I am in a state of shock. Over the past 5 years and most especially the past year I have been praying for the truth. For myself and my family. Most recently, I have been asking the Lord to remove any false teachers I have been listening to. I want to see more fruit in my life. Over the past few months and weeks, I’ve been praying for wisdom and discernment in all of this because I want to be a faithful witness of the true gospel, to everyone I come across and especially my Catholic family, friends and acquaintances.
I’ve asked Him to bring godly preachers and teachers into my life and I have to believe He is faithful! 1 COR 1:9
I have believed a lie.
I came from a Catholic background (mostly in “title” because my family history was Catholic.) I wasn’t really raised Catholic until my late childhood/early teens but by that time I was disinterested and already quite rebellious. I went to church because I had to. After some very disturbing life events that I may choose to write about later, I became a very devout Catholic for quite a few years during my mid 20’s-late 30’s. I was looking for God’s approval, trying to be “good enough” for Him to love me; trying to make up for my very sinful life.
I didn’t understand true repentance. Sure, I was sorry for my sins…much like I was sorry when I got in trouble by my earthly parents after being caught doing something wrong. So, I’d go to the Catholic priest and ask him for forgiveness. I’d also pray to God privately and say I was sorry, but it was the priest who was supposed to tell me I was absolved of my sins and if I did the penance he prescribed all would be right again in my world. I would generally leave there “feeling” like I got something off my chest. I would say I was sorry and sometimes even “feel” like a weight was removed. So I went along for years calling that repentance. Afterwards, I thought I was supposed to just “try” to do better. I misunderstood repentance to mean being sorry for my sins, and I was…to the degree I stated above.
Confession never changed my heart and it never changed my life. There was no good fruit produced. I was a religious hypocrite, angry and bitter a lot of the time but trying to “be good” so I acted very religious. I would often have to “repent” of the same things over and over again but I never had any power or strength to change although I’d try and try! I was not a happy person…but I willed myself to stop doing the things I thought were “bad” in order to win His approval.
By the year 2013 my life had become miserable and increasingly sinful and left me wanting to take my own life. I had left the Catholic Church in 2006 because I had been trying really, really hard to be good enough for God to love me for so many years but felt nothing. I literally had gotten to the point where I felt “emotionless”. I had no fruit in my life so maybe He wasn’t even real. If He was, I believed He had no use for me.
I don’t know how to explain how it happened the way it did (I’ve tried before…but I don’t remember which post it was) but one day I was fed up. I cried out to God…and He made me completely aware of the depth of my sinfulness and my need for a Savior. HE GRANTED ME REPENTANCE…and I knew He was real. I asked for and received HIS FORGIVENESS. I WAS BORN AGAIN! Coming from Catholicism, I didn’t know that’s what it was called and I didn’t record the date. All I knew was He did something in my heart that changed everything. I wanted to know more about Jesus. I wanted to learn the Bible. I began reading the scriptures but I also read things (I’m learning now) that were…heretical? False? I don’t even know what to call them.
When He saved me I was at home alone. I hadn’t been listening to a preacher or Christian music that day…I was contemplating suicide! When He saved me I wasn’t filled with the desire to go to a Catholic Church or any church…but I was filled with the desire to get to know Jesus!
I knew from my past Catholic teaching that there are a lot of false teachers out there, so I had no idea where to start. I couldn’t decide which denomination I should “try” first so I started listening to many different preachers on TV and then online. I decided to go to a non-denominational church because it was close to my home at the time and I couldn’t choose a denomination. I loved the people there right away! The atmosphere was amazing. It was open and fun and inviting! They spoke a lot about loving God and God loving me but I don’t remember them really preaching much about sin or the need for true repentance. Maybe that’s because I had no need to walk an aisle; I had already truly repented and I was saved. I just wanted to learn about Jesus and serve in the body of Christ. I was sucked in by the lights and the music and the “motivational speech” type sermons. There were classes on “Freedom” and “Prophecy” and “Speaking in Tongues” and I got involved in all of them and began making friends. I felt welcomed. I thought I was learning so much! But what was I learning? It was there that I learned Jesus loves me and honestly I had never really understood John 3:16 to actually include me personally. I suddenly realized I was a whosoever! And I do believe God loves me now. But what about how to be made holy? What about repentance? What about the truth of sin and how to be made right before a holy God? If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, He still requires repentance and holiness.
I’m discovering that I was not learning the truth of Sola Scriptura; the inerrant, all sufficient, infallible truth of the Word of God. I was in (what I’m now understanding to be) a “Seeker Sensitive” Charismatic church and I was listening to other pastors online too, including those that preach the “Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel”, “New Apostolic Reformation”, Evangelicals and Catholics Together”…you name it.
BUT for the grace of GOD!
I may be feeling like I’m starting all over again but I know this…God is faithful! When we turn to Him in true repentance and ask for truth and surrender our will to His, He is faithful! I started hearing some things that just weren’t adding up. I’ve started listening to former Catholic priest…and some preachers (online) that teach from the Bible. I’m learning to be like a Berean, searching the Scriptures for myself. (*disclaimer: I also learned that at my non-denominational megachurch and I need to give credit to the pastors there. They encouraged me to read my Bible and let the Holy Spirit be my teacher. We were encouraged to look the Scriptures up for ourselves and not just take the pastor’s word for it.)
Today I share this with you and repent of my desire to have Jesus be my genie in a bottle, or to make Jesus into my image or to give false witness, believe a false gospel of follow a false Jesus. I have been praying for my own eyes to be opened to the truth found only in His Word.
His salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
Today I urge you to seek the truth for yourselves as well.
REPENT of your sins and ask His forgiveness…He is there!
He is waiting.
It seems to me the Seeker Sensitive, NAR, ECT, Word of Faith and Charismatic movements are all beginning to merge together with Catholicism and it’s Mysticism. I mistakenly thought I needed to be looking for an “experience” with Christ…when the Bible clearly states it is sufficient. 2 Timothy 3:16 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
End Time Prophecy predicts a One World Religion and my mind is blown right now as I see it unfolding. But I trust Him and I will continue to seek Him…I pray you do too.