A short testimony

I have been a christian since I was very young.  I might have been eight or nine.  I remember loving God and wanting to obey him since I was very young.  It was based on trying to be good enough and then realizing I couldn't and then hating myself and still trying because I didn't want to go to hell.  How's that for a fun childhood?

If I had been grounded, taught about the Holy Spirit, taught the love of God above all else, known I had a shield, a guard, a protector, then I may have had a chance to not layer on the armor of injury that Satan loves because it hinders our walk with Christ.  We take on curses so to speak.  We believe - put faith in things that are untrue.  What do I mean by this?  Insecurity, not good enough, ugly, weak, have to fight for everything, fearful, critical, judgemental, not able to trust, wanting what I do not have, never feeling content, depressed, unhappy....   Do any of these words sound like God?  How can we have his Spirit in us (Jesus in us) and display these behaviors?

We need to be taught how to be in relationship and fellowship, have our hearts seeking him not because we should, or we want to be good enough, but because he is our sustenance, our food.  Without him we are unsteady.  He keeps us and is our guard.  What this really means is humbling ourselves enough to become vulnerable, needy.  In our culture those are bad words.  That means weakness, but with God it means he can come in with his strength and his agenda and bless us with gifts that satisfy our soul and free us from bondage of fear and discontentment.  Are you with me?  Those things are perpetual and empty.  We need God.

Deuteronomy 4:28 - 31  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, not eat, nor smell.  But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

Jeremiah 29:12-13  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Luke 11:9  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

As I stepped forward into things, said "Yes", and started studying my bible it started to come alive.  As I was reading I couldn't get enough.  All the scriptures were a treasure hunt, my heart would race and I couldn't sleep.  I would sit in my closet reading while everyone else was sleeping.  I led a bible study and couldn't even put the words together because there was too much to share.  I used to think the word overwhelmed was a bad word but now it is what I long for.  There is a song that says "What my heart longs for is to be overwhelmed by your presence Lord".  God uses music to feed our souls.  It is evident that Christian music is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the artistry of music is so powerful because we sing along.  We sing the words he needs us to sing and it is important for our growth.  God loves us so much.

God did lead me through a pattern of repentence and I asked him to walk through my life with me.  I said the words as he brought things to mind "God I let you forgive me for that".  It is a beautiful thing to realize that he already forgave me for that, I was just holding onto it until I was good enough.  I layed everything at his feet.

Then I read Matthew 5:3-11.  I used to read these scriptures and had no understanding why I would be any of those words.  Now, I understood that walking with the Holy Spirit in me and seeking after God with all my heart produced these things.  I didn't have to give up anything, I gained everything!

The story just keeps getting better.  I'll keep sharing more and more.

Julie Ethridge