Hi everyone. My name is Paul and today I’ll be sharing with you all my testimony. To give a textbook explanation of the bible study, growing life bible is a mentorship style class where believers of all levels of maturity are guided through ways to supplement and develop their Christian life into a more thriving one.
Now for those who don’t know me to well, I’ve attended church ever since I was born and came to accept Christ as my saviour at the age of 14. It’s been almost 6 to 7 years since my confession. This may lead some of you to think that I took bible study because I’ve been a Christian for a long time or because I’m “mature” enough to take “advanced” bible study; however, neither ideas were the case. I actually ended up taking bible study because of the doubts in my Christian life.
During my first semester at university, I went in thinking my faith was readily developed. However, along the way, I struggled to build relationship, the first two months were a difficult transition, and there were temptations everywhere. I tried hard to avoid these feelings and temptations by reflecting on how I was a faithful servant or how God had blessed me. However, because I was spiritually empty and felt such immense environmental pressure(s), I wasn’t able to clearly see how God had worked in my life. In fact, even the role I took as a shepherd during high-school seemed meaningless and I started think that role wasn’t out of faith. I started to walk away from God, stopped going to church slowly, and stopped communicating to people. Out of pride and the insecurities, I felt ashamed to ask for help. I also didn’t want anyone to be led in the wrong direction because of my burdens.
As time went on, I felt depressed and the apathetic nature from previous years of my life came back and attacked me. I couldn’t handle my situation anymore. As a result, this led me to open up to Pastor Caleb after the New Year’s Eve service. I explained to him how I felt and that I also wanted to step away from church life. After talking with him, I noticed the sense of burden was partly gone once Caleb shared his experience with his faith. The time spent in church did seem wasteful at the time, but after that day, I considered to take Growing Life to have questions answered and figure out possible problems before giving up church life.
As you can see now, things turned out well. While I started to build my relationship with Pastor Caleb, I came to relearn that we simply come to Christ because of our heart condition. Having a broken heart condition didn’t make sense until the mental, spiritual, and physical experience I was going through was present. I came to realize through the conversations with Caleb, that I had many problems which I hid under my pride because of my insecurities. As I continued to ask questions about my doubts, I was able to trust Pastor Caleb because of his caring nature to guide me. He would provide explanations and questions which provided me with answers and helped me reflect on where the source of my problems came from. Some of the reasons why my relationship with God was unhealthy were reasons why any relationship is unhealthy.
An example would be the miscommunication I had with God. I would assume using how I “felt” as a basis on how God was trying to speak to me rather than reading scripture as a method of verification. Only having self-orientated emotions as a support caused me to neglect the commitment of fully listening to God; this would sometimes cause me to harbour disappointment towards God and spiritual emptiness: my foundation was weak. However, once I learned about Quiet Time and scripture mediation, these provided the faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) to trust and listen to God for correct purpose (Philippians 1:10). It helped fill my heart spiritually and replace the wrong spiritual food. Pornography is an example. Out of curiosity, stress, and loneliness, I used pornography as the wrong and unhealthy replacement to fill my emptiness. However, pornography is like any sin: it satisfies you during the process, but feels disgusting afterwards like a Big Mac. It’s as dangerous as salt water; once you drink it as a replacement for thirst, but it results in agony and death. Having Caleb accountable and God filling me through His Word, these helped to break sinful cycles and it fed me peaceful food.
Although I still have struggles and sins I am unaware of, I know that by reminding myself that committing myself to God through listening and following faithfully can always guide me out.