So I left off yesterday with our search for a new church. I did feel God leading me away from the same type of church I grew up in at this point, and I also felt like that would be fair to the husband. We needed a change. We started googling churches in our area - kind of weird, but that is the age we live in these days. Like I mentioned yesterday, my first thing was to go straight to their doctrinal statement and make sure it was Biblical and we agreed with it. We tried a few churches, but again, the one where the people just welcomed us was ultimately where we landed. In fact, there was another church we also really loved, but we felt like they wanted us to build up a young couples group and we had spent 5 years trying to lead that at our last church so we worn out, but it was very welcoming too.
We landed at a Bible church, and it did take me a few Sundays of telling myself, "it is just different, not weird." It was new for me to be in Bible church, but God met me there and we started getting involved. Our original commitment was hampered by the husband finishing law school, but once he did, we jumped all the way in. We love pretty much everything about our church, but again no church is perfect, but I have felt God meeting me there in ways I haven't in a long time.
You see, the day I decided to be baptized was the first time I think the Holy Spirit spoke to me. I had been contemplating giving my life to Christ for a while, but I kept telling myself I wasn't good enough. I had to do more and be better before I could. Then, one night at church camp when we had a guest speaker/singer there, it hit me - the Holy Spirit hit me - I will NEVER be better alone. I will NEVER be good enough alone. That is the whole point of the Gospel - Christ came because I'm not good enough alone, but through Him I am made new and clean and flawless. When that hit me, I was like "yes, I am ready!"
It was a great high for a while, but then the world and the "law" began to work on me again. If you have never read the old testament, then the "law" won't make as much sense to you. Before Christ, God gave his people the law, something that would lead them (ultimately to Christ as Paul explains in Galatians), but once Christ came, the law was broken because the people couldn't keep the law without Christ. Christ introduced grace which trumps the law every single time. However, you can keep living under the law, but you will be cursed (this is all in Galatians, you should read it!)
The husband and I started a cool marriage class a few months ago, and that is when I started realizing that I was choosing to live under the law and make him live under the law. I started actually hearing how this is what God desires and makes Christ death useless if I chose to keep going back to the law. I'll be honest - this was hard for me to hear at first because it sort of made me realize that I had gotten a lot of this from "church." This happens at a lot of churches and with a lot of Christians, but I felt like if I admitted this I was saying that my whole background was wrong. I realized that it is wrong to live under the law and feel like I have to keep doing all of these things to be right with God, because I don't - all there is is Grace. I realized that they way I was living didn't make me less saved because I had given my life to Christ in faith, but I was missing out on so much of His power and blessings because I had decided to go back to the law. No wonder I wasn't hearing from Him! When legalism creeps into church, it creates an atmosphere of living under the law, and this can happen anywhere, not just the church I grew up in (we see it in ways at our current church too, it is hard to keep out for some reason). My background isn't wrong or awful, it is still the place I came to know Christ, but I have had to realize and learn to leave the legalistic things from my background in the past and move forward in the grace of God.
Wow, this is really getting to be much more than I realized, but it does feel good to process through all of this. More to come...
3 hours ago