I first came to faith in late 1986. I was a college student and knucklehead who was all about a good time. Those early years of “following” Christ were definitely informed by the love of a “good time”. The neo-pentecostal/ charismatic movement was very much the “big” thing in most of my early experience. Yes, I bought in to the prosperty gospel, the word of faith, and everything else that promised a good time.
God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit were often treated as being there to fulfill my emotional, physical and spiritual desires. All I had to do was know the right language and write an occasional extra check. Any thought of serving Christ as Lord and trusting God as Father, while being led by the Spirit into real truth just did not fit.
I had believed, falsely, that me and my desires were the central factor in my relationship with God. Christ on the cross was reduced from an amazing work of mercy to proof that it’s all about me. Following Jesus was not about living for His honor and glory. Following Jesus was about my whims being satisfied and feeling good. My expectations were built on too many “your best days are ahead” statements and very little awareness of “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”(Hebrews 13:8)
It took a long time to move away from the belief that faith is all about me. The mercy of God came in the form of hunger. A hunger to read the Bible, big huge chunks of it. A hunger to know God through His story. A hunger for relationship that was enduring not see-sawing on the fulcrum of my selfishness. A hunger for Him.
I seldom,if ever, listen to the T.V. preachers who are often running corporations disguised as ministries. Most of what I read is from, the tried and found faithful men, and women who live or lived in pursuit of the increase of God’s fame with little thought of any cost to themselves.
I listen to some close and trusted friends when I need counsel. The Lord puts some pretty amazing people in our lives to walk with, so I have ceased to care about the slickly produced and regularly published. I choose those who have been faithful and steady. Those who walk in relationship with God because He is worth it. Those who see Him as their great rewatd.
If I could offer one piece of advice from my journey, it would be this: Read the Word and let it inform you, teach you, correct you, shape you and equip you.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5, 14