It has been a struggle of mine for years to wrap my mind around a variety of issues with the Church and more importantly about God. I have friends and family from all walks of life attending different churches, reading different books and listening to many different pastors that seem to believe the same core values that I shared yet had very different points of view on many controversial topics from the Bible. Sometime it would even get to the point where I would ask myself, “are we reading the same Bible?”
I assume that I am not the only one who has been in this situation but this mindset gripped me to the point where I had several seasons in my life of depression, anxiety and doubt about my belief system, my calling and even who God really is.
Over the course of maybe 5 years as I began my search for truth, i had meetings with pastors and fellow believers who spoke some very deep truth into my life and on several of those occasions I had very rich encounters with Jesus. I was very encouraged and eager to see what God was going to teach me.
I dug deeper into Gods word and read some popular books from highly respected Christian leaders. I started to research more about the birth of the Church and how the many forms of doctrine that I was never exposed to growing up were created, but it only raised more questions and concerns. It was extremely frustrating and borderline difficult to research at times! So many scriptures pulled out of context, so many leaders choosing to ignore sections and even entire books of the Bible because “it was a part of the old covenant” and its no longer “relevant” today. The separation of the church and birth of denominationalism is enough to break your heart when you see all throughout history, God contently reaching out for His people to come back to Him and we continue to separate, segregate and blindly adopt what is now known as “religion”.
I want to state that my intent is not to attack your faith or how you choose to associate yourself because that is your history. I will submit though that I don’t believe that God designed for it to be this way and He calls you and I to a different future. Our God did not die on a cross for one religion, one doctrine or one denomination but for all people. That’s you and me! He desires to see reformation and restoration in the Church. He yearns for the unity of His people!
I was extremely moved by one of my favorite pastors, Kris Vallotton, this past week when he talked about his recent trip to visit the Pope (which you can find here). The team was surprised at how in tune with the Holy Spirit that Pope Francis truly was and how open to questions/discussion he was. It was amazing that both Christian and Catholic faith were represented in that meeting and they humbly asked each other for forgiveness and grace, publicly acknowledging that the Church did not always get it right and prayed, in faith, that we would going forward. Its so encouraging to see such an iconic person for the Catholic church display such a desire to see God’s people unite again.
The facts are that we live in the misinformation age with convoluted theology and broken doctrine but when we lay it all down at the cross, the pressure is off. If you are like me and want truth, take it straight to Jesus. If you want guidance and direction, read the Bible and cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit. The world is full of misdirection but you will find absolute truth in God and His word. He wants nothing more than to establish a deep and passionate relationship with you and to love you unconditionally. He wants to open your eyes to the things of the Kingdom so that you can bring the Kingdom to earth with supernatural confidence.
Don’t lose heart. Lean on Him. Keep running the race.
John 14: 16-21 (NASB)
16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”