I was pretty shocked when I began to hear the Lord speak quietly to my heart that it was time to quit church. “Not so, Lord,” I said, in the spirit of Peter from Acts 10 and 11.
But I finally relented. . . . Although it seemed as though I was having an inner temper tantrum in my “obedience” to my Lord and Master, Jesus the Messiah. (Good job, Lisa.)
The following Sunday, it was a huge surprise to me when Jesus made Himself known. His presence was manifested to me. “Oh!! Jesus!” I said. “Well, hello there! It’s been so long!” And His glorious joy was poured out to my spirit.
Of course He had never left me nor forsaken me. But I had forsaken Him. For 15 years. Why? Well, heck, I was trying to be a “good Christian.”
Before quitting church, the Lord had been stripping me of a belief system that was based on rules and regulations. I was all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that.”
He led me to quit church in 2004, and by 2006 the only ‘law’ I was still holding on to tenaciously was that we “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.” Finally, the Lord gently removed that one last requirement through learning the proper meaning of 1 John 1:8&9. Simply put, John was speaking to unbelievers (most likely the Gnostics in his audience) in verses 8 and 9 of chapter 1.
So, I came to understand that I did not have to ask for forgiveness; that His death on the cross had already accomplished my forgiveness, and I simply had to believe that “it is finished.”
Realizing that I no longer had a Christian To-Do List, there was simply nothing left for me to do. Except to love Him back. To trust Him. To rely on Him. To depend on Him. I began to live my life in a totally different way. I trusted Him to lead me and guide me.
The way I parented our three kids became completely different; the way I viewed God began to line up with reality; I began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’ The TREE OF LIFE became my daily food; I had left behind the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I now live every day with Jesus, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. It’s a glorious life.
And if you’re wondering, no, I don’t go to “church.” Well, I never went back to “formalized” church. Yet to this day, I do gather together with believers on a regular basis, and there is more true fellowship in my life now than there ever was in the days when I went to church four times a week.
Written March 10, 2020