I was born and raised in a charismatic, country church in which I was related to 1/2 of the congregation and was convinced I was related to the other half somehow (turns out they were actually related to each other so basically 2 family groups made up nearly all of our seat fillers). There was an authenticity birthed there that I will forever be grateful for. However, doom and gloom and “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” had a prominent place too. I leapt into adulthood with salvation and a slew of dos and don’ts for “my protection” and (obviously) to serve as my litmus test to judge whether others were also Christians….wait…no? Huh? Weird.
Oh man, my first decade of adulthood was a rollercoaster of playing the part, and learning to hide my ugly under the rug. Think about the illustration Jesus uses about washing the inside of the cup and bowl first (Matthew 23:26). I was a proficient outside-of-the-cup cleaner as I peered in the inside of others’ dishes and clucked my tongue. And maybe I only did that in my head, but I can tell you plainly that I judged. I was insecure and I judged you to make me feel better about myself. There I said it.
You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.
Five years ago I got overwhelmed by Holy Spirit. He came for me and we began an intimate relationship that will continue on through eternity–I am certain of that! I can’t fully tell you the difference it makes. I know Christianity. I know Christianity with Holy Spirit and I will never go back. They may both get you into Heaven, but I want the launch party to start now!
I say this to say my journey is ever evolving. I am constantly having my ego checked and my heart wrecked. The Church, my close relationships, my own weaknesses shoved in my face. I don’t skate through life because of my faith, but I have a soft place to land when my flight goes through turbulence. I don’t know where you are in your faith journey, but if it doesn’t include a close walk with Holy Spirit then I would suggest you stop what you are doing and do some digging into the third part of the Trinity. He is for us, and He is for now! Jesus said that it is better that he go so that the comforter (Holy Spirit) can come! What?!
Physical Jesus < Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh
I know, it’s a small statement, simple in wording and HUGE in concept. Take a look at John 16:7
But I tell you the truth; it is better for you that I go away, for if I may not go away, the Comforter will not come unto you, and if I go on, I will send Him unto you;