Why I Left the Only god I’d Ever Known

campus3.1Repeat after me.

I am a sinner. (I am a sinner).

Forgive me of my sins. (Forgive me of my sins).

I believe Jesus is the Son of God. (I believe Jesus is the Son of God).

Please come into my heart. (Please come into my heart).

Welcome to the Kingdom! You’re in!

That was it? Age 6. I was in?

No. I was fooled. For years I was fooled. I tried to read my bible; I failed. I tried to pray at night; I fell asleep. I tried to honor my parents; I turned my back on them.

I was evil. Broken. And still SEPARATED from my Father.

I have come to understand that word (separated) a little more now. It’s not something I climbed over when I prayed THE prayer. It’s not something I rinsed off my skin when I got baptized two years later. And it’s definitely not something I walked off when I mindlessly walked down the church aisle. The separation was complete, and there was nothing I could do about it- no matter how hard I tried.

And I did try. For 13 years I tried. Until eventually I realized it was all a lie. My entire life had been a lie. I never loved God; I loved myself. I never wanted to praise His name for all eternity; I didn’t want to go to hell. I didn’t want to make Him known; I wanted Him to make me happy.

So I left the only god I’d ever known.

And I entered into the arms of Jesus. He was the one who helped me understand the depth of what separated me from Him. I was not just an innocent girl who kept struggling with sin; I was a sinner who couldn’t do or think anything but sin. It was my sense of being. My every desire. My will. (Rom. 3:10-18)

But God changed my will. He saw me heading toward destruction and said, “You’re mine.” It wasn’t until this point that I truly saw God for the first time. After experiencing His grace, I longed to please Him. To have thought I could overcome that separation on my own is absurd. I cannot seek to change my own will whenever my will only seeks evil. I didn’t want what was good. And I didn’t want Him. Fortunately, He wanted me.

He did not want me for my amazing personality (shocking, right?). He wanted me despite who I really am so that I would make much of who He truly is. Christianity is not about how the God of the universe can serve man; it’s about giving up everything you once knew to serve a King who sustains all you could ever desire.

I say these things to explain my decision to be baptized again. Salvation, prayer, baptism- all of these are spiritual matters. They only stand true when done through the Godhead, Himself. No thought, action or word can be brought to life without the initiative being from God (John 6:63). There was no salvation until God transformed my will. There was no true prayer until the Holy Spirit spoke life into my words. And it was not baptism until I was given a heart of repentance and was shown the significance and beauty of being risen with Christ (Acts 19:4).

So why are so many, like myself, misled? “Just believe and you’re in!” But what is true belief? Who brings true belief? The problem was not that I wasn’t trying hard enough. The problem was that any type of belief I could muster up on my own is a disgrace to the Savior and Creator of the world. No matter how hard I tried, I was separated from Him. True Christianity is unlike any other religion; God comes down. He comes down because we are unable to reach for Him. Any attempt can only be for selfish gain. That is easy to accept when considering God’s work in the past… but today, with me, those decisions are mine. However, God’s Word says otherwise (John 1:13).

Any man can say, “I believe in God.” Even the demons believe in God (James 2:19). But only God, Himself, can bring a soul to life. Anything less is simply fooled people following a religion formed by men. This is the god I served for 13 years. The god who only shows love and didn’t care that I wasn’t following him. The god who stepped outside of the Bible and simply desired the sinner’s prayer (stated above) to be repeated in order to reach heaven. The god who could be persuaded by men so that the king of the universe might do what we want.

But that is not the God of the Bible.

Although the God of the Bible is loving beyond my understanding (look at the cross), He is also perfectly severe and holy (look at the cross). He is not OK with His name being mocked while “Christians” live how they want and only seek God when they need something. We are called to take up our cross- to die (Luke 9:23). Oh, and the sinner’s prayer- there is no such prayer in the Bible. God is not simply capable of accepting a wish when “good” people ask for mercy; He is ferociously invading the lives of sinners who hate Him and smiling as they fall on their knees.

So I say all of this to tell of the grace my God has shown me; not to share the decision that I have made to follow Him. HE saved me when I didn’t want or even know I needed saving. HE changed my heart to find joy in His name rather than in this world. And HE rose with me out of the waters that represent my new will that now shadows His. To Him be all the glory.

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34 thoughts on “Why I Left the Only god I’d Ever Known

  1. I have had a very similar experence recently. My prayer is that we all come to know our Lord this way. I thoight i had done everything right and basically i had. I just didnt realize i needed to really love him really fear his anger and really know him through his word.

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  2. We were so happy to hear about your baptism this week end. Your writing was so honest and a testimony to our lord Jesus Christ. We know God will use you in a wonderful way.

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  3. I’m convinced that hell will be populated by people who thought they could repeat a few words, then live life however they pleased. And I think of the Parable of the Sower. The seed never took root. =( Thanks so much for your testimony.

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  4. Such a great article! Cheap grace….only it wasn’t cheap to Jesus Christ. It cost him everything! I worry about the “repeat after me” prayers that people are making everyday in churches across America. They think “cool, I’m good. I’m headed for Heaven.” Yet their lives never really change. No fruit. Following Jesus means counting the cost, THEN following the Holy Spirit’s call upon our hearts in genuine repentance. Without really understanding what having a relationship really means most will bail when the “cosmic Santa Jesus” fails to answer their prayers their way. I am so thankful Jesus never stops pursuing us. His love is beyond comprehension. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  5. Hi Kasey,
    You are an awesome gal. It is so amazing to see the wisdom Jesus has shown you and taught you. I could say so much more but I’m praising Jesus for the work He is doing through you!

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  6. This is a great article! Thank you for putting this into such easily understood words. I help in a ministry in the jail weekly, and would love to share this with the women in our class. Is there any way you would do a 5-10 minute video of your story? I think it would hold their attention, and speak to them better than me standing there reading it to them. Thanks for your consideration.

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  7. I became a “Christian” when I was 14 years old. I have been in church most of my life since then. I am now 55 years old and it has really only been in the last 5 years or less that I really came to know the real, true, living, loving God. I lived many years thinking the same kind of mentality. I no longer think I have to prove myself or work hard to be saved, because I just can’t. I lived under the law of a religion that I thought would save me. Now I am just a child of God and He loves me for me. I am free and changed because of what He did in me, not because of anything I could have possibly done on my own. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. My experience was sadly similar. The weight of conviction I felt when I learned I was nothing more than a sinner during all those years of “professing” is a memory I’ll never lose

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  9. I have lived a very similar story. Thank you for putting this into words that I pray others can understand. It is all of God, not all about us.

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    1. Haley, if you are seeking the Lord, He is already in you! My problem was that I was seeking God for what He could offer me; therefore, I was actually seeking more for myself rather than desiring God. But the Bible explains that the joy in following Christ is Christ, Himself. He is the prize. When we realize this truth, that is a sign that God has already transformed our hearts. Romans 3 explains that in our natural state (outside of Christ) we only seek our own desires. Therefore, if you desire God and love Him for who He is, He is already with you.

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  10. This journey is taken by many. Those raised in a Christian home with a lot of Gospel around them. This is simply the 18 inch conversion experience… from head to heart. I have lead many a child to Christ, and they in simple faith asked Jesus to save them. Only time reveals the results. Don’t be too hard on the “simple prayer”, because if prayed with the heart, people get really born again as many times as they do not. You missed it, but many did not. I am glad you eventually realized your life did not match your talk. Reality in Christ is a match, both internally, externally. I still lead kids in a simple prayer of faith as they ask me to help them because they want to be saved. I cannot judge here. Thought.

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    1. Bill, thank you for your thoughts. I agree that if the prayer is prayed from the heart you are born again. But how does one pray from the heart rather than from the mind? Biblically, that answer is the Holy Spirit. If the prayer is prayed after having been shown how lost we are, we will (out of an overflow from Him) naturally respond with repentance and continually be pursued by the Lord to live our lives for Him. I believe in prayer that results from the Lord already at work in us. I believe in prayer that exhibits the grace that has transformed hearts rather than simply asking Jesus to come into our hearts. It didn’t work for me because it was out of my own strength. There was not any more power of my own added the “second time” I was saved to make it more heart-felt. The difference was simply God’s timing, His pursuit of me, and His working in my heart when previously all I knew was the mind.

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  11. kasey,
    How do you know what you truly desire? And what if I don’t even know most of the time? I have heard Gods whisper but I can’t get to him. I am struggling with these things. I grew up in church. Said the prayer so many times and realized that was not working. Tried and tried and tried. And now I think I am learning something of his grace but I get so scared at times that maybe I am not truly his.

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    1. Lori,
      During my transition from false religion to following Christ, my love grew for Jesus the more I understood who Jesus truly was. Would a wife be flattered if her husband loved her for her curls and blue eyes if she had straight hair and brown eyes? No- she’d be insulted. I urge you to continue studying about God’s grace, and I have confidence the Spirit will transform your thoughts of fear to adoration. Concepts outside of ourselves may be frightening at first, but when we get a glimpse of the world in God’s design we fall on our knees in awe. This is where God desires us to stay. When we try and figure the Bible out to match our own theology, we build ourselves up from the ground- further away from where God holds us. The fact that you desire to know truth tells me that God is working. Be patient and allow God to work in you at His own pace. He continually molds His children; just pray you are soft enough to be molded.

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  12. I have recently realized that I can’t force myself to believe what I don’t. I’m glad you were able to have your faith transformed. I am still at a loss as to why God would give this faith to some and not others. It leaves me with the impression that he is not real because I have sought him and not found him. Maybe he is, and I’m just incapable of knowing it. Thank you for your honest thoughts.

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    1. Can I ask your reason for seeking Him? If we seek Him for some sort of gratification, we are actually seeking self happiness. We all begin in this state. We are all born rejecting God and loving self. We all deserve hell. We all deserve wrath. It is so amazing that He might save one person from what we rightly deserve.

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      1. No, I was not seeking self-gratification or a free ticket to heaven. In fact, I prefer the idea of just dying and being dead. I want truth, and if there is a god who loves us and sacrifices for us, then I want to know and follow him out of love and gratitude. If God is good and loving, I would follow him. However, I find it insulting and telling that you would suggest that my heart was not in the right place. When I heard about Jesus and his sacrifice, I initially believed. I read the entire book of John twice, and then randomly opened to different passages in Luke, Acts, Romans. When I read in Luke that following Christ meant suffering with him, and that we weren’t ready to follow him unless we were ready to give up everything to do so, family, friends, life, I was. I prayed, I meant it. I lived a life of devotion to God for two years, married a wonderful Christian man, studied the bible every day, prayed, worshipped, loved him.
        Then listening to verse by verse preaching and reading through the Old Testament, I couldn’t reconcile how God seemed like a flawed being that a middle eastern man would make up. I started reading about people who lost their faith because I was losing mine. I attended lectures on supposed proof that scriptures were real and inerrant, went to debates, read both theology and science texts. Read Tozer, CS Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler, JP Moreland, Gary Habermas, Paul K. Hoffman, and numerous others. I enrolled in deep theological bible studies, met with a pastor several times to discuss issues with my faith and the bible, and the more I studied, the less I believed. I even committed to doing 90 days straight of devotions and worship, and it became worse and worse. I just want truth. I don’t believe it is found in the bible. I believe that no one deserves to go to hell. Why should anything we do in this short blip in history deserve everlasting torment? This is just one of numerous examples of the injustice of the god of the bible. This is the real reason people are rapidly following away from Christianity. It has nothing to do with the insincerity or shallowness of a sinner’s prayer. Dedicated followers who were missionaries and pastors all their lives denounce their faith when they can no longer fool themselves into believing that they are anything other than just another hopeful person being duped by the largest cult in history.

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      2. Christina, I am very sorry that I insulted you. I was not trying to claim I knew your heart- obviously I do not. I was speaking through my own experience as I knew I was seeking out of my own strength and for my own good.
        I would just encourage you with being open to loving the God of the Bible. We often see Him as unrighteous when He does not fit the image of the god we have understood in our own hearts. I know from experience that I do not want the god I desire out of my own logic. The God of the Bible is far greater than I could have imagined on my own. It is different and outside of what we would do or think- but that is why He is God. That is why we need Him every second. I know no one can seek hard enough. I have been there. It is not about what we may or may not do. It is about what He has done. If God were to only show love, He would not be holy. He cannot look at sin with love. That’s why I am eternally thankful that Jesus died for me because i do not deserve grace. That is the very essence of the word. I don’t just have hope, Christina. I have proof. My life has changed. My God is real. And I pray He reveals Himself to you in a way that leaves you in complete awe.
        Again, I am sorry for appearing unsympathetic. Thank you for your honesty.

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      3. It’s fine, Kasey. But this a fundamental difference in our thinking. I’d much rather have the god I imagine than the god of the bible. Mike, I feel your heart come through your words, and I very much appreciate your concern, but I don’t believe in this god, so I don’t believe he loves me. And if he did, he would reveal himself to me, and not let me go to hell even though I honestly sought him.

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  13. Christina, I understand what you’ve been through; I went through much the same thing. I listened to people who said we had to seek God for God’s sake, not our own, to live a life of self-sacrifice, to worship Him acceptably, to deny self, take up our cross and follow Him, to love God with our whole heart and love people secondly. I studied and studied, tried to be more devoted, read and prayed, and even fasted, and then had a crisis of faith. Meaning, I chose not to believe and to walk away. And this, after being a Christian “leader” for a long time. Christina, for you and me, all our own efforts left us at a total loss as to how to know God didn’t they.

    You know what brought me to God? Not learning I had to seek Him, had to love Him, had to forsake all to follow Him. No, none of those things will bring anyone to God for a lifetime. What brought me to God is hearing the good news that He loved me, that He forsook all to come to me, that He sought me, that He loved me enough to die for me to make me right with God. This is why I believe it’s really important that we tell people about the real Christianity, that God does the seeking, that Jesus gave Himself for us and that if we believe this historically verifiable message we have eternal life.

    My heart melted when I heard of God’s love for me, Christina, it literally softened and love flooded over me. I turned away from my unbelief and rebellion, and received that good news as applying even to me, even though I had gone a long ways away from God. I want this for you too Christina. But you can’t make it happen, you can’t “become real committed” and “decide to seek God for God’s sake” and do all the things that people tell you to do, and find God. It won’t happen.

    When it will happen is when you hear the good news that Jesus loved you and gave Himself for you. That He died for you Christina, and that He rose for you too. And that He is now praying for you, and that He’s coming back to take you to be with Him. He simply loves you.

    You will say “but I’ve already heard that, and I don’t believe it.” That doesn’t make it less true. And that message is literally the only message that will bring you to the living God, there to find real peace and true rest, for all eternity.

    You clearly have a lot of knowledge. You have listened to great theologians, have studied deep and wide and have a vast understanding. Yet you don’t know God. The reason is because the message that is popular today is a message of what you are supposed to do for God, rather than what God did for you. It’s exactly backwards. And you’re right, people are leaving Christianity in droves because they just can’t bear the burden that is being laid on them when people tell them they don’t believe enough, or they haven’t died completely to themselves, or they have to live better to earn God’s favor.

    None of that is true Christina. What is true is that Jesus Christ came to this earth and lived perfectly, never sinning once. And all of His righteous living is applied to the account of every single person who believes. That means that you, right now Christina, could accept this good news as applying to you, and God would then view you as being completely righteous, as if you had lived exactly like Jesus did. His life is applied to your life.

    Then Jesus went to the cross and died, taking the anger of God against sin on Himself. He literally stepped in front of God’s arrows of wrath, and died for you. You are now released from all punishment, you have no guilt whatsoever, and you have been paid for at the cost of God’s own Son. He suffered in your place and died that you might live. He really did Christina.

    And then He rose from the dead on the third day. This means that God accepted Jesus’ payment for you. If God did not accept Christ’s payment Jesus would still be in the tomb. But He did rise from the dead. This resurrection was predicted in the Old Testament in numerous places, and is historically verifiable.

    So Jesus lived for you, died for you, and rose for you. May I encourage you to focus on THIS message Christina? Let all the other teachings of all other religious people go. Just hear this one message. And if you don’t want to hear it now, then at some point in your life it will become important that you remember it. Maybe it will be when you’re facing death, and you remember a very simple message “Jesus loved me and gave Himself for me”, and you can right then call out to Him and ask Him if it is true. And He will come to you and confirm that it is, and you will believe it and receive Him and find comfort and peace.

    But one thing is for sure, you will never know Him if you listen to all the other messages of all the things you are supposed to do, of how you are supposed to live, of how you are supposed to seek Him first and love Him most, etc. etc.

    Just turn away from all that, and focus on the one message that will transform your heart and life, if you will just believe it is for you. I’m praying right now, that one day I will hear about a Christina whose story was just like mine, who read and studied and was real devoted, butsomehow could not believe, who could not do all the things we were being told to do, but who one day heard the simple message of Jesus’ dying love, and who believed that good news and now has a relationship with the living God. Oh how I want that for you.

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  14. Hi, your testimony is truly amazing.I believe in the Bible, and earlier this year ” confessed and asked Jesus for forgiveness of sins”, and I started to read my Bible, and pray to God, and walk according to His Word….recently I started to realize that I wasn’t really finding joy and comfort in praying Snd reading the Bible , and my “Christian” life was beginning to seem like a tiring routine. I then realized that I had believed only because I was scared of Hell, and eternal punishment, but I know a relationship with God doesn’t thrive on that kind of fear…..since then I’ve made countless attemps at confessing my sins to Jesus Christ, because I genuinely desire to have a loving relationship with Him, but there’s been no REAL change in my life and heart.Now I’m just confused and afraid….

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    1. Janielle,
      If you have time, you might be interested in David Platt’s sermon “When Faith is Hard and the Burden is Heavy.” You can find in on YouTube. He explains that “It’s not about striving after faith; it’s about resting on the faithful One.” I hope this will be encouraging.

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