BLOG SERIES: MY JOURNEY
Family is the thing that makes the world go round. And I am truly thankful for my family. We could have all been dealt a different hand.
Have you ever wondered what life would have been like for you, how it would have been different, if you had grown up in a different family? I never did… I never considered the possibility of growing up in a different family. That must mean that my family was actually pretty okay.
I never had a desire to be anywhere else, be anyone else, or be in another family. As I said before, my family wasn’t perfect (we still aren’t), but we had a lot of love, and I was blessed to have the family I have.
My parents (papa-C and mama-D) were actually pretty strict, especially when we became involved in the church. We were raised in a very strict Apostolic/Pentecostal church.
The best way I can describe it now is that our church was very focused on following the letter of the law. The doctrinal meter leaned very heavily toward the “thou shalt not’s” as we were constantly reminded of the things we could not do.
In other words, they were strong on legalism (strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or religious code). For example, women couldn’t wear pants, make-up, jewelry, etc. We had to “look” saved.
But as I am now able to look at it from a more mature, spiritual perspective, we were more focused on the external appearance of holiness, that we put little to no value on the internal aspects of holiness.
God expects us to be holy. This is a fact. Holiness is required of all who claim to, or seek to follow Jesus. God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” But I now understand holiness to be an internal conversion that will inevitably show up externally.
In my opinion, holiness starts with a mental, physical, and emotional separation, or detachment, from the world. And once we become mentally, physically, and emotionally separated from the world, we then become mentally, physically, and emotionally attached to God.
There are many people walking around with no make-up, no jewelry, or skirts down to their ankles, who have not become spiritually attached to God. My point is this: our hearts need to become spiritually attached to God in order to please Him.
God knows whether our hearts are pleasing to Him. And He knows those that are truly His.
Let’s seek to please God with a pure heart of righteousness, seeking to be, and live holy. For without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.
Papa-C and mama-D did the best they could. They wanted to make sure we were abiding by the tenets of the church, in the hope that we were pleasing God by separating ourselves from the world, and being different, as He requires us to be.
But as I can see now, sometimes being overly legalistic can cause more harm than good. Some people feel that they are not able to measure up to these “standards,” and it can cause them to become resentful or rebellious.
Some have decided to walk away from the faith because they feel the requirements to be too laborious. And some have chosen to walk away because they find more pleasure in sin than in serving God.
Let me just say, God does have great expectations for His people. And He does have a certain standard that He expects us to abide by. (Holiness is one of God’s standards.) And God’s requirements are not grievous or burdensome…..to those who truly love Him.
So, if you have walked away from God because you feel His requirements are burdensome, or because you’ve been hurt in the church, or because you’ve fallen in love with sin and don’t want to give it up, LET IT GO and come back to God before it’s too late.
Ask God to forgive you, restore you, and to show you what His expectations are for you. And serve God with your whole heart, soul, and mind, leaving the world behind, and looking forward to God’s eternal kingdom, which is not of this world. We are not here to please man, but to please God.
I thank God for papa-C and mama-D’s guidance. They gave me my first introduction to God. And for this, I am eternally grateful. It was this introduction that started me on my journey.