Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finding Christ

From Religion to Relationship

Many people talk about "religion" versus "relationship", but in my case, it truly defines my coming to know Jesus Christ. Based on some questions that have been asked, I would like to take a moment to share my testimony in this area.

I was raised as a Catholic and most of my mother's family are still devout Catholics. From a child, I knew I wanted to be close to God. While in 5th grade, a visiting priest addressed our class and informed us that the closest we could get to God was to become priests and nuns. Well, that sealed it for me. I decided that I wanted to be a nun and began volunteering to help clean the convent while in school as preparation for this transition.


Although I never became a nun (thankfully my family talked me out of it), I still remained a Catholic and believed the church's teachings. I venerated Mary whether through prayer, through the rosary, through song. I believed that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) was the One, True Church and that no one could gain access to Heaven outside of the authority of the church. I believed that the Pope was the vicar of Christ on earth. I believed that the Eucharist of which I partook was the body and blood of Jesus Christ. I faithfully went through the sacraments that were supposed to bring me into fuller relationship with God - Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation.

Still even as an adult, I longed to be close to God and felt there was a void. I was active in church: teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, leading the dance ministry, serving on the HIV and Breast Cancer committees, etc. Yet, in spite all of this activity, I never felt that I really knew God. I even tried to read the Bible, but it was Greek to me. This only served to convince me more that the church was right, since they claimed that they were the only ones who could properly interpret Scripture.

I knew the Catholic rituals, but I just didn't know God. I was really beginning to get discouraged. If after ALL THIS I still didn't know God then what in the world would I have to do?

Further, I began to notice a lot of hypocrisy in the church - fornication, adultery, idolatry, pedophilia, abortion, homosexuality, etc. THIS was the church of God? It really made no sense to me and I felt like giving up on God. If THIS was the church, then I would be better off in the world because there was apparently no difference. Was God a hypocrite?

At this point, I issued God a challenge. I told Him, "If you are real, then you are going to have to show me because I am about to just forget all of this." True to His nature, He answered my prayer.

Circumstances occurred in my life that placed me in a position of being in a different town than my immediate family. Even once relocated, I found and joined a local Catholic church. Yet, God still began to show me that there was just something wrong.

It was at this time that I first encountered the truths of God. A family member shared with me a tape she had been given by a friend, which was produced by the Omega Church & Ministries Center in Atlanta, GA. As I listened to the tape, I heard things I had never heard before. However, I KNEW that I was hearing the truth for the first time in my life. It was only by the supernatural power of God that my eyes were opened to even know the truth as I heard it. One thing became crystal clear: If the Bible said what these people were saying, then my entire religious belief system up until that time had been rooted in something that was false.

I then began a quest to find out what the Bible really said. I found the nearest Christian store and purchased a Bible along with a number of books on Catholicism. I began a devout study of the Word of God to see whether it supported my beliefs as a Catholic. I was shocked to learn that it did not. There was no Scriptural basis for most of what I had been taught.

From that time on, God began to teach me and lead me through His Word as I spent time in prayer and study with Him in my own quiet places. Although I had previously not understood God's word, now He began to reveal its meaning to me. It wasn't an exercise of using my own intellect, but was by revelation. God began to impart understanding to me of what had previously been incomprehensible in my opinion. He showed me how Scripture reveals Scripture and gave me the faith and confidence to know that the Scriptures are the words of God.

So, this is how I came to know the Lord; and to understand that there is more to serving God than just following religious rituals. God desires to know each of us intimately and for us to know Him. The Bible says:

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" John 10:27

Don't be satisfied with defining your relationship with God based on your adherence to religious dictates (regardless of the denomination or church). But seek God in prayer, fasting and study so that Christ may be formed IN you (Galatians 4:19); that you may know Him even as you are known.

I offer sincere thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for delivering me from the system of Babylon. God is no respecter of persons. If you feel that your relationship with the Lord is not what it should be, seek Him for truth, ask Him to show you the things in your life which may be hindering you from knowing Him. Lastly let nothing - family, friends, previous beliefs - stand in your way to coming in right relationship with God. As Paul said, count it all as dung in order to win Christ; for that is what is most important.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Ms. Butterfly!

    I understand what you mean. I recall growing up receiving letters from my paternal grandmother. In them, she would often say how much she prayed that we would come to know Jesus Christ.

    I found her comments disturbing and confusing. I was a Catholic, so of course I already knew Jesus. :-) I would ask my father why she always started "that Jesus talk" in her letters, and all he could say was she meant well.

    Well, years later as an adult, I heard a song by Helen Baylor entitled, "I Had a Praying Grandmother". In the song, she tells her own testimony of coming to Christ and how the continual intercession by her Grandmother produced spiritual leverage to draw her to Jesus.

    As soon as I heard this song, I knew that I too had a praying grandmother, one who had been praying for years on my behalf. It became clear as day to me that no one just gets saved on their own. That there is a spiritual battle for souls that is waged in prayer. While I had thought that I had just "got saved" one day, I did not previously understand or appreciate the sacrifice of my Grandmother and others who had been waging war on my behalf. seeking for me to come out of the delusion into a real relationship with the Lord.

    So yes, I agree that it is vitally important for fathers and mothers to leave a Godly spiritual heritage for our children.

    "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." II Timothy 1:5

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  2. It certainly helps to come from a family that knows Jesus Christ and has raised you in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But we all come from "bad people" in that we all come from that fallen nature of Adam. The only hope there is for any of us overcoming that nature is faith in Jesus Christ. :-)

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  3. Hello,

    God Bless you. The God we serve IS amazing. I have been following this blog for just a few weeks now and I am blessed every time I read it (or watch a video). Even going back and reading from the beginning has blessed me.

    I want to share that it is ALL about RELATIONSHIP. These truly are the last days and the enemy is using EVERYTHING he can to distract us (including myspace and facebook). When I told God I wanted nothing but what he would have for me, he began to move things around. He has given me blogs (like yours), Christian books, and other things to fulfill my entertainment needs in such a "high-tech" world.

    I absolutely admire your relationship with God---even to the point of choosing medicine to save your life you are obedient. And obedience to God is TRUE love for Him. It simply warms my heart to hear your testimonies. At times, this walk can be a little lonely. The bible says that the path to righteousness is narrow and only FEW will take it. Yet, whenever I get that feeling, God allows me to come across brothers and sisters in Christ who are doing the same. May God continue to Bless You!

    Love and Many Blessings in Christ!!!

    Jay Bruce

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  4. I just happened upon your blog yesterday actually and I have enjoyed EVERYTHING that I have read. Some entries have informed and others have encouraged. Thank you for being a yielded vessel to be used by God. I have a blog as well (not as comprehensive or informative as this one) but just a way to convey my feelings..anywho...my most recent entry on yesterday was about relationship and how important it is. Noone reads my blog as far as I know but it would be a blessings to me if you would...www.tikastar.blogspot.com.

    God Bless You!

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  5. Hi TikaStar,

    You want to hear something funny? My blog is just like yours! LOL

    It started as a place for me to jot down reflections about life and God. In fact, much of what I write is about what God is dealing with in me. It is a place where I can share what He tells me as I proceed on this Christian walk.

    I had no idea that anyone that anyone outside of my family and friends would ever even see it. So if you have a blog, do it as you would anything else in life...as unto the Lord. He will use it as He sees fit.

    I'll gladly visit your blog. The one thing about this is that it has allowed me to meet many more people who love the Lord, and that fellowship has been priceless.

    God bless you too and I hope we can chat again soon!

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  6. FeelingHopelessNoMore :)July 31, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    "Lastly let nothing - family, friends, previous beliefs - stand in your way to coming in right relationship with God"

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. I understand it completely. I helps to know that I am not the only one who feels this way and that God WILL answer.

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