Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Journey into Reformed Christianity


It is amazing to think that I spent 20 years as a Christian, not understanding the importance of doctrine. I just knew I didn't measure up to what I believed God wanted of me. The result was a rebellious heart at many times, and angry at God much of the time. I just could not conceive a loving Father. Life was difficult in many ways during those years and a divorce happened at the end of the 20 years. My husband had been the first person to share the gospel with me. I had been immersed in New Age prior to Christianity.

I went into the wilderness after that so to speak. I worked at a wilderness ministry where theology was debated. I eventually moved to Texas to be a houseparent for teens. During those years, I searched for truth and God opened my eyes to grace. I related the most to Gomer in the Bible. Remember Gomer? Hosea's wife?

Lest I strip her naked
And expose her, as in the day she was born,
And make her like a wilderness,
And set her like dry land,
And slay her with thirst Hosea 2:3

God was showing me my wretchedness. He was showing me that I had many lovers so to speak...the idols in my life. My selfishness, my seeking for things to fill my life, to have fulfillment...but not so much in Christ. He was stripping me.

I will hedge up your way with thorns,
and wall her in,
So that she cannot find her paths. Hosea 2:6

Texas was an awesome place for me. I explored nature preserves, watched clouds, walked and prayed, studied the Word. I was being awakened from slumber so to speak. I was out in the wilderness in my life and God was wooing me to Himself.

Therefore behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope. Hosea 2:14,15

In the book The Holiness of God, by Sproul, he mentions the time that Martin Luther was to do his first communion. Luther was overcome by a sense of complete unworthiness before God. He trembled before God and was unable to administer the sacrament. I can relate, for during this time, I was very grieved over my lifetime of gross sin. Bear in mind that I had been a Christian for over 20 years. I had previously had that bit of belief that I had somehow chosen God, and it was all up to me to choose to be a good girl. I had given up the idea of being Daddy's little girl because life had been so hard and so obviously He wasn't pleased with me.

And it shall be in that day
says the Lord,
That you will call Me your Husband,
And no longer call Me, my Master, Hosea 2:16

Up until this time in my walk, I had seen God as a hard taskmaster. I just could not measure up to what He wanted of me. After being exposed to my sin in a way I had never been before, I saw my wretchedness and his grace washed over me. It is almost the defining moment in my life. To realize that He chose me, puts me in such a position of gratitude for his gift of salvation. To realize that the Holy Spirit will change me precept upon precept, day to day is amazing. It no longer hinges on my efforts to be pleasing to Him, but on me trusting Him to do all things for his glory alone. I read a sermon by Spurgeon over at http://phillipjohnson.blogspot.com/ and it really brought home the fact that I was a fool until the Holy Spirit revealed truth. It also gives me hope that He is doing a similar work in many people. I think Calvinism comes by revelation by God. God is quietly doing this good work in these dark days of apostasy. I will finish with part of the paragraph by Spurgeon. Oh ya...one more note. Ten years after my divorce, God brought a kind and loving man who is also a reformed Christian. We are growing in grace together.

We call those fools who have a great want of knowledge of things which it is necessary to know. Where other men find their way, they are lost. Where other men know what to do upon very simple matters, they are quite bewildered and cannot tell how to act. I remember when I did not know the way of salvation. I had heard it from my youth up, and heard it explained very simply, too; but I did not know it. Many must confess that, though now they understand what faith in Jesus is, yet they were very slow in catching the idea. It is an idea which a babe in grace can explain, but which wise men, classically instructed, do not receive. I may stand here, and beat my very heart out in trying to make plain how men are to believe and live, and yet out of my congregation not one will receive God's meaning into his heart unless God the Holy Ghost shall enlighten him; for we are such fools that the simplest matters of heavenly truth are utterly unknown to us.



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