As I continue to pray for God to guide me and to show me the direction to assure that I am on the right path, He reminded me of a few important and valuable lessons that I`ve learned over the past years through the hardships that I`ve encountered. I am grateful that God is always willing to direct us to the right source when He sees the right motivations and desires in our hearts.
As I`ve been inconsistent in my walk with the Lord throughout my life since the day I got saved, I had to really bud heads and suffer a lot as a consequence of my own stubbornness. It`s good to have perseverance but not stubbornness because perseverance shows determination, and stubbornness shows unyielding attitude. Perseverance could be directed towards God`s plan, but stubbornness most of the time has to do with pride. I had to learn it the hard way.
The main 5 lessons that I`ve learned from my walk with the Lord are:
1. There is no God beside Him
2. There is no place for lukewarmness in believer`s life
3. The greatest sin is pride; it is lethal
4. God is faithful: you will reap what you sow
5. God rewards those who follow Him
Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV):
6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.
1. There is no God beside Him. I`ve gone astray so many times creating every possible idol I could come up with in the image of people as substitute for my reliance and trust in the Lord. God really had to uproot even the hint of the idea of doing that again.
For as long as I lived, I`ve always tried to find an easy way out: trusting in my aunt to help me to get good grades in school (she passed away when I was one year from graduating in high school; she was only 47 years old); trusting my sister to deal with the problems (at some point after our immigration, we parted our ways for over a year), trusting my husband with everything and relying on him completely (I knew that since he was so good with finances, he always took care of everything, and I never bothered to ask God for anything other than blessings); trusting in myself to drive my ambition to get the career I wanted (I came very close in getting the job I wanted all my life, but the consequences of those sins brought consequences preventing my dream to come true).
All these idols God uprooted in my life every single time when I steered to trust in people rather than in Him; He took away those people out of my life, so He could direct me towards Him. Some of you might ask: what`s the problem trusting your husband with finances? There is no problem with that if the ultimate reliance and assurance is in the Lord that He would provide, but that wasn`t the case with me. I placed my husband on the pedestal of the most holy man who trotted the place of the earth. I didn`t want to deal with the stress of the daily world, so I trusted he would handle all our issues. That was so wrong! It made me lukewarm and I forsake the Lord.
Revelation 3:15-19 (NKJV):
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[g] I will vomit you out of My mouth.
17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
2. There is no place for lukewarmness in believer`s life.I had to repent so many times, and even today for becoming lukewarm instead of carrying the torch of God`s truth, love, and mercy. This problem plagued me for many times as I backslid in my walk with the Lord. I would get distracted with the riches of this world; get captured by all this miniature idols that I would create: my ambition, my husband, my career, my pride, and slowly but surely these things took me away from the Lord. I became hardhearted and disobedient to the Lord. The outer look had a deceitful mirage of good looks, but the inner shell was rotting away in guilt and horrible loneliness.
Only God can fill the void because He created us that way. The purpose of our creation was to worship Him and nobody else. When we create idols, we become prideful, and we become lukewarm. That`s why God reinforces the scripture of warning us to steer away from being in the mode of indifference. He knows it`s lethal not just to our relationship with the Lord, but to ourselves because it makes us spiritually blind. That in itself causes us to sin because we no longer discern right from wrong and become accustomed to justifying indulgencies. I, like no one else, had a firsthand experience with that.
I would get what I want by any price and justify that by potential “good” it would bring. I played “god” by attempting to “fix”the main issues when they all had to do with submitting to the Lord first. So wrong, so prideful!
James 4:5-6 (NKJV):
5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”[c]
Ezekiel 16:49-50 (NIV):
49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
3. The greatest sin is pride; it`s lethal. It prompts us to refuse acknowledging our own sins, which leads us in bypassing the grace of God and the ultimate precious sacrifice of Jesus` blood. Pride makes us harden hearts, and God hates pride. Satan fell from his position as being one of the most important archangels because he wanted to be like God. His pride destroyed him.
God destroyed Sodom because of their prideful hearts and arrogant overfed hearts. Pride makes us indifferent towards other people; we become blind to their pain and uncaring towards their lives. I became like that too at some point. I stopped caring about the problems of others if that was anything other than my family (close and distant family), when God only cares about the human hearts, and so they don`t get destroyed. God yearns to give every possible opportunity for us to repent, so we wouldn`t inherit Satan’s outcome, but pride makes us blind in understanding and accepting that.
Pride makes us bitter, angry, and arrogant. I chose to be prideful and unyielding instead of humbling myself with whatever cost to show God`s love towards the unlovable and forgiveness towards the unforgiving. The root of bitterness was devouring me from inside out (Hebrews 12:15). The root of bitterness defiles not only me but those who surround me.
Once again, I had to repent and reject any idea of pride even if it made me look weak in the eyes of the world. Jesus was meek and lowly, and He told us to learn from Him. I think this is the hardest thing to do: to turn the other cheek when someone strikes you and especially if that someone is the closest person you thought ones was.
My dear friend told me recently that she was hurting by watching me “bleed” emotionally by turning the other cheek over and over again and allowing myself to be hurt. I had to answer the same fact God showed me so graciously through the sermon by Jon Courson: I cannot have compassion and peace beyond the understanding at the same time. What I have now is a consequence of sin that I allowed in my life, that I committed myself. God didn`t bring those consequences, but I did. I only need to hold on to His word, so I could persevere in His truth rather than collapsing once again and backslide into the abyss of pride and seizing control into my own hands instead of allowing the Lord to battle for me.
Regardless of how painful it is right now, and how much I “bleed” emotionally, God`s been faithful to preserve me and to direct my path. I only need to stay the course.
There would always be a temptation to look back, which I face every day, and remember only the “good” things desiring to go right back to that, but that`s a lie and a mirage from Satan. My life was nothing but a deceit walking away from the Lord over the past few years. I`ve returned to the Lord, and I face pressure of temptation to say: “It`s not worth fighting for”, but that`s not true. God`s word showed us that He will not be mocked. He promises us the fruit of our sown seeds; I just need to press on and continue to sow the good seeds.
Galatians 6:7-9 (NKJV):
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
4. God is faithful: you will reap what you sow. I can vouch you to confirm how much this is true. I`ve sown the seeds of pride and disobedience to the Lord, the sin of idolatry and rejecting the Lord, and I reaped destruction and complete desolation.
I was taken to the worst desert place I could imagine only so the Lord could speak to me and help me climb out of this bottomless pit of sin.
I am endlessly grateful to the Lord that He didn`t give up on me because He loves us so much. He started reminding me His crucial character traits: love and mercy. I surrendered my life to Him once and for all regardless of the steep price that I`m paying. I know He is faithful to complete the promise of rewarding me with my family “many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life”, but I have to hold on to the truth and abide in Him.
Luke 18:29-30 (NIV):
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God
30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
5. God rewards those who follow Him. This is it; the ultimate goal of our creation- following the Lord whenever He leads us and living for Him. Jesus said it in all four gospels to confirm the importance of this message. We were bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and we are not our own. I belong to the Lord.
Some days I feel abandoned by God because I don`t see the shift in my circumstances and feel empty, but that`s just another lie from Satan. I know that God doesn`t sit still while He watches me suffer and weep day in and day out. He engraved my name on the palms of His hands, so He is right here with me; He comforts me and upholds me; He delivers me and sustains me; He guides me and directs me. My God is Almighty, and He provides a way when there is no way.
I may feel empty and hopeless some days, but I know that these are only emotions because the truth says the opposite; God`s word says the opposite. I just have to hold on to the facts of His word and not to the emotions because emotions destroy faith. If I allow myself to paint pretty pictures that don`t come true, it only provokes to destroy my faith. This is not what God wants me to do because I have to walk by faith and not by sight.
I had to repent in being idolatrous, prideful, and lukewarm, in sowing the seeds of destruction, in rejecting the Lord. I had to surrender everything to the feet of Jesus and ask Him to rule my life. I don`t want to be in charge of it anymore myself.
If there is anything that I`d like to emphasize, it would be these fine main lessons for everyone to see and understand the meaning of them. I wish others would learn on my mistakes and learn from them rather than making their own. Please know that I`m paying a price for living in sin for a very long time, but after repenting, God starts to bring it all back in the right place. It takes time, patience and obedience to the Lord. It takes complete surrender, but the result worth the run. I am looking forward to facing God one day and telling me that I made it to the finish line, that I was able to glorify His name.