Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (John 4:1)
I was raised in a Christian home, but only learned about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We were a Navy family and moved every two to four years, and therefore changed churches without changing denominations. I was not introduced to Jesus as someone with whom I could have a relationship.
In my senior and fifth year of college, I lived away from home and did not attend church at all. Shortly after college, I married a man who had never attended a church and wanted nothing to do with one, so having a spiritual conversation was not even an option (before marrying him, I heard a quiet voice say to me, “You are not to marry him” which I ignored completely).
Upon divorce ten years later, I felt “something” was missing from my life. I set out to find a church that I felt comfortable in and landed upon one with a very strong singles group. This church was a different Christian denomination from my childhood one, yet it also did not introduce me to a relationship with Jesus, but only spoke about Him. When I moved to be near family again, I found another church which I came to know as a New Age church.
They taught things that made me “feel good.” I finally thought I found what my heart and soul had been missing. Although Jesus was taught as “a good teacher” like Buddha and some other philosophers, those who had founded this New Age “religion” were the most revered. The Bible was used as a resource, but their “bible” was a text book created by the founders. Pieces of many religions worldwide were integrated, and I thought very little of these oddities as they seemed to be right and good. Plus I was so hungry that this “stuff” made sense.
I attended weekend workshops which left me feeling happy and self-loved. I studied books that espoused the self and the god within. I was taught that the mind could control everything. There was an integration of science, religion, nature, and philosophy. I participated in this for about ten years. Although I was confused often by their teachings, I felt good, so I ignored the confusion as best I could.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
I moved a couple more times, continually seeking this kind of church. After my last move in 1990, this brand of religion had no presence in the city I’d chosen. It was at this time a dear friend committed suicide, leaving a note at my apartment so that I would end up being the one to find him. My world came tumbling down. After believing that I could handle this alone, that this sense of “self” completion the New Age church promoted would get me through it all, I was hit squarely between the eyes.
I realized that all that I had thought to be truth were lies, bold faced lies.
I began attending a Christian church, but once again, the introduction to Christ was lacking. These denominations that I am calling Christian (and not New Age) are predominant ones in the United States. Jesus is believed in. But where was the invitation to have relationship with Him? …the admission of sin? …the call to repent and ask forgiveness? Where?
Around that time I met my second husband who was (and is still) a Christian and who had a relationship with the One and Only Savior, but this was unbeknownst to me initially. On our first couple of dates, he listened to my mixed up beliefs when we spoke of spiritual matters. He shared Jesus, Scripture, and the Truth with me. Tears welled up in my eyes on our second date. Tears, for me, are a telltale sign that a vulnerable part of me is touched. The Truth had done that, as we know It surely can do.
After seven months of his patience, gentle love, Christlike ways and our spiritual conversations (plus his dear mother sharing the LORD with me), I finally turned to Jesus. As I was lying alone on my bed one morning, I asked Him to be my LORD and Savior through an acknowledgement of my sin, repenting to Him, and beseeching His forgiveness. I had spent year after year living a life filled with sin and disbelief. I was not a “bad” person, but I did not believe. After hearing that “still small voice” in 1971, I continued to wander along wrong paths, making wrong choices for another 22 years. I was 45 when Jesus came to live in my long awaiting heart.
And I have never looked back.
Religions espousing self, mind-over-matter, the prosperity gospel, or use books other than the Bible are man-made, and not of God.
If we know someone caught in a “church” that teaches New Age thoughts or they are attending a Christian church that teaches ideologies which are not biblical, we need to be the Christ that they may never see any other way. We must step out in faith, guiding them by love, prayer, words, and actions.
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation […] written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, Who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:26)