Over time some of my beliefs have either been discarded or changed significantly...for several reasons...one being the realization that the denominated seminarian professional is not the pipe line God has chosen to channel spiritual truths or revelations that God desires to the "less spiritual" "pew-warmers" to know regarding spiritual matters, the right denomination, The Holy Spirit, Jesus nor God Himself. I have abandoned the idea that my relationship with God is determined by a list of man-invented beliefs that are not-negotiable. I believe my spirituality is more about my desire to live the Christ life by Him living His life through me on a daily basis, and I have found that is more about living as a loved child of God while loving people in the community of humanity and wooing them to the God who loves than segregated denominated Sunday-go-meetings.
I started having doubts and questions about "religious list" of "do's and don'ts" of non-negotiables about 25 years ago. The journey to freedom from the bondage of man-made religion has not been without its reservations. Letting go of some long held ingrained religious theories that I had accepted as God ordained truth is not without false accusations, misunderstandings, judgments and even condemnation from denominated "saints". I am now at the point where I am comfortable with having more questions than answers (as much of my blogging confirms) and my embracing the mystery of the Gospel...The Gospel of Grace...and being included in the "royal priesthood of believers" of God with the acceptance that I am able to hear from God personally regarding my spiritual walk with Him. I no longer believe that changing my mind about some of the doctrines that I accepted as divine is a sign of weak faith, spiritual rebellion or heresy. In fact, I am of the persuasion that to question denominated ideologies is indicative of a vibrant spiritual awakening that all is not well in the religious camp and I have been led to a wonderful revelation of Jesus and His finished work, a spiritual transformation and freedom to live in Christ that has led to my breaking free from the bondage and control of religious imprisonment.
I am free enough now to admit I may be wrong about a multitude of things that I believe at any given moment. However, that doesn’t stop me from living out my spiritual relationship with conviction and passion. Instead, it injects my mind with a dose of humility that keeps me from feeling like I have failed if I happen to discover that what I thought was true doesn’t hold up under contextual study, historical setting, prayer and looking at the Bible and determining the characteristics of God through the lens of Jesus who came to reveal His Father.
One of the things that I have a significantly different perspective about now is suffering … or “the wilderness experience” as it is often referred to by denominated believers.
More questions are answered through a wilderness encounter than we have yet to ask.
I am sure that many of you...like I did...grew up hearing sermons and bible teaching about God leading us into the wilderness in order to teach us something because of some failure or to straighten us out about some doctrine that we did not fully accept. Or to teach us a deeper awareness about God, about ourselves or about the world we live in. Our wilderness suffering was an attention grabber where God got our attention to cause us to trust Him and give us a teachable spirit to accept the denominational beliefs and interpretations of the bible and to
a spiritual transformation to keep us in good standing denominationalist.
Whether the wilderness was sickness, pain, loneliness, being misunderstood, unemployment, being shunned by the "faithful" or a relationship problem' we didn’t just have the anxiety of the problem at hand to deal with...we also had the emotional and spiritual agony of believing that God was making us suffer for our "sinning" in order to get our attention so we could be transformed.
I DECLARE LOUDLY, I don’t believe that anymore.
Now don’t misunderstand me...I believe there are things I can learn in the wilderness and I believe my wilderness experiences do change me. I even believe God can bring good out of wilderness situations...I just don’t believe God is causing or orchestrating my suffering.
At times I still battle those beliefs that set God up as my adversary but after I talk myself into remembering God isn’t causing my suffering and that I am grace covered and His loved child,
I can more easily trust God in the midst of my wilderness experience and realize that He is not punishing me or forsaking me. I have found out more about who I am, where I am spiritually and what is really about than I have learned about the characteristics of God. Not because I know so my spiritual relationship with Him much about God, but because of the spiritual dryness that takes place in the wilderness, the self examination it causes, the focus it produces, the questions it births and the humility it generates.
We must understand that the wilderness experience is not God causing our suffering nor is He punishing us for who we are or for what we have done. God is okay with us being who we are. No matter how spiritual barren we feel in the wilderness experience God is right there going through it with us...He will never leave us of forsake us!