I want to dedicate this book to everyone that I’ve hurt and misled throughout my life.
I want to apologize to my 2 ex-wives for being the worst husband imaginable. I confess publicly that I was completely selfish, controlling, evil and diabolical. I hate what I have done to hurt you both and hope desperately that you will forgive me. I wish I could erase all the pain that I had caused you both. Everything that went wrong was all my fault and I still often grieve over it.
I want to apologize to my 2 daughters for being a waste of a father. I have denied and neglected you most of your lives. I wish I could relive my life for your sakes and be the kind of father that you deserve. I love you both very much and I hope the change you see in me now will impact your lives for the better.
I want to also apologize to both of my parents for being disobedient and disrespectful. I know you didn’t have the proper guidance or parenting skills that you needed; but mom you did the best you could, and dad, you’re doing much better now than ever. I forgive you both for the things you did wrong and ask for forgiveness likewise.
Finally, I want to dedicate this book to my younger brother, whom I found dead in his bedroom from alcohol and toxicity poisoning. I should have been a better example to him and loved him more. I know I could have made a better difference in his life.
This is my painful, embarrassing, and dramatic testimony of how the immeasurable mercy and love of God has saved me from the terrifying chains of darkness, which had me in bondage for years. It has taken me a long time to learn the spiritual lessons of my life, but it is now time to share what little understanding God has given me with whoever might listen. Maybe someone reading can relate and learn from the painful experiences of my life. Whatever you do, please, don’t just throw this testimony away; either read it yourself or give is to someone else. I pray that it will help someone.
Sometimes, I feel like no one understand me or my life. People often attempt to offer encouraging words of advice, but it’s like pushing a car with four flat tires. Unless they have walked in my shoes and experienced my horrors, they really don’t offer me anything beneficial. Even my well intended brothers eventually let me down, so I’ve had to turn to the one source that has consistently proven to be reliable: God has never let me down.
I respect the rights of others to seek the truth and put their faith in whatever they choose. I am not here to debate religion, philosophy, science or metaphysics with anyone. I can only testify to the reality of my personal experiences. I am not sure how useful this book will be for the atheists who read it, but you never know. However, if you do believe deep inside your heart that there’s a creator and a purpose for life, than this book could bring you amazing hope and a deeper understanding about having a relationship with God. Keep an open mind while you take a look from my perspective for just one moment. No matter what kind of faith, god or higher power you currently believe in, I know my testimony can help some of you grow spiritually and overcome life’s tragedies, disappointments and perplexing mysteries.
I know this may sound like a silly cliché, but believe me when I tell you, God loves you and desires a relationship with you. If he can love and save me, after everything I’ve done, then he can love and save anyone. Take the time to read how terribly lost and trapped I was, in a wilderness of self-inflicted pain, rebellion, confusion, addiction and many other obsessive compulsive disorders. I want you to understand that the love of God will never fail those who trust in him and see how his power can transform the lives of anyone who has even a tiny mustard seed of faith.
God is reaching out to you right now, through this book, regardless of your past or current condition. I have witnessed for myself the unimaginable mercy and grace of God, which I can barely put into words. No matter how many times you have failed, no matter what you have done, where you’re at, or how old you are, there is still hope for you. God still desperately loves you and doesn’t want anyone to perish. Even if we have spent most of our lives rejecting him, he still desires to have a personal relationship with us if we will trust and believe in him.
This book will help anyone who is seriously interested in discovering more about God, especially how much he loves us. I hope to challenge all of you to seek a close personal relationship with God or strengthen the relationship that you might already have. I challenge anyone to test my God and discover for yourself just how powerfully he can transform your life. No matter what condition your life is in, God can take you higher. Maybe you have experienced lost goals, forgotten dreams, failed marriages, broken families, loneliness, abusive relationships, addictions, obsessions, betrayal, spiritual strongholds, dangerous habits and destructive mental traps of all kinds. Or maybe you can’t answer the basic questions of life: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going after I die? How did we get here? God wants to reveal his power and love to you now and transform your life. He not only want to help us, but he intensely desires to interact with us, even in the details of our lives. He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us, if we would just give him a chance.
Life can be very difficult, especially for those of us who have fallen away from a personal relationship with God. There is an overwhelming amount of chaos and madness in the world that we have to face everyday, which makes it very challenging to maintain our sanity sometimes. Confusion and hopelessness abound in epidemic proportions, even in the Christian community. Who can handle the heavy burdens of life on their own?
Life can also be mysterious and bazaar. Many of us repeat the same self-destructive habits and patterns for years, without ever understanding why. We go up and down, in and out and around the same old mountains in our lives for years; spinning our wheels in the mud and getting nowhere. The struggles can seem endless and the battles futile. This has been the story of my life. After a while, it is easier to just give up and adapt to the condition of perpetual failure, rather than put forth the enormous effort required to change.
Sometimes we get so beaten down by life that the only place to go is up. There are many of us who have wandered off the path of happiness and lost our goals, hopes and dreams. All it takes is one unexpected catastrophe to turn our world upside down.
Some of us have deliberately neglected the wonderful blessings in our lives and now only wish that we could get them back. I know I would love a chance to go back and relive parts of my life. I have so many regrets that I have to live with now. I have wasted and thrown away so many valuable treasures in my life because of my selfish, self-centered foolishness. I eventually lost everything that was precious in my life.
Some of us are franticly searching for anything to fill the empty void inside our hearts and to help us feel better. Then after all of our searching and effort, we still remain unsatisfied with life. There are so many problems to face, with countless conflicting solutions to choose from, how can anyone decide what is trustworthy and reliable? It is so easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by the worries and anxieties of life, that we never experience any real breakthroughs or long lasting victories.
No matter what your current conditions may be, I believe the answer is the same for all of us: We need God. Some of us have simply forgotten about our faith and the promises of God, while others couldn’t care less about life, death, Heaven or Hell. Some of us need a simple reminder, while others would rather crash and burn than to seek any wisdom or knowledge. Some of us are on the edge of crying out for help, while others are too prideful to surrender their lives to a higher power. I can’t think of anyone more prideful and reluctant than myself, before I finally broke down and surrendered my life to God out of desperation.
Although my testimony is presented to all, my main focus is towards those who have, at least once in their past, trusted in the Messiah or Christ, the Christian God and man called Jesus. I hope to also lead many to my God who have never considered trusting in him before. If you feel that this type of message is not for you, please consider giving it to someone else whom you feel might better benefit.
I wish I could help everyone, but many will not understand my point of view. It will not help those who are prideful or self reliant, those who are blinded by their own self-righteousness. People who possess many fabulous abilities and personal strengths usually do not understand the need for God, a higher power or a savior. They can’t possibly grasp the painful lessons written about within this book. Others may never experienced the kind of struggles and failures mentioned in my testimony and won’t be able to relate to my desperate plea for God’s help. Also, those who have a well managed, wonderful perfect life are usually out of touch with the real world of desperation and suffering, although they still have yet to answer the final mystery of death itself, which inevitably draws loser everyday.
This book is not for the self-reliant, self-centered and self accomplished people who never fail, never struggle, or never need help. If you have overcome and solved the mystery of death, as well as solved all your problems in life, then this book will not be able to help you.
This book will, however, help those whose pain has finally brought them to their knees. It will help those who are humble and hungry to discover more about God and those who have an insatiable curiosity to understand the great mysteries of life and death better. This book is especially for the broken hearted, the desperate and the weak. This book is for me, a self admitted prodigal son, a seriously lost, spiritually desperate soul, who has learned the hard way that I can not survive without my higher power.
Let it be known to the whole world, that for most of my life, I have been unproductive, wasteful and immature. I have been habitually entangled by addictions and foolishness. My soul is wounded by a myriad of self induced regrets and shattered memories. I have nothing of my own to boast about. I am the lowest of lows, a pathetic excuse for a father, brother, son and even a friend. I am grateful, however, by the Grace of God, that I can confess these things publicly, instead of trying to hide them in my heart and deceive myself.
I have been a leading participant in the enormous epidemic of Christian failures. By carelessly making foolish decisions and constantly slipping backwards into my old evil patterns of behavior, I have become a perfect example of a dog that returns to its own vomit. Like me, there are millions of backslidden Christians who have fallen away from their intimacy and blessing of God, who have become entangled all over again by the corruption of this world. (2 Peter 2:20-22) Some NEVER recover and they die without hope, which I have seen with my own eyes.
I publicly confess all these things as an effort to prove to myself that I am truly ready to follow God and change my life. I also hope that there is someone reading who can relate to my struggles and desires to discover for the first time or reconnect to the power of God.
No matter what your life is like, it is no accident that you are reading this book. I hope the words of my testimony penetrate your heart and ignite a fire in your soul. I hope you will truly absorb every word and grow spiritually as a result. God is, right now, reaching out to you with his love and salvation. All you need to do is trust and believe just a little. The opportunity to develop an eternal relationship with God is right now. For some of you this may be your last opportunity to discover and build a real relationship with God. For others this may be the first time that you have really considered it. I know some are reading for curiosity, while others are hungry for spiritual enlightenment. Some of you will be permanently affected, yet others only temporarily satisfied by a quickly evaporating dose of joy and hope, whereby you will continue to live the same way you always have.
My hope is that there is at least one person reading my testimony who will actually hear and receive the message of hope and make a life changing, devoted commitment to follow the narrow path of life. I hope to reach someone who desires to learn how to experience a true meaningful relationship with God and overcome all the deadly traps and mysteries of this world, including self-sufficiency and pride. If there is one person who can learn from my painful experiences and grow through what God has taught me, which is how to live in spiritual victory and to never fall away again, then I am fulfilling my purpose. (2 Peter 1:3-10; Col. 1:6-10.)
The purposes of this book are to testify to you how God has taken a hopeless, addicted failure, such as myself, and set me free from the bondage of addictive and obsessive behaviors, and given me a new life of peace, joy and happiness that is beyond human understanding; to be a witness of God’s unconditional love and mercy, which is always available to anyone who humbly comes to him and cries out for help; to serve as a serious “Wake-Up Call” for the “Lukewarm” Christians who are wasting their lives being unproductive and unwilling to obey God; and finally, to implant an intense urgency in the heart of every reader, regarding how quickly our time is running out.
There are many things about life and God that I don’t understand, but I do know that God loves us and has a special purpose for each of us. He has proven his love to me many times and has revealed to me his purpose and destiny for my life. It has taken me a long time to trust and understand that God only wants a pure and loving relationship with me, but now that I have finally grasped this reality and my whole life is filled with power and meaning. This is what I want to share with you. It is my hope that you too will find what I have found in God.
Take the time to read my story and share it with others. God has truly saved me from the bondage of sin and death, hopelessness, negative obsessions, addictions and many psychological and emotional disorders. He gave me freedom, forgiveness, hope, everlasting love and eternal life. My purpose in life is to share that hope and freedom with others. Keep reading and watch the miracle of God’s grace in my life. I know he has a miracle for you also.
Outline for Book:Part I The Struggles and Cycles of Spiritual FailurePart one of my testimony will elaborate on the spiritual patterns of failure, which I constantly found myself in bondage to for years. I will start from the first moment that I had a revelation of the reality of God’s presence in my life, which immediately led to the agonizing process of being purified through many tests and temptations. I will discuss my inability to handle the enormous pressures of life, which caused me to repeatedly fall back into my old self-destructive ways. I will explain the spiritual cycles of victory and defeat; from living in blissful joy, to slipping backwards into deeper troubles and hitting rock bottom, crying out in painful sorrow, then finally being restored back once again to spiritual freedom, only to repeat the cycle of failure all over again. I will point out how my life continued to deteriorate as the pain and anguish increased each time I fell away from God, until I was utterly engulfed with despair.
Part II Finally, Walking in FreedomIn part two of my testimony, I will discuss the many practical elements that are involved with living in total freedom and victory from all the spiritual bondage of sin, failure and defeat. I will show you how you can become confident in knowing where you will go when you die. I will clarify how absolutely essential grace and faith are to permanent spiritual victory, reveal the missing elements of strong faith and discuss how to obey God's seemingly impossible commands by simply using faith. I will also point out how crucial it is to live in the moment of each day without the overwhelming pressures of tomorrow, the differences between “knowing” and “doing” the will of God, as well as briefly discuss the importance of connecting to a network of believers or support groups. Finally, I will elaborate on the “Promises and warnings” of God, discus how to grow in a deeper relationship with God and share with you a priceless treasure of scriptures that serve as spiritual food and nourishment.
Part I The Struggles and Cycles of Spiritual Failure
Part one of my testimony will elaborate on the spiritual patterns of failure, which I constantly found myself in bondage to for years. I will start from the first moment that I had a revelation of the reality of God’s presence in my life, which immediately led to the agonizing process of being purified through many tests and temptations. I will discuss my inability to handle the enormous pressures of life, which caused me to repeatedly fall back into my old self-destructive ways. I will explain the spiritual cycles of victory and defeat; from living in blissful joy, to slipping backwards into deeper troubles and hitting rock bottom, crying out in painful sorrow, then finally being restored back once again to spiritual freedom, only to repeat the cycle of failure all over again. I will point out how my life continued to deteriorate as the pain and anguish increased each time I fell away from God, until I was utterly engulfed with despair.
Part II Finally, Walking in Freedom
In part two of my testimony, I will discuss the many practical elements that are involved with living in total freedom and victory from all the spiritual bondage of sin, failure and defeat. I will show you how you can become confident in knowing where you will go when you die. I will clarify how absolutely essential grace and faith are to permanent spiritual victory, reveal the missing elements of strong faith and discuss how to obey God's seemingly impossible commands by simply using faith. I will also point out how crucial it is to live in the moment of each day without the overwhelming pressures of tomorrow, the differences between “knowing” and “doing” the will of God, as well as briefly discuss the importance of connecting to a network of believers or support groups. Finally, I will elaborate on the “Promises and warnings” of God, discus how to grow in a deeper relationship with God and share with you a priceless treasure of scriptures that serve as spiritual food and nourishment.
If you know anyone whom you think my testimony could help, or if you want to read the full version yourself, click HERE. Please, feel free to contact me for a free paper back version and I will send it to you for free. Email: levi@TheFallenSonsofGod.com
Part I The Struggles and Cycles of Spiritual Failure
Chapter 1, The Revelation and the Call of God
I respect the rights of others to seek the truth and put their faith in whatever they choose. I am not here to debate religion, philosophy, science or metaphysics with anyone. My ultimate goal is to testify how “the God of my understanding” has saved me from spiritual, psychological and physical bondage of every kind imaginable. In this chapter I will discus when and how God revealed himself to me and the process whereby I finally surrendered my life to him. I will talk about faith, the calling of God, the Gospel of Christ, the proper attitude we need and the answer to life’s most difficult problems, including death itself.
I come from a very redneck, white trash, small hillbilly town in Michigan. We were a broken family, overwhelmingly unstable, dysfunctional, reckless and utterly pathetic. I never knew if we would be going to church or sleeping in a car during the winter for survival.
I don’t want to bash my parents and make them look bad because they were dealt a pretty horrible hand as well. I also thank God that we have all matured since these ancient days and have forgiven each other. Having said that, let me continue to describe my youthful beginnings.
My mom was physically abused and beaten on a regular basis and my dad was one of many children who was neglected to the point of having to eat out of trash cans. My grandfather chose to go to prison for 3 years, rather than to claim his 5 kids and pay child support. So I understand a little why they treated me the way they did.
Although my parents struggled to do the right thing and follow God, they continued to fall backwards into rebellion which led to a life of destruction and waste. There were often times when that we were forced to go to church and yet other times we would wake up to a completely destroyed living room, due to a drunken rampage and out of control fighting from the night before. I know there are more shocking cases than my particular childhood. I’m not making any excuses or trying to start a pity party for myself, but it was no picnic growing up with my God given circumstances.
Anyway, as you can probably expect, physical abuse and drugs were a common place throughout my childhood. Besides having front row tickets to watch my parents fist fight on the weekends, it was a common practice for me to pass marijuana between my dad and uncles, as if it was the remote to the TV. I will never forget the horrible experience of watching my dad and uncles set a cat on fire. They were literally laughing about it as it was burning to death.
There was no stability at all in my family. We were constantly moving from school to school and then one summer we were molested by the older kids in our neighborhood. I grew so cold in my heart that I began to mistreat animals and even killed a cat myself, following my dad’s footsteps. There are more gruesome things to tell, but I think you get the picture. It is no wonder why I ran away from home and hung out with thugs. Even though I had many serious issues to overcome, I could have easily turned out to be a psychopathic murdering rapist. It’s a miracle that I was spared from that final outcome. Thank God for his grace in my life.
Regardless of my childhood, one thing that my parents did right was to expose me to the Christian faith long enough for the seeds of truth to be planted in my heart. I attribute the foundation of my faith to them. I didn’t realize at that time, when I was a child, that what I had learned about God would have remained in my heart forever. I heard the Baptist “Fire and Brimstone” version of the message of Christ. The message of Hell scared my little adolescent soul so much that I even cried out to God for a short moment. I was terrified of God when I first hear the Gospel preached to me.
Unfortunately, the fear and the message of truth didn’t last very long. My Faith was very weak and the pressures of the world quickly devoured any commitment to God that I may have had at the time. I continued to act as evil and foolish as anyone can imagine; stealing money from the church piggy bank, running away from home, experimenting with sex, drugs and endless foolishness.
After a few years of juvenile lock up and foster homes, I eventually pulled my life together.
I managed to get my G.E.D., a job and even attend a little community college. I studied writing, psychology, philosophy and sociology, until I finally went to school for cosmetology - who knew? LOL. But regardless of the progress that I was making, I continued to venture further away from the faith of my parents. I was hungry for something to make sense of the mysteries of life, so I spent the next few years sorting through many other religious faiths and worldly philosophies.
I wanted to find my own path and experience all that life had to offer, so I began to immediately challenge the God of my childhood. I would follow whatever belief system that appealed to my lustful lifestyle and didn’t chain me down with countless rules and restrictions. So I got involved with humanism, science, metaphysics, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other esoteric and agnostic mystery religions. I would read and study anything that sounded deep and felt sensational. Eventually, I just mixed together my own blend of faith. I called myself a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, new age spiritualist. I was the poster child for the post modern generation, characterized by cloudy principles, a vague sense of reasoning with a mushy foundation to stand on. Yet, I thought I was perfectly fine.
Everything was going pretty well until the consequences of my reckless behavior finally caught up with me. I got someone pregnant. Unfortunately, I was entirely too self-centered, immature and scared at that time in my life to manage raising a child, especially with a woman I only knew for 6 weeks. So I ran across the country to a different state, where I continued to embrace a lustful, drug oriented lifestyle, hoping that my problems would magically disappear. I ignored my daughter, my parents, my problems and God, while I continued to live in rebellion, even though I knew better.
I continued to party and enjoy life, wasting all my resources on selfish living, until God eventually convicted my soul and called me once again to come follow him. Although I was having fun on the outside, I knew I was not living right and my childhood faith was still lurking deep within my heart. There was something unexplainably profound about the message of Christ that I could not easily brush off. It took a while before I heard the Gospel of Jesus again, but this time it drastically impacted my life. It wasn’t until later that I realized how God was cleverly and mysteriously leading me back to him through all the circumstances of my life.
The Revelation of God:
God finally used a charismatic and unusually energetic co-worker to influence my life with his strong testimony and powerful example of Christianity. He demonstrated what a true Christian was supposed to look like, which had a dramatic impact on my life. He displayed a uniquely persuasive boldness and stability that my parents failed to present. He was, what I considered to be, a “Real Christian,” not a fake hypocrite like most. After observing his life for a few months, it became clear to me that he had something I was missing in my life. It was refreshing to meet someone who had a real relationship with God, who didn’t play fake religious games or display some form of pretentious garbage. Never underestimate the power of someone’s testimony. When I saw that his words matched his behavior and that his life actually reflected what he preached, I felt something real and true coming from his life.
As soon as the opportunity presented itself, he immediately led me to Christ. This was the first time in my life that God revealed himself to me in a loving manner. It was a very unique and powerful experience that I will never forget. I immediately felt a change in my heart and was overwhelmed by a sense of relief. I never knew the presence of God could be so real and strong in my life. In an instant I was a new man.
I knew I was searching for something to give my life meaning, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. I certainly didn’t think it was the God of my childhood. Regardless, I received a dynamic experience with the true and living God, so undeniably real that I could never again deny him. This experience with God was much more real and powerful than the childhood experience that I had, which faded as quickly as it came. This encounter with God wasn’t based of the fearful Baptist “Hell, fire and brimstone” message. The message I heard this time was based on trust and love.
For the next few months I felt nothing but pure joy and bliss that overshadowed any drug that I had ever used. With my new found feelings of ecstasy, I found it very easy to pray, read the Bible and go to church. Wow. I was on fire and felt invincible. I would lay in bed many nights thinking about God until I fell asleep. Then as soon as I woke up in the morning, he would be the first thing on my mind. It was very exciting to be in love with God the way I was. (little did I know that love would be tested very soon)
My relationship with God is very simple and real, yet mysterious and difficult to explain to others. It is also very interesting that none of my spiritual explorations led me to follow Jesus. It is odd that I ended up devoting myself back to my childhood faith after putting so much effort towards running away from it. But once I had “Experienced” God for myself, nothing else mattered; my life has never been the same since.
This is one of those times when your experience is so unique and personal, and no matter how hard you try to explain it to someone, they just won’t understand unless they’ve experienced the same thing. For many years I only knew about God, but after he revealed himself to me, I actually got to met him personally. I have learned that there is a big difference between knowing about God and having a personal relationship with him.
Knowing about God vs. Meeting Him:
There is a big difference between knowing about Jesus and having him live inside me. I knew the story about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins for years, but it wasn’t until he literally came to live inside my spirit that I was able to discover him personally. Many people think that it’s enough to just know about God, but the whole purpose of Christ coming to earth inside a human body was to reveal God on a personal level. He is interested in a real intimate relationship with each one of us. Believe me, when you finally met God personally you will know it. It will be much more explosive and wonderful than merely reading some Bible story about him.
Meeting God is an awesome experience that can only happen by faith. I was touched in a profound and unexplainable way the moment I sincerely called upon his name to forgive me and be my Lord. The presence and power of his indwelling Spirit began to changed me in amazing ways. There is no other explanation for what was happening to me. I was becoming a new person.
Little by little my mind and desires were being modified. I began to be attracted to things with a higher spiritual quality and less attracted to the filthy things I once loved. The more I began to change the more God proved himself to me. My relationship with God is not imaginative or superficial, but the realest thing in my life. He is alive inside me.
Now, I have direct access to God anytime I want or need. He reveals spiritual wisdom, truth and knowledge directly into my spirit and teaches me everything I need for life. Through God I have discovered the secret meaning of life and he has answered my most pertinent questions.
The Calling of God:
God calls everyone to come to him for salvation through the Gospel of Christ. When we first hear the message of God’s love and mercy through his Son, either from our parents, someone’s testimony, a preacher, teacher, book, television or radio program, at that very moment, God is calling us to accept and believe in his message of salvation.
Every time we hear the Gospel of Christ, we are literally being invited to believe in it. The message of salvation is God’s “Calling” for all of mankind to come and be saved. This is the “Calling of God” described in the Bible. (1 John 3:1) If you hear his voice do not harden your hearts. (Heb 4:7) My sheep know my voice and follow me. (John 10:27)
Every time we hear the message of Jesus to “Come, believe and receive,” we have a choice to make. We can either deny and reject his calling or we can believe and receive it. When I first heard the calling of God I did believed that he was the savior of the world, but I didn’t make him my personal savior and Lord. I knew about him, but didn’t faithfully follow his teaching and surrender my life to him. But the moment I decided to respond to his call by completely trusting and following him as my God, Savior and Lord, that’s when I received his Spirit and he began to change my life. He made his presence known to me and I became a witness for him. The only way we can truly know God is if we accept his calling, by trusting and believing in the Gospel of Christ.
God is calling you right now if you are still reading this book. He wants to reveal himself to you in a mighty way. If you notice that he is knocking on your heart, allow him to enter by simply believing in his message of salvation. He leads us by his Spirit into his truth, but we must first have faith. (Rom.8:14, Matt. 16:17, John 6:44)
Why is Faith important?
The most important things to God are Love and Faith. He proved his love to us when he came to earth and it is by faith that we will see his face one day. God’s whole system of salvation is based entirely on faith alone. Without faith it is impossible to please God. He expects us to trust and believe everything he tells us and he will not reveals himself to anyone who has doubt. For those of us who belong to God, he is our father and we must have the kind of faith that little children have, if we are going to experience the reality of God.
The Gospel of Christ requires us to put our faith in the work of God’s Son in order to be saved. When he died on the cross, he paid the price for our sins, he did everything necessary for us to be forgiven and accepted by God. There is nothing we can add to his work on the cross, to assist in our salvation, except to believe and have faith in the name of his Son. If we do not have faith in his message of salvation, then we can not receive his Spirit to be transformed into his children or be saved from death. He will not reveal himself to us unless we follow his system of faith. (Hebrews 6:11, Matt.18:3)
There are many different, religions, philosophies and theories that try to find a different way to eternal life and happiness without putting their faith in the Son of God, but there is nothing a man can do that will ever be good enough to go to Heaven. For those who claim to know God, we must have faith in the name of Jesus and his work on the cross, in order to enter into the straight gate of God. (Eph. 2:8-10, Luke 13:24)
That is why “True Christianity” is unique compared to all the other religions in the world. Every other world religion attempts to reach God through their own works and efforts of righteousness. Only true Christianity offers salvation based on the blood sacrifice of God alone, as a free gift, without man’s efforts. Faith is the only requirement. All we have to do is use our faith and believe in the message of Christ.
We must apply our faith to the Gospel of Christ when we hear it. We do this when we decide to believe in the message of Christ and follow his teachings. The moment we put our trust in the Word of God, we activate our faith. As a result, God will send his Holy Spirit to live inside us and we will become his holy children. His spirit will show us how to apply our faith as we continue to learn from our relationship with God. (Eph. 1:13-14)
Explain the Gospel of Christ and Salvation:
For those of you who do not know about the true Gospel of Christ, let me simplify it for you. The Word of God and the message of salvation is so simple that even a little child can understand it. (Mark 13:9) The message of Christ is the most important thing that you will ever hear in your life. There is nothing else which can rescue you from death and promise you eternal life. There is real life changing POWER in the message of Christ.
I recommend that you pray and ask God to open your heart and give you understanding so that you can believe and accept his Word. There are many responses to the message, but in some way, you will be permanently impacted by the Gospel. No one is ever the same after they hear the message of truth. Whether people realize it or not, the words of God will either push them further away or attracts them closer to “God’s calling.” Although I didn’t accept and follow Christ when I first heard the message, it was still planted deep within my heart and remained with me until I finally surrendered to it years later.
A Quick Warning:
Please beware that there are many perverted and counterfeit Gospels of Christ. The truth can be hard to find, so we must really desire to find it. That is why I must emphasize that you pray and ask God to reveal his truth to you, so that you won’t be deceived by anyone. (Gal. 1:6-7) If you are hungry for the truth God will give it to you.
The Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
The words you are about to read are called the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Salvation, the Word of God and the Message of Truth. The Gospel of Christ has the power of God to transform your life, set you free from sin and death, grant you eternal life and make you a new person. (2 Cor. 5:17)
After God created us he decided to give us a test in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, we failed miserably by sinning against him. He told us that we would die if we disobeyed him, but that is exactly what we did anyway. He is a perfect God and can not allow wickedness and rebellion to be in his presence, so we were punished with death. However, because of God’s great love for us, he temporarily shed the blood of animals to cover our sins, until his plan of salvation was fulfilled.
God’s mysterious plan to save mankind was revealed when his Son, Jesus, came to earth. The Son of God was sent here to die and shed his own blood so that we could be forgiven for our sins. If we believe that Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, came from heaven to shed his blood and died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, we will be saved. (John 20:31, 1 John 5:13)
Christ as our God and savior Both:
Since Jesus is the only Son of God, he is the rightful heir to the throne of God, which makes him God also. Many people try to accept him as their savior, but reject his as their God. They will not be forgiven of their sins if they do this. (John 8:24) False teachers and deceivers will try to take Jesus off the throne of his father and teach that he is not equal with God. This is a lie from Hell. The only Son of God is also our God in human form. He died on the cross and paid our penalty of death, then he rose from the grave proving that he was God and had power over death. That’s the Gospel. The moment we hear this message and “believe” upon it, we receive God’s Spirit as a “deposit” until we die or he returns. We instantly enter into a personal relationship with God through our faith in his Son.
That is pretty simple, huh? It might be simple in theory, but it’s still the most difficult thing any person could ever follow in this world. Only those who truly believe, follow and overcome until the end will be saved. (Rev. 1:7) Many people will fall away and completely “abandon” the faith. Those who do this will have no chance for eternal life or forgiveness of sins. (Heb. 6:4-6)
However, for those of us who have placed our faith in the Son of God, we have received his Holy Spirit, which is transforming us daily into “new creatures.” We have the promise of eternal life because we are “Born Again.” As long as we hold on to our faith and never let go, we will overcome this world and God will save us from death.
What does it mean to be “Born Again?
Jesus said that unless we are “Born Again” we could not enter into heaven, so it is a very important that we understand this mysterious teaching. The great mystery of how God washes and regenerates us has puzzled men since the beginning. The miracle of being “Born Again” is the spiritual work of God alone, which no man can actually see or measure. It is the invisible power of God working inside our spirits to regenerate and transform us into his children. It is by the grace of God alone that anyone can become “Born Again.” The mystery of being “Born Again” has been debated over for years, but rest assured, if you confess and believe with your heart that Jesus is the only Son of God, who came into the world to die for your sins, you are “Born of God.” (1 John 4:1-3, Rom. 10:9-10, John 3:3, Titus 3:5)
Beware that anyone can claim to be “Born Again,” or even be a “Christian” as far as that goes. But only those who “truly follow” Christ and continue to grow in the fruits of his Spirit will have the “real evidence” proving that they are God’s Children. We are known by our love, not the size of our Bibles, stylish clothes or the church we attend. Men may be able to fool other men, but they can’t fool God. We will all be judged by God one day and have to give him an account for our lives.
We all need a Savior:
There are plenty of people who deny that they have sinned against God and need forgiveness. There are also many who think they are good enough, by comparing themselves to others, to stand before God and justify themselves. Prideful and arrogant people usually reject the need for a savior, claiming that he is a useless crutch for the weak only. Since they are powerful and successful in life, they can not relate to those of us who suffer with afflictions and weaknesses. They are successful, happy, and by their own assessment, better than others, so they don’t recognize that they need to be forgiven for their sins. Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get into heaven. (Mark 10:25)
However, the truth is that we all need a savior, because there is no one who is righteous in God’s eyes. We have all sinned against God and will be judged by him after we die. No one can escape this reality. The Scriptures say that the human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who can save himself from death? The proud will soon discover how very desperate they are for a savior, shortly after they die.
How to get God’s attention:
Humility is the only way to get God’s attention, not pride. Only those who are humble and believe in the Son will be forgiven for their sins and inherit the Kingdom of God. The prideful have no hope for eternal life. He is close to those who are weak and desperate. He listens to those of us who are broken hearted. He only helps those who are humble, while he resists those who are prideful and arrogant. This is why Jesus said, blessed are the poor in spirit. They will inherit the kingdom of Heaven because they are weak and lowly. God gives wisdom to the humble, so that we realize the futility of death and that there is no hope without Christ. (Ps. 51:17, Ps 34:18, Ps. 138:6, Matt 5:3, Psalms 89:48; Jeremiah 17:9)
Hopelessness of Death:
There is an inescapable fear of death that every man must face. Nothing in this world can comfort or protect us from it. Even if we are extremely successful in life, famous and rich, what good does it do after we die? There are many rich people who have everything that life can offer, great family, business, money and prestige, yet they will admit that they’re unhappy and fearful of death. That’s why Jesus said, “what good does it do for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.” (Mark 8:36) The consequence of sin can not be overshadowed by the temporary achievements of this life. All the wealth and luxury in the world will not help solve the greatest problem facing man: DEATH.
Although we are in bondage to the fear of death, that doesn’t stop men from trying to escape death and live forever. Many new age philosophies believe that mankind will eventually evolve to be God, so they don’t need God’s salvation. The humanists and Trans-humanists actually believe that science and technology will solve the problem of death one day. Many people still believe the first lie that was ever told to mankind in the Garden of Eden: “You shall not die.” Satan told Eve she could be like God and live forever if she trusted in her own abilities and she believed him. She turned away from the truth of God’s Word and fell into death. Man has never been, nor will he ever be able to, save himself from death.
The fear of death is good for one thing, though. It forces us to seek a savior, because we know that we can not save ourselves from death. The wise have learned to trust in the love of God for salvation and deliverance from the inevitable consequence of sin. God deliberately puts the fear of death in us, so that we would be eager to accept his free gift of salvation.
The only people that are not afraid of death are those who believe Satan’s lie, or those of us who have the promise of eternal life through Christ. We do not have to be afraid of death anymore. God has forgiven and washed us clean from all our sins, through the blood sacrifice of Jesus, so that we could be set free from Death. (1 John 4:18, 1 Cor. 15:55)
How to Overcome Death and inherit Eternal Life:
My hope is that everyone reading will surrender their lives to the Son of God and be saved from the fear of death, as well as live their lives in total victory from all the traps of this world. But if you’re not ready yet to completely surrender your life to Jesus, remember that there is no other message that can offer you the promise of eternal life and forgiveness for your sins. As long as you are still alive there is hope for you, but who knows how much time God will give us to surrender to him. If you have read to this point, then the seed of hope has been planted inside your heart. But if you don’t water it, the enemy will soon come to devour it. You may forget everything I’ve told you, unless you keep seeking this truth. God is calling you to keep moving forward and pursue more of his truth.
For those who are ready to receive the promise of eternal life and freedom from the traps of this world, all you need to do is believe in the name of the Son of God and follow his teachings. If you are humble and call upon his name, he will never reject you. God’s love is available to anyone, no matter what we have done, no matter how old we are, no matter where we have ended up in our lives, or how much we have failed, God still loves us and wants to forgive us. He will adopt us as his very own children the moment we put our trust in him. (John 3:16. Rom 5:20)
His love is eternal and covers all our sins. We don’t have to do anything special to be saved except believe and follow Jesus. Christ did it all. The price for our sins has been paid. If you are hungry and thirsty for a new life, healing, forgiveness, freedom from addictions, obsessive compulsive disorders, constant failure, worry and fear, loneliness, rejection and isolation, then believe in the Son with me and surrender your whole life to God. He is knocking on your door and calling you to himself, right now. (1 Peter 4:8; James 5:20; Ephesians 1:7, Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Hebrews 9:15, 1 Peter 3:18)
The minimum requirements for salvation:
All we have to do is come to God with a pure heart and confess out loud with our mouths that we believe in Jesus. We must really have faith and believe with our hearts that Jesus is our God and Savior. We must trust and believe that he suffered, shed his blood, died on the cross for our sins and then rose again from the grave. Then we simply ask God to forgive us for our sins and he promises that he will never remember them again. He will instantly make us his children and give us his Holy Spirit.
Example of a pure and faithful prayer:
There is no magical prayer that you can repeat in order to be saved. Many people think that if they recite some kind of special prayer that they will go to Heaven. This is not true. God is looking at your heart to determine whether you truly believe in his Son or not. As long as you truly believe in Jesus and you publicly confess him with your mouth, you will be saved. You can confess your faith anyway you want. It’s your unique and faithful confession from a believing heart that will save you. Don’t just repeat the words of someone else‘s prayer, but say it from your own heart. Here is how I do it: “Lord, save Me!!! I believe you died for me and rose again, proving you are God. Forgive me of my sins. I want to be your child..” Someone else may say it differently. Such as, “Lord forgive me. I trust in Jesus now. I want to follow you.”
For those of us who confess, believe and follow Jesus, we will be saved. (Rom. 10:13) God will regenerate our hearts with his Spirit and adopt us into his heavenly family. We will experience a new life by the power of God and become his witnesses. Our lives will be transformed and characterized by godliness and love. It will be very challenging and difficult, but we have the promises of God on our side. We will have his power to overcome all our obstacles and weaknesses in life, as long as we hold onto him and endure until the end. Do it right now. Don’t wait another second. Confess and believe with your heart in Jesus today and you will be “Born of God’s Spirit.” (Rom. 10:9-10)
In conclusion, I hope that you realize God is revealing himself to you right now. He is calling you to come and follow him. I am not here to push and force anyone to trust in the Gospel of Christ, but to offer a new hope to someone who is ready. It’s God’s job to reveal himself to you and your responsibility to respond, not mine. I hope that you fully understand what the Gospel of Salvation is now and how simple it is to be saved from the bondage of sin and death. Remember, all we have to do is come to God in humility and trust in him, then prove our faith by confessing it out loud to many witnesses and do our best to follow his teachings.
It may sound easy but it can be a strenuous and challenging process of following Christ. Although we have a responsibility to obey the teachings of God, many of us desperately struggle to adhere to them. We must fully understand what we are expected to do as God’s children. In the next chapter, I will discuss what it means to actually follow and obey the Gospel of Christ and what our responsibilities are as his children.
After God reveals himself and calls us unto his eternal Kingdom, we have a decision to make. We can reject, procrastinate or choose to believe and follow Jesus. When we decide to trust and follow the Son of God, it is crucial that we don’t do it hastily and make sure that we understand exactly what we are doing. Those who surrender there lives to Christ must realize that we are making a lifetime commitment. It is the most rewarding, yet astronomically difficult, decision any person could ever make in their lives.
For the faithful followers, obeying the faith and living worthy of God’s calling is an unparalleled challenge and obligation. There are many of us who attempt to follow God, but we deny his power to transform our lives. We want to be Christians, but we don’t always want to change our lifestyles accordingly. We want all the blessings, but we don’t want to walk the walk. In this chapter, I will compare the different reactions people have when they first hear the Gospel of Christ. I will elaborate more on what it means to be called by God and our responsibility to live worthy of this calling. Then I will explain more the differences between “knowing about God” and “having a real personal relationship” with him, as well as distinguish between “perfect faith” and “dead faith.”
Different responses to God’s Calling: To understand the various reactions that people have when they hear the Gospel of Truth, it is helpful if examine a parable that Jesus taught in Matthew 13:24-30, He tells us about a man who went out to sow some seeds on the ground. As the man scattered the seeds across the ground, some of them fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them. Some seeds fell on stony ground and could not grow roots, so they were burned up by the sun and withered. Some fell into thorns and consequently were choked out. But finally, some seeds fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit.
Jesus then explains the parable: Jesus tells us the seeds that fell by the way side, where the birds devoured them, are the people that hear the message, but it has no affect on them because the spiritual enemy has distracted their minds keeping them from receiving it. The seeds that fell on the stony ground depicts those that hear the message and experience the initial joy it brings, but because they are unable to continue through the time of testing they fall away. The seeds that fell into the thorns and are choked out, reflect those that hear the message, but allow the worries and problems of the world to frustrate them, causing them to fall away. Finally, the seeds that fell on the good ground, depicts those who hear and believe the message and hold onto it. They obey, follow and produce a new life of godliness and victory.
The Parable and my life: Not only does this parable describe the different reactions to the Word of God that people have in general, but it also points out all of the challenges that I have personally faced since I have been following Jesus. I have to confess that I have behaved like all of those people in the parable at some point in my walk with God.
Although the seed was planted in my heart the very first time I heard the word of God, it did not affect me at all, nor did I pay any attention to it. I was very young and more concerned about my school friends than obeying God or listening to my parents at the time. The birds had come to devour the word from my heart. Then later in my life when I finally did accept and believe the message, I remember feeling the overwhelming flood of joy, but since I didn’t continue to grow in knowledge of God my new life in Christ quickly withered.
Another serious problem that I had was my inability and unwillingness to simply trust God for all my needs. If I didn’t see God immediately solving all my problems, I would begin to be choked by the worries of the world. I would try to fix my own problems and do things my way, without God, instead of being patient and content with my life. Because I didn’t completely surrender and trust God, I found myself constantly being choked by the worries and problems of the world.
Finally, after many long painful years of learning, I have fully accepted God’s Word and produce the fruits of faith, like the seeds that landed in good soil. I’ve never met anyone who has never slipped back into their old sinful patterns to some degree, after deciding to follow Christ. Even those who are good soil right from the beginning stumble and fall sometimes. They just don’t spend most of their lives in the mud, like I have. They walk worthy of God’s calling and produce a spiritual profit for the Kingdom of God.
The Call to Walk Worthy: Those who follow Christ have a responsibility to obey his teachings. He is also calling us to be a part of his family and kingdom and he expects us to behave accordingly. If we love God and respect God we will put forth our best effort to honor our calling and please him.
The scriptures say that many are called by God, but few are actually chosen. (Matt. 22:14) This is a very sobering concept, when we realize that it is certainly possible to hear and know about the salvation of God, only to foolishly let it slip right through our fingers. Only those who live worthy of God’s calling will be saved and accepted into God’s Kingdom. Those who overcome and endure through the times of testing and live worthy will receive eternal salvation and all the promises of victory in this life. Unfortunately, many will stand before God on judgment day wanting to enter heaven, only to hear Jesus say, “depart from me, I never knew you.” (Matt. 7:21-23)
The Gospel has reached the entire world now, even the far off hunting and gathering societies have finally heard the message of Christ. The seeds of salvation have been tossed into all the earth for everyone to receive, but only those who treat this precious offer of God as a valuable treasure will be considered worthy. Not everyone who hears the Message of Salvation will respect how vital it is to receiving eternal life. Those who do not honor and receive the words of eternal life will be rejected by God. Only those who believe and live worthy until the end will be counted worthy of God.
We must treat our hope and promise of salvation like it is the most valuable treasure in the world, because it is. Nothing else on earth can give us eternal life and happiness. If we really believe in the Son of God we will love and obey his teachings. We will live worthy like the “sons of God” are supposed to.
Because we are God’s children, it’s not unreasonable that we are expected to behave like royalty. We are God’s children now. Not only does he give us the power of his Holy Spirit, but we now have access to his wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We are now called by his name. We are True Christians, disciples of the most high God, Jesus. We are called to conduct our lives in such a way as to bring glory to God, not shame. Unfortunately, I wasted most of my life living shamefully unto God.
Although we are expected to live worthy of our Father’s name, for years I had failed miserably at it. Even though I faithfully knew God, I soon found out that my commitment to him was very shallow. When it came time to prove who I was in Christ, by faithfully obeying his calling, my superficial embrace became obvious. I began to reflect the foolishness of knowing about God, but not living faithfully to follow him. That is why I kept falling back into drug addiction, sexual immorality and many other chains of destruction. I didn’t walk the walk.
It is only by the grace and mercy of God that I have been given time to repent and walk worthy for him. So many people die early and are cut off. This realization has become my deepest motivation in life. No more playing games and wasting time for me. I have finally decided to surrender my whole life and faithfully live worthy of his calling. I wish I didn’t waste all those years.
Believing in God vs. Knowing about God: It is impossible to walk worthy of God’s calling if we do not “believe” that we can have a personal relationship with him. There is a big difference between “believing” in God and knowing about him. Most everyone knows about God as the creator, but only those who develop a close personal relationship with him really know who he is.
There are two types of people who do not obey and follow God’s teachings: Those who do not really belong to God and those who are his children, yet are stubborn and immature. Those who live in disobedient to God choose not to confess and repent from their sins, while those who are truly his children will be chastised, corrected and eventually repent from all their wrong doings. Only God can judge and determine which is which. We should never try to judge someone else’s eternity. Sometimes people have the right faith in Christ, but they are very slow learners.
How do we know if we really “believe” in God properly? It is easy to determine if someone is born of God or not by a simple test. (1 John 4:1) The scripture says that anyone who confesses that Christ has come into the flesh is born of God. That means anyone who confesses and “believes” that Jesus came from the Father, to be our God and savior, by dying in the flesh and shedding his blood for our sins, is “Born of God.” This is the “right kind of faith.” We are to “believe” in the name of the Son, because he is equal with God. (John 10:30-33, John 8:24)
This is the knowledge and confession
that leads to eternal life. Once this foundation of faith has been firmly establish in our hearts, we are “commanded” to build upon it by obeying the teaching of Jesus. It does no good to believe in the Son of God without faithfully obeying and following his teachings. If we do not obey his teachings we are playing a very dangerous game. It is by our obedience that we prove our faith and gain confidence in our eternal salvation. Without the evidence of following Christ and being changed into new creatures, we may very well be deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are really God’s children, when we’re actually not.
Some people have a counterfeit confession. They say the right words about Jesus, but they don’t really “believe” and follow him. I was walking a very fine line of deceit in my own life until I repented. I have to confess that I was very hypocritical and counterfeit many times in my life. Just because we attended a local church, read the Bible occasionally and say a few prayers, doesn’t mean that we have a real faithful relationship with God. These religious practices will not save us. This is the kind of dead faith that even the devils have. (James 2:19)
We must prove that we have a personal relationship with God by “believing” and “following” the teachings of his Son. His Spirit must live inside and guide us in all our ways. We should begin to desire God’s ways over our own and follow his commandments of love and holiness at all times. This is his commandment, “That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.” It should be obvious that we are living according to this commandment, which will perfect our faith. (James 1:22-23, 1 John 3:23)
Perfect Faith vs. Dead Faith: “Perfect Faith” doesn’t mean that we act perfectly all the time, but it merely means that we can see the faith of someone by how they live their lives. Anyone can claim to have faith or believe in Jesus, but “Perfect Faith” will always reflect the actions to prove it. Those who claim to believe in something and do not prove it have “Dead faith.” (James 2:17-22) Let’s examine the word “Believe” a little closer.
The word “believe” in the Bible is used to mean “faith that takes action.” Believing is not only to “know about” something, but to accept, trust and follow it with sacrificial dedication. In the case of “believing in Jesus,” there will be some kind of visible evidence that proves one is living according to his teachings.
Here is an example of believing in something vs. knowing about it: Many people claim to believe in eating healthy and exercising, but have you ever noticed that most of the people who make this claim do not actually live accordingly? They eat bad food and don’t follow a regular exercise program. You can tell by examining someone’s life whether or not they really believe in what they say. Those who truly believe in what they say will demonstrate it with their lives. You should notice that their actions reflects exactly what they say they believe. Those who claim to believe in eating healthy and exercising will actually display a healthy lifestyle, instead of being lazy and careless about their diet.
If there is ever a discrepancy between what someone “claims they believe” with what they “actually do,” then it’s clear that they do not really “believe” in what they are claiming. They have “Dead Faith.” They may be ignorant, deceived or lying, but one thing is obvious, they don‘t really believe what they are claiming. Many people have no awareness that they are practicing such superficial and false confessions on a regular basis. This practice is truly an epidemic in our modern society, especially in the Christian community. I also catch myself falling into this trap sometimes.
Let us examine ourselves very carefully to test whether we have “Perfect Faith” or “Dead Faith.” We must make sure that our faithful confession in the Gospel of Christ does not fall short of reflecting real action to prove it. I am learning all the time how to follow and obey God’s teachings. As the Spirit of God leads me, I make every effort to turn away from the evil things that I used to do and walk worthy of his calling.
In Conclusion, I hope you understand how everyone responds differently to the Gospel of Christ and what it means to be called by God and live worthy unto him. Now that we have learned the differences between knowing about God and having a personal relationship with him, and what real faith vs. dead faith are, we can truly live our lives in such a way that proves we are indeed the “sons of God.”
No matter how much perfect faith we have, we will sooner or later come face to face with many difficult challenges. No one is exempt from being tested by God and tempted by the Devil. In the Next chapter we will explore the inevitable “time of testing” that we all must endure. Everyone responds differently to this process of purification. Some benefit remarkably and produce spiritual gold, while others like myself, suffer from repeated failure.
I have finally learned over the years that I can’t just “give Jesus a try.” You know, like test driving a new car. This is probably the most widespread problem facing new believers, a lack of total commitment to God. We have to make sure people understand that a “total commitment” is essential if we are going to successfully follow Jesus, because the first thing God does is to “Test” us to determine the quality of our faith.
At first, when we discover and receive the Spirit of God, there is a short burst of bliss and excitement that is unmatched by anything else in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long. Little did I know there was an inescapable time of testing just waiting for me. I learned the hard way why Jesus said, “many fall away when the time of testing comes.” (Luke 8:13) I hope to prepare you however for the unexpected transitions, which caught me completely off guard. In this chapter I will point out the problems of bad evangelism and spiritual degeneration, discuss the value of being tested and tempted, as well as the most common reasons for spiritual failure.
The Problem of Bad Evangelism:
Evangelists need to be more practical and realistic when leading people to Christ. It is crucial that people don’t make a hasty superficial decision to follow Jesus without all the facts involved. A false notion is perceived when we tell people that all they have to do is come to Jesus and miraculously all their problems will instantly disappear. This misleads people and sets them up for failure when they discover that things don’t just magically disappear.
Irresponsible preachers and teachers are the main cause for much of the attrition for new believers. They paint an unrealistic picture of the Christian life, making flimsy claims and lofty pretenses, which quickly comes crashing down as soon as the first spiritual attack or test comes along. Without solid doctrine to stand on they are just wasting their time trying to make conversions.
What does it profit to misguide someone by exaggerating all the benefits of knowing Jesus, but failing to emphasize and prepare them for the enormous challenges to come. Without properly teaching and warning new believers of the real cost of following Jesus, which is making a lifelong sacrificial commitment, most of them will consequently fall away. If we are going to help build the body of Christ with new dedicated followers, our efforts should be founded on solid realistic teachings, so as to properly equip people for the calling of God.
I am not going to blame my spiritual failures on bad evangelism, but it might have been helpful to know that the blissful feelings of joy would eventually end and that I would be viciously attached by the Devil and ruthlessly enticed by my old evil desires. I certainly didn’t have a solid foundation to stand on when I first believed in the Son. Too many evangelists are trying to “sell Jesus” rather than being real with the truth. That’s one reason why so many people degenerate and fall away.
The process of spiritual degeneration is different for everyone. Since I was dominantly controlled by my “feelings,” every time I felt uncomfortable or pressured by the world I would slowly begin to give up. I didn’t want to work very hard at following Christ, so as long as I had my blissful feelings I did what I was supposed to do. Even now, when I overflow with joy, peace and happiness, I feel like I can do anything, but as soon as the problems of life begin to cave in on me, my commitment to God is immediately challenged.
I can’t let my feelings control me because they are influenced by the ever changing circumstance of life. They are unreliable and can change in the blink of an eye. First there might be difficulties at work, then unexpected financial responsibilities, followed by family stress and then physical illness. Before I realized it my whole world can be turned upside down, causing my blissful feeling to dissipate rather quickly.
I have learned that I can not allow my spiritual commitment to Jesus to be controlled by my temporary “feelings.” Life will get hard and my emotions will change, but I must force myself to follow his teachings anyway. If I rely on my feelings to be my strength, I will never stand firm in my faith for very long. I must rely on God’s power to be my strength during the tests and trials of life.
Time of Testing: Why is it essential?
No matter how committed to God we are, sooner or later, we will all be tested and tempted. It is interesting that God and the Devil both work at the same time when we are tested, although they definitely have different intentions. In the Luke 8:13, the Greek word used for “temptation” means to “Test,” as well as, to “Tempt.” Whenever I am “Tested” by God, at the very same instance, I am also “Tempted” by the Devil. This is like a double edged sword. One side is used by God to purify and strengthen me, while the other is intended to literally rip me apart.
If you study the book of Job, you will clearly see how God and the Devil operate in a man’s life. It is crucial that we love, trust and believe in our God. He will never try to make us fall, but he will purify and prune our hearts by testing us and allowing the Devil to tempt us. God loves us, but the Devil wants to destroy us. He is the one who lies, kills and destroys. Study genesis chapter 3 and you will notice that Satan tempted, lied and deceived Eve, which brought mankind under the laws of sin and death.
Reasons for being Tested:
The most obvious reason why we need to be tested is to expose our weaknesses. Tests and temptations will teach us exactly what we still need to work on in our lives. God’s methods for strengthening and purifying us will always involve trials and tribulations. We are actually instructed to not be surprised when trouble comes our way, but to embrace it and consider it a valuable opportunity to be perfected and strengthened.
God deliberately puts us through fiery tests, so he can purify and perfect us. Even though it seems terrible at the time, our tests don’t last forever and God promises to always be with us. We are told that after we have suffered a while, that he will perfect, strengthen and establish us. It is not a comfortable process being transformed into the children of God. (James 1:1-8, 1 Peter 5:10, 1 Peter 1:7)
Another reason God tests us is to determine the strength of our commitment and the quality of our faith. Tests will separate those who are loyal to God from those who are not. Jesus warns us that when the time of testing and temptation come many will fall away from the faith. (Luke 8:13) Those who do not really love Jesus, who are only superficially claiming their faith, will fall away as soon as the first difficult event comes along. In the beginning of my walk with God, it didn’t take much pressure to make me quiver and fall away from God. I only had “dead faith” at the time.
Although everyone must endure a measure of trouble, the Bible teaches us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear and that he will always provide a way out. (1 Cor. 10:13) The book of James tells us that every man is tempted, when he is drawn away and enticed by his own lust, but Jesus told us to pray that we will be led away from these strong enticements. (Matt. 6:13, James 1:14)
The temptations that we face in life are common to all of us and they force us to depend on God, because we are not able to overcome them with our own strength. It is through our weaknesses that we will experience the “Power” of God in our lives. That is why it is crucial that we endure all the tests and temptation that we face, so that God can build us up in his power. Every victory that I have is by the grace and power of God in my life.
The most common reasons for failure:
Whether a test or a temptation, we must learn how to conquer our weaknesses through our faith in God’s power. He is continuously teaching me how to overcome all my weaknesses by depending on him, although there are many obstacles that we face.
The most obvious challenge that we face is the Devil. The Bible tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12) Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has been meticulously manipulating and deceiving mankind. This fallen angel, also known as Lucifer, the Great Dragon and the Devil, is roaming the entire earth to see whom he can devour and destroy.(1 Peter 5:8) His whole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy us. (John 10:10)
If we are not wise we can make it easy for the spiritual enemy to enter into our lives and bombard us with his fiery darts. For instance, if we allow anger to control our lives, he is able to find a way into our minds and eventfully plants a seed of destruction into our hearts. (Eph. 4:26-27) As a matter of fact, anytime we disobey God, we give the Devil an opportunity to oppress us. Alcohol, drugs, gossip, slander and envy are just a few of the ways we allow the enemy to control our mind and lives. But if we follow the Holy Spirit, we can prevent the vast majority of the Devil’s influence in our lives.
Fortunately, God has given us everything we need to defeat this enemy. We have the power of God’s Sword as our weapon to defend ourselves, whereby we can destroy the power of the Devil. (Eph. 6:14-17) That is why we must always walk worthy and continue to grow in the knowledge of God. As long as we are obeying and following God’s teachings, we never have to be worried about the Devil. He has no authority or power over the children of God. The more we grow in faith and stand in the word of God, the more we will live in victory and freedom.
Another reason we fail is because we are allowing our old human nature to control us. This inner weakness has nothing to do with the Devil, but comes from the innermost parts of our very being. The “Flesh” that used to control us still desires to dominate our minds and souls. “The “Flesh” is the original evil nature of a person, including all the emotions, thoughts and desires that make up that persons since birth.
Everyone is born into the bondage of sin and controlled by the “Flesh,” until we are “Born Again” through the power of God’s Spirit. We were all born self-centered, lying, gossiping thieves. Just take a look at the behavior of our children. No one has to teach them to lie, cheat or steal. It’s a natural instinct. It is by the power of spiritual regeneration through the miraculous work of God that we are able to eventually overcome all these sins. No one is perfect without God, even if they think they are.
Although we have been created into new creatures, by faith in Christ, we still face the challenge of crucifying our old evil desires on a daily basis. The Bible makes it clear that our old flesh and our new identity in Christ are constantly in conflict with one another. (more on this later) The passions and carnality of our flesh must always be managed properly. We must learn how to crucify the old person we used to be, because the evil that used to control us will try and overpower us if we let it. The Bible warns us that our hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? But God is slowly transforming us as we learn how to follow and obey his teachings. (Gal. 5:17, Jer. 17:9)
It takes time for God to transform us and we must co-operate with his indwelling Spirit if we are going to be successful at overcoming our flesh and the traps of this wicked world. The big advantage now is that God is living inside us and we now have his power to overcome with. As long as we remain in his Spirit, we will pass every test and overcome every temptation. However, there are a few more significant reasons why we fail at walking worthy of God that need to be pointed out.
Ignorance is a very serious problem. Hosea 4:6 tells us that people are destroyed by their lack of knowledge. If we do not grow in the knowledge of God we will remain defeated in life. If we ignorantly drink something with poison in it, we could still die. It doesn’t matter if we didn’t know about it. The Devil will always takes advantage of our ignorance and keep us in bondage. The best defense we have for this issue is to grow in the knowledge of God’s Power. Let us love and be eager to learn, read and study. (1 Peter 3:15, 2 Tim. 2:15)
Foolishness is a major problem. When I know what to do and I don’t do it, I am acting like a fool. This is rooted in rebellion and self-centeredness in my opinion. I have discovered that the root cause of my foolish behavior has been the search for immediate gratification. Instead of being patient and waiting on the God the provide a solution, I would try to seek the easiest answer for myself and wind up falling right on my face. I am still learning how to wait for the wisdom of God.
Lack of motivation:
A lack of motivation is another huge problem. I love always being motivated and enthusiastic about my life and God. So when I start to lose my steam, I begin to notice that more complacency and unproductively in my life. A failure to be hungry and passionate for God leads me towards self destructive and wasteful behavior. I am learning how to keep myself motivated, but it’s a lot of work. Fortunately, God is good at providing the resources that I need.
If we are not spiritually alert, on guard and prepared, we can easily get snagged into one of the Devil’s many traps. I know this for a fact. We must be constantly aware of the path that we are on, the choices that we make, the people, places and things in our lives, so that we will not foolishly trip into any unnecessary trouble. I have learned over the years that the Devil will wait patiently for the perfect opportunity to attack me. Those moments usually happen when I let my guard down for a brief moment. When I get prideful or lose a my passion and motivation, the Devil is right there to sucker punch right in the face. (Phil 2:12)
Although God is my strength and continues to transform me daily, I still must remember to surrender my weaknesses to him everyday. In the blink of an eye I can slip and fall into self-centeredness and allow my flesh to control me again. I must stay alert and humble myself before things get out of hand. If I quickly apply the wisdom of God that I have learned, I will make better decisions and not get entangled again by the corruption of the world. I love these scriptures when I am killing my pride: “Don’t think too highly of yourself,” (Rom 12:3) and “When you think you are standing firm, be careful, you may fall also.” (1 Cor. 10:12)
In conclusion, if we are going to be victorious against the Devil and our “Flesh,” it helps to be fully aware of the imminent attacks and pressures right from the beginning. I hope you also understand why we are tested and tempted. God is only trying to transform, purify and strengthen us to be more like him. Don’t tell anyone that following Jesus is an easy task. You will be lying to them. All we can promise someone is that God will be our strength. He will provide us with all the resources that we need to overcome our weaknesses and he will rescue us in due time. He will guide us through the pain of life and transform us by his power, but not exempt us from it.
If we are going to endure the inevitable storms that arise, we must evaluate our hearts and make certain that our commitment to God is real. We must expect and be prepared for the tests and temptations that creep into our lives and not be surprised when trouble comes our way. If we are well equipped and dedicated to God, we can withstand the many pitfalls and traps that are just waiting around the corner for us. But is we fail to recognize and endure these spiritual realities, then we are sure to be victimized many times over. The next chapter is a reflection of what happens when we are not wise and faithful to the teachings of God. Falling away from God is a very painful experience and can be minimized, but not completely avoided. We all will fall sooner or later as we learn to grow in our relationship with God.