This Pilgrim’s Progress

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.

The New Life

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

 

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

How can we draw near to God?

You will begin drawing near to Him after you realize that He is totally pleased with you. Once you realize that you are a completely forgiven person.  You will draw near to Him because He is your Savior, and your friend, and your life.

“Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)

Believers in Jesus Christ:  God has no expectations of you.  He has already done all of the work Himself; there is nothing left to do; He is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the fulfillment of the Sabbath:  He is the Sabbath Day rest.

You have believed in the gospel, you have been born again of the Spirit, you have been made into a new creation in Christ… now rest!  Rest in Jesus the Sabbath; rest and relax in the Promised Land of peace.

Draw near to God knowing that He does not hold your sins against you.  He really is “love.”  We all know that 1 John says that “God is love.”  Draw near to Him who is love, and you will find that ‘He’ is what has been missing from your life.  And He is not second-best.  He is not “the consolation prize,” as Aaron Budjen says.

Aaron has a radio teaching ministry, and a website from which you can download all of his broadcasts for free.  Scroll down to the bottom section of his radio archive page to find his excellent series on the book of Hebrews.

This 27-minute message from that series will help you to grasp the complete forgiveness of sins that is yours in Christ.  You must grasp this basic, fundamental issue of your relationship with Jesus Christ in order to grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord.

And as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ, you will draw near to Him.

God eagerly desires your fellowship and your friendship.  And what an amazing thing to look up at the sky and the mountains, to “consider the lilies and how they grow”, and to realize that the God who created all things, the everlasting God of the universe, is the One who dwells inside of you because of your faith in His gospel.

Draw near to Him today — your Creator, your God, and your friend.

 

August 17, 2016