check out my blog from a year ago. This blog is about 10 things that I learned about life, faith, and myself over these last 10 years.
#1 God is a Good Good Father.
God loves us. We are His. We are His children. But like children we tend to rebel. We think we know better than our parents and we do things we ought not to. He weeps over each child that has abandoned Him. God doesn’t abandon us. We abandon Him. He wants a family. He does not want robots who will serve Him without emotion or love. He rejoices when He finds that one stray lamb and slaughters the fatted calf when the prodigal son comes home.
#2 It matters why you obey your father.
When some fundamentalists speak about being saved, what they are talking about is being saved from the horrors of Hell. When I was not a Christian, Hell was not a good selling point for Christianity. It made the choice to be a Christian a selfish one. You accept Christ as your own personal savior because you want to save your own skin. That is like obeying your earthly father because you don’t want a spanking.
Others like to feel superior to the heathens, pagans, and those “other non born again Christians” like them. But this is like doing what your father tells you because you want His favor and you want to look bigger than your brother.
The Right way to serve God is because you love Him. You know that you have failed. You know that you can’t do it on your own and that you want to be more like Him. This is the way to truly be a Christian.
#3 I am a sinner but I am growing thanks to God.
There can be a self loathing in a Christian’s soul. We beat ourselves up for every sin. We live a legalistic life. And we hold others to the same standards we hold for ourselves. This can lead to spiritual depression. I have to remind myself that I am human. That the flesh and the spirit is in constant war with each other. The war has already been won in Christ. We will lose battles with sin. But as long as we allow God to lift us up and continue to fight the battles we are growing in Christ. Even Paul said in Romans 7 18-20 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
It is when you either give up the fight and wallow in your sin or stop considering your sins as sins that you have to worry.
#4 This world is a terrible sinful place and the only way to redemption is through the Holy Spirit.
The Kingdom of God will never fully manifest until Jesus comes again. But those who are born again see the world through new eyes, they see the sin. They see that the world is full of pride, of lust, of hate, of greed. Wars and sexual exploitation, slanderers and liars, seems to be all around us. But The Holy Spirit transforms us. It is the gift that Jesus gives His believers and followers. It transforms greed into generosity . It transforms hate into radical love. It transforms pride into humility.
Witnessing the Holy Spirit at work is incredible. Galatians 5 explains the fruit of the Spirit in ways I could not. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5&version=NIV
Yes, we live in a fallen world and many people delight in the fruit of the flesh, greed, pride, violence, lust. But that makes it all the more important that we continue to let the Spirit both transform and protect us from becoming like the world. Ephesians 6 speaks of the armor of God https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6&version=NIV
That armor is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Without either of them we are easy pickings.
#5 The Religious Right is a clear and present danger to the faith.
When I was born again I knew two things for a certainty. One was that God welcomed me into His family and that I was never going to be the same. Two was that the religious right who call themselves evangelicals are faith killers and need to either repent and be transformed or be shouted down and pointed out as the hypocrites that they are.
Now I was saved in 2008. Yes Sarah Palin was the GOP running mate but this was two years before the Tea Party revolution and eight years before they sold their souls by electing Trump.
Everything that Jesus taught, these people do the opposite. Their economic policies serve money, they attack and slander their enemies, and they show none of the fruit of the Spirit. These people are what non believers see about Christianity. No wonder Christianity is losing people. They block people from the Kingdom of Heaven and those they do convert they make twice the children of Hell as they are.
They either know what they are doing or they are so blind that they actually think they are doing God’s work by supporting a man who is the opposite of Jesus in every way imaginable.
These are just five things that I learned. I will post the other five tomorrow.