Being "Good" Almost Cost Me My Faith

I have believed in Jesus since I was 12 years old.  I feared Him before that, but around that age, I decided that I wanted what my preacher said He was offering.  I raised my hand to tell Jesus that I knew I was a sinner destined for Hell without Him and that I wholeheartedly chose Him over that.  Right then and there, I decided that I needed to be a "good girl" for Jesus.

And oh, did I try.  Awkwardly, but fervently, I tried to reject the bad and embrace the good.  This started a decades-long season of chasing a forever moving line that divided "right" and "wrong."
For the next twenty years, I followed along with passion as I learned so many conflicting "truths" about the Bible and how to follow it.  I doubted tongues, I believed in tongues.  I doubted gifts, I embraced gifts.  I watched my mouth religiously, I heard a pastor toss out an "F" bomb in the name of grace and relevance.  I stayed quiet in meetings, I led Bible studies.  I was a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  I was forever putting my faith in the teaching of men and was clueless about how to QUESTION God about His truths, His precepts, His requirements and His church.

I was a "good Christian."  I sat quietly while someone taught me what God said and wanted.  I trusted the people that knew the Word of God well enough to preach it to crowds, especially if they were good at it.  I took single verses and built my life around them, never studying the totality of the verse, sermon topic, or popular teaching.  If I was asked to help, I helped.  If I was asked to lead, I led.  While on staff, I taught the pastor's convictions as if they were my own, because I was that good.  I was the Christian every church needed in their pews.  Every time a trusted pastor taught a "new" thing, I foolishly assumed he was just deeper and more spiritual than the last.  My life was singing, "Wherever he leads, I'll go,"  but I was singing it to the wrong people.

A simple question about tithes pulled the first string for me.  As a staff member at a local church at the time, my paycheck depended on a congregation that faithfully paid their tithes.  I attended classes that taught me how to teach Believers the truth about the tithe when they discovered "in error" verses that spoke against it.  I was sold out to the American church model and would have bet my life on its truth.  But, when I furiously searched the Scriptures (instead of sermons, books, articles and blogs) to prove that I was right, what I actually found terrified me.

I knew sermons.  I knew books.  I knew podcasts and preachers and fancy quotes.  I knew enough to write programs, build ministries, preach sermons, write books and even shame the ignorant.  But I didn't know Scripture.  I didn't KNOW Jesus.  I didn't understand His Gospel.  I didn't know the Kingdom of God. I didn't know the Word that I believed I had built my entire life around.

And I knew that had to change.

That was a decade ago.  The tithe was just one topic of a hundred that Jesus made me responsible to know. Since then, I have had the best, deepest, most meaningful, frustrating and freedom-giving conversations about what the Word of God actually says.  I've learned to question sermons, question quotes, question popular hot topics, question cultural Christianity, question friends and question myself.  Slowly, I am learning to elevate Scripture above the noise of what's become popular.  I am learning to let the Word be true, even when it makes me a liar.  (And, oh, the apologies I've had to make over my own false teaching!)

So, in hopes that freedom, faith and sound doctrine are waiting for you, I challenge you:

What is something you've silently questioned about what you've been taught?
What is a popular theology that gives you a red flag?
What is something you always wonder about when you hear it taught?
What is something you are pretty sure is a misunderstood doctrine that you want to be sure about?
What is something you believe that your friends question you about?
What is something your friends believe that you question them about?
What is something you need to dig in the Word to prove or disprove?

Take one of those questions and don't stop searching until you find the answer, not from men, but from your King Jesus.

Being "good" for me meant that I didn't get to ask those questions.  It especially meant that I couldn't share my answers when I found them.  Being "good" literally almost cost me my faith.  But it didn't, because I came to a place in life where the truth of Scripture meant more than the opinion of peers.

"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." -Acts 17

Be like the Bereans. Be noble.  Be eager about the truths of Scripture.  Examine to see if what you've been taught (or even what you are teaching) is true.  

And surround yourself with people who will do it with you, no matter what it costs. 


Popular posts from this blog

The Gospel for the Religious

What Do You See?

"It's Going to be Okay."