Like many of you, I’ve spent my whole life searching. I’ve searched for what’s true and what isn’t. In other words, what’s real and what is fake or at least hyperbole. I’ve searched for good and evil, sometimes wondering which was which. I’ve searched and discovered that pure evil can look like good, and good often looks evil. I even looked inside myself to see which I was. Some of both it seems.
Many of you will not want to read this next part. It bores some of you, and offends some others. I have found over the years, that most people can manage to live with my opinionated style, on almost any subject from politics, to social issues, but not so much when I write about religion or God. I chase them away faster with that subject, than any other. I do understand it, because I run in the other direction myself, when someone with a Bible, or Quran, or pamphlets of anything to do with religion is headed my way.
I was not a Christian, only a casual believer in God when I began my journey. I was/am also not a big fan of religion, however I certainly accept the necessity of its existence. Remember, religion both good and bad, is created by man, Christianity is a personal relationship with God. It is a gift from God. That gift can be accessed from within a religion, or from without.
My quest to understand the Bible, and the results that followed, had nothing to do with believing the Bible as actually being God‘s Word. Nothing to do with wanting to become a Christian, and nothing to do with personal salvation such as going to Heaven or some other such place. It didn’t even have anything to do with a search for happiness or fulfillment. It was about knowing what the most read book in the history of man really meant. I mean, I could find ten different definitions of any one verse just by examining what ten different denominations had to say about it. Then many more from individual pastors, scholars and so forth. My journey was about, what did all those passages and books really mean.
It would take a thousand pages to state here all of the places that I looked, just to find that answer. I read, listened and watched, hundreds of self-proclaimed ministers or the Gospel, church pastors, and Biblical scholars. Scholars going back a few thousand years. I found out that many of the Apostles even struggled to stop people from returning (after the Resurrection) to Old Testament Jewish Law, or putting their own form of “created” ceremonial Christianity, ahead of Biblical (as in, from God) worship which was given to us from God, in the Bible.
To say that I have not found all of the answers is an understatement. It is impossible for a mere mortal, to comprehend, and exhaust all that is in the book called the Bible. It is meant to be studied for a lifetime.
I will lose a few more readers now, but it is God, through His Spirit (Holy Spirit, Holy Ghost etc.), that will eventually be your guide to understanding, if you let Him. You have free will, but He will help you if you turn to Him and let him inside.
It is however, almost amazing just how much of Bible understanding is common sense. I use an old version of the King James Bible and despite the fact that some of the English wording is centuries old, it becomes clearer all the time. When I am in doubt, I put what I am reading in its context. First, in the context of the verses around it. Then in the book it comes from. Then whether or not it resides in the Old or New Testament. Then in the context of the entire Bible. The Bible is about God and His Creation, especially man. It is about the story of sin. Where it began, the sadness and horror it presents, and where it will finally be put to rest. Until that end time, it is about the Son of God, and how acceptance of Him, can cast those sins aside, and allow you to have a more Jesus like existence (failing a lot, I can testify), while you are here on this earth. With the help of God’s Spirit, a happier more fruitful life.
If you always remember what the whole Book is about, you will more readily understand its pieces.
The Bible shows us that God makes some demands on us. He shows us the importance of helping our fellow-man. It is part of being a Christian. We are given examples of holding out our hands to others. With that said, the number one God Given duty (along with worship) is for us to achieve Salvation through acceptance of Christ, and asking forgiveness for our sins. Next is to help bring others to Christ. All the kindness in he world, all the worldly guidance and support we give each other is meaningless without being “born again”, through Christ. That is our job. That should be the number one job of any religion that calles itself Christian. The meaning of the Cross, should be explored weekly, not just at Easter.
Our time in this world is but a nano-second in the span of eternity. Our suffering (and our joy) in this world will eventually be seen as a blink to be forgotten. When we suffer, and we all do, it pays to remind ourselves that today becomes yesterday quickly. There is something much bigger ahead of us.
Our joy in this world of manmade pleasures, is about the journey not the destination. Our life with God however, is about the destination not merely the journey. The joy that we could never quite realize on this earth.
Faith comes to me very slowly and with much consternation. Faith in my fellow-man, faith in myself, and having a true faith in some sort of unseen deity. A god. I am a show me sort of person. Lack of faith, is the one thing that always kept my concept of a god, bottled up in the “oh I know there’s supposedly something greater than I” category. I gained faith, when God, the One and only God, told me to have it. No, not in words of the mouth, but through first a new sort of intuitive instruction, then through deeds that left no doubt. I am sure, that everybody’s walk is different. That’s because we are all different, just as God meant us to be.
Those last few sentences I am quite sure, is what will cause many more to part company with me. I mean really, God is speaking to you Wayne? Yes, each in our own way, God will communicate to us if we let Him.
To say the least, I am no evangelist. I don’t like people preaching (as if they are special) to me, I’ll figure it out myself has always been my motto. The truth is, when I write something like this, I am both filled with joy, and fighting embarrassment. Ultimately, it took occasional words and knowledge from others for me to reach this point. Not to parrot them, but to find the courage to use my own experience, and my own words to tell my story.
Your story will be different, but your resulting journey can be just as rewarding, and your destination perfect! There is no better time to start than now.
God Bless, Wayne
Pingback: Thinking Out Loud (again) | Wayne Nelson's Earth Images Blog