Today marks the halfway point into my 40 Days of Repentance series, and as I began to reflect on my journey into the truth, I was deeply humbled.
For many years, I followed a false Messiah. The churches I attended taught the gospel of grace to the point of completely neglecting Yah’s commandments for living righteously as he intended. Not that grace is bad. In fact, it existed way before Yahsuah came to earth in human form. We see YHWH give grace to his people throughout the old testament. So I certainly don’t negate it, and I fully believe it is a gift from our Heavenly Father unto salvation.
But so many Christians stop there. They may say that Jesus came to fulfill the law but rarely explain what that means, so we leave the church pews every Sunday thinking he did away with it. And we go out to eat at the nearest restaurant and order a pork chop or a burger with extra bacon (even though God says pigs are unclean, not for our consumption and “an abomination“). Perhaps we engage in conversation with our server about the gospel of grace and hand her a postcard with our church’s address and the name of our next sermon series on it in hopes that she’ll show up next week.
But she doesn’t. In fact, it seems like those pews are getting more and more empty with each passing sermon, and we wonder why…
Why are people so apathetic about the death and resurrection of our Messiah? Why do they have no interest in going to church or hearing the gospel?
And why are the ones who do attend church hopping from one congregation to another, in search of something they can’t even dictate or describe? Until they realize it can’t be found in the places they’ve been searching and end up leaving altogether, only to say they are agnostic and never really knew God in the first place.
Maybe it’s because so many churches are preaching a false gospel about a guy named Jesus who came here to start a religion called Christianity, where we can all live contrary to his Father’s ways, because … well … grace.
“Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10: 28-30
Or maybe it’s because they’ve never read the first two-thirds of the Bible. As a result they’ve been struggling to interpret the last one-third of it. (As if you can start a book in the middle and expect to know what’s really going on.) So they decide it’s full of contradictions and makes no sense. And if it makes no sense, then what’s the point in continuing down this path and sitting in these pews every week?
Or, perhaps they have read the entire Bible and it still makes no sense, because they’ve been listening to the interpretations of men, each of whom believes something completely different, instead of letting the Holy Spirit be their guide.
To some degree, it’s not their fault. They’re just going by what they’ve been told, and the guy who went to seminary school probably knows what he’s talking about, right?
I say all this, not to condemn anyone. I say it, because I was there. I church-hopped for years, and was even in the process of contemplating whether I should go back to church at all after Kale was born, because something was missing.
I couldn’t put my finger on it. All I knew was that despite showing up faithfully, week after week, something was missing…
That something was the truth. Just shy of one year ago, He began to lead me down the narrow path. He gave me a desire to open my Bible and read it for myself, starting with Genesis. He put a hunger and a thirst for His Word in me like I’ve never experienced before. I’m still learning (a perpetual student, perhaps), but I’m so thankful that He gave me eyes to see and ears to hear.
And I pray He does the same for everyone I know and love…
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matt. 7: 13-14
It is a humbling thought. For many years, I followed a lie. An idea that I had conjured in my head of who God is. An idea that satisfied my desires. My emotions. My flesh. I can blame my teachers all I want, but I had just as much of a hand in the whole scheme as they did.
Then one day, YHWH spoke to me. I was walking through the mall contemplating life, when I heard the voice of His Spirit whisper: “I never left you.”
All I could do in that moment was stumble to the nearest bench, sit down, bury my head in my hands and cry, as I realized that I would forever be changed. I wasn’t standing in a church service or attending a retreat or a revival when that happened. In fact, I had no interest in God at all and hadn’t been to church in a very long time.
Something lit up in me that day. It was over seven years ago, before Jereme and I were married. I began wanting to follow him and to walk in his ways even before I knew what they were. I stopped wanting to sin. Even though I didn’t really know what sin was, because I had never read His Torah, I suddenly had a conscience that aligned more with Scripture. A voice in my head telling me, “This is wrong. You probably shouldn’t do it.”
I developed a desire to be faithful to my boyfriend (the man who became my husband). Prior to that, I was like the woman at the well in John 4. Over time, He also put in me a desire to live a healthier lifestyle, to be good to my body—a temple of the Holy Spirit. To stop eating toxic things that He never created for us to consume and to behave in a way that honors Him.
It was a wake up call, but I didn’t fully wake up right then. I guess you could say I was in a lucid dream for the next 7-8 years of my life before he fully woke me up to the truth of his Torah.
His love for His children.
Some of which I had been unknowingly following already. Perhaps that’s because he had begun to write it on my heart:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
It has always been about the heart—something I’ll talk more about in a future post. We don’t follow His law for salvation. We choose to walk in His ways, because He saved us and put it on our hearts to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness.
Thankfully, I’ve found an assembly in my area that’s full of people who are as hungry for His truth as I am. There are many who come into this walk and feel like they have to go through it alone (though more Messianic/Torah-observant fellowships are popping up every day.)
But if you’ve been church hopping in Christianity for quite some time and still feel like something’s missing, please feel free to get in touch. I’d love to hear more about you and share my story!
This is day 20 in my 40 Days of Repentance series. Click here to read day 19.