Hey guys! I am posting a YouTube video here that I made detailing my journey from death to life, and then from legalism to grace. I hope that it brings glory to God and that people can see how amazing He is — He can save anyone! Finally, the title credit goes to John Bunyan for his fantastic book “Pilgrim’s Progress” which I think is pretty great.
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.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17, NASB)
I’ve been texting with a friend, a sister in the Lord, about what it means to live by faith. We are both learning what it means to trust in God and to wrestle with Him; we are learning how to live by faith through the hard times of life, through the difficulties, the pain, the struggles, and the circumstances that tempt us to trust in the world or to trust in religion. Through all of this, through the storms of life, we are learning to remain steadfast and to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for our strength. . .when we are obviously so weak.
I have been walking down this new path of freedom for 12 years, and my friend has been walking it for just a few, yet we are both learning the same thing . . . because the learning never ends. And in 20 or 40 years, I will still be learning to trust in the Lord – because He is infinite and I am depraved. While I remain on this cursed earth, I will grow to trust Him more and more as I experience the difficulties of life .
My friend and I began this texting discussion after both listening to a radio program by Aaron Budjen on “Living by Faith.” In his message, Aaron talks about Romans 1:17 and the quote from Habakkuk that says that the righteous man will live by faith.
“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habbakkuk 2:4)
Although I was saved 28 years ago, I spent 14 or 15 years not trusting in the Lord, even though I was born again and had a relationship with Him. I spent those years trusting in religion and trusting in my church. I was trusting in the acceptance of other people, in the attempt to earn their acceptance through working so hard doing ministry work.
I looked to and trusted in religion which is really just an aspect of the knowledge of good and evil. (The Lord God said not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we did, so the tree is a part of this world that we live in, it’s a part of this fallen world.) Although I was not necessarily doing evil, I actually was, because Jesus said there is only One who is good. He alone, God, is the only One who is good. Other than Him, there is none good.
So even though we try to live according to the knowledge of what is good, it ends up being a life of evil, because our motives are wrong. Our “good deeds” are often attempts to earn the acceptance of others, to earn the acceptance of God. We try to remain in a relationship with God by doing good works, repenting of our sin, asking God to forgive us, and then being firmly devoted to living a life of obedience . . . but all of that is a life of vanity and emptiness.
Being set free from such a life by discovering that I am a forgiven person, started me down a path that will never end. As long as I am in the flesh, I will always be discovering and anticipating and growing. Learning every day what it means to live by faith.