With a personal theme song like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and a Facebook profile that reads “Leaving Christianity to Follow Jesus” under the religion category, many people, especially other fellow Christians, wonder whether I have lost my way.

When other Christians ask me “what church do you go to?” and I respond with “I don’t go to church at the moment”  its interesting to see the confused looks on people’s faces who might be wondering whether I am back sliding in my Faith.

All of this confusion is quite understandable, especially since this is the complete opposite of who I used to be.  In past I used to be a very zealous Christian.  I thought I had everything together and thought I had everything figured out.   I was the one who faithfully attended church every Sunday and judged those who missed out.   I engaged in all the activities evangelical Christianity had to offer, such as mission work, “winning” souls for Christ, speaking against abortion and gay marriage in the name of God, battling evolution etc.  I pridefully thought that I was better than other Christians who did not engage in the things that I did.  I judged and criticized them all as being backsliders and disobedient to God.  However, as the books of the gospels show us, like the pharisees, in our zealousness for God, we may actually miss Him.  Perhaps we may even reject Him and crucify Him.   We may even end up persecuting some of the Lord’s followers, our own brothers and sisters.  All this was true of me, I was a pharisee and I couldn’t see it.  Now I see things in a different light.

Before moving further, I would like to take a moment to say that if you or anyone has ever been a target of my judgement and zeal, I humbly admit I was wrong and I’m sorry.

This now brings us to the question, “what happened to you?”

I do not wish to go into detail concerning everything that I went through, but the short answer is this…I was broken down and ripped to pieces.   In 2007, through intense stress, bouts of depression, failing out of my university program (and getting back in under special circumstances), arguments in the ministries that I served in and cancer showing up in my family, the old life I had was destroyed.  I pretty much died.  This time of hardship provided me the opportunity to deeply question and even doubt everything concerning life, faith, Jesus, the Gospel and the Christianity that I knew.

In the midst of everything that I was going through, I was tempted many times to leave this christian stuff altogether.  Why would a loving God allow all of this to happen to His child all at one time?  If he never leaves me nor forsakes me (Heb 13:5), why does it feel like that during the hardest times of my life? I do not subscribe to a prosperity gospel where God will make everything in your life better, but neither did I think that God would allow his children to undergo extreme hardship in the manner I experienced.  I am not saying that God is the author of everything I went through, but it was very difficult to find Him in the midst of it.

During the times when I was tempted to leave God and curse God, the words of Peter went through my mind. When he was asked by Christ “Are you also going to leave?” Peter replied “Lord, to whom would we go?  You have the words that give eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” These words resonated within me and enabled me to hold on tight, though it may have been by a thread.  To whom else or what else could I have gone? I knew and believed with all my heart that Christ is the Way.  And I was beginning to learn that Christ is not just the way to eternal life, but that he IS The Eternal Life Himself  (1 John 1).    From that point on I was slowly able to move on and climb out of the pits, although I am still prone to fall back into depression and despair.

A Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, says in his book “Release of the Spirit:”  “The inward man (spirit) is freed only after the outward man (soul) is destroyed. This is the basic road to God’s service.”  I have found this principle working in my life. In dying, a new life emerged and is progressively emerging, a life that is different from the old.  Once again I am not saying that God is the author of everything I went through.  I admit that I don’t know who or what is to blame.  But I do know one thing…I was changed through it all…for the better.  The hardship provided me the opportunity to deal with some sins, bitterness and character issues in my life, thus proving what is said in James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Furthermore, I began to feel a deep hunger for something more in life and in my Christian faith.   Although I took part in many Christian activities in the past, I find now that many of those same activities leave me empty and dry.   Although I used to claim that I had a “relationship with God”, I have come to the sobering conclusion that I hardly know Him at all.  Sure I knew a lot about Him from what I read in the Bible but I couldn’t really say that I knew Him in a deep experiential way.  Now my desires are for the deeper things of Christ and a knowledge of Him that goes beyond theology, head knowledge and even emotional experiences.  Those things are not bad in themselves, but I want to go beyond them towards something deeper.  I want to be like Paul who cried out concerning all his past religious accomplishments: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

In addition, I have become dissatisfied with the Christianity that has been handed down to me.  In fact, growing within me was a deep sense that there is something huge missing in the church and in the lives of many Christians today.  As well, I am continuously discovering how much of our modern “Christianity” is not Christianity at all.  When I read the word of the gospels and compare it to modern western Christianity, I have great difficulty reconciling the two.

Over the past 2 years I have been on a search for those missing pieces.  I don’t know if I ever will completely find everything I am looking for, because even the Bible describes the riches in Christ as “unsearchable” (Eph 3:8).  However, I do know that there is more.

I have discovered many interesting things along the way.  The purpose of this blog to highlight some of the things I have learned and to help myself to put my scattered thoughts into words.

In closing, I think Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians summarizes some of what I am looking for quite well:  “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Thanks you for taking time to read.

Advertisements