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stillseeking

Reluctant new believer with some challenges

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On 1/1/2018 at 7:49 PM, stillseeking said:

I'm a fairly new believer (even though I was exposed to and often fought Christianity for most of my life).  I also have the tendency to get caught up in specifics/legalities, which might be due in part to possibly being on the autistic spectrum (as suggested by a therapist, but I don't have the $3k out of pocket it would cost to get officially evaluated). 

During my teen and early college years, I tried hard to believe but never could, since logic always won out.  I remember during this time that I saw God as a harsh rule giver who would send anyone to hell for even sinning by accident or doing something that the person didn't even know was sinful (as exemplified in Leviticus 5:17).  I tried living by the Christian faith as best I could but just *could not* make myself truly believe it.  I eventually gave up, especially when confronted with new pieces of evidence such as the many mythological similarities of the Jesus narrative, and the seeming editing of the story after the fact to include a virgin birth like all of the others.  

Anyway, I'm providing that background information so you can see where I'm coming from.  I don't need answers on those things at this point.  

What I do need answers on this point would be things pertaining to my current life situation.  I began in truly believing the word in joy at first and immediately was able to cut my bursts of anger and impatience out nearly completely.  I've zealously tried to eliminate even *possible* sin from other areas of my life by limiting my make-up down to so little that I personally believe it is ugly enough to not cause lust, I have gotten rid of many clothes I used to wear, etc.  I don't understand what is and isn't sin, because it seems that such would be defined by the Bible, which is interpreted in many different ways.  That is troublesome, though, since not knowing what sin is means that I'll not be able to repent for it.  If I can't repent for it, then I can't ask for forgiveness for it, and it will forever separate me from God.  I'm very troubled by this and coming to the conclusion that loving God with ALL my heart and soul and loving my neighbor AS MYSELF must necessarily mean that I need to sell everything I own or give it to the poor, live in absolute poverty, and dress in only modest and unattractive clothes so as to avoid inciting lust.  Otherwise I'm treating myself better than my neighbor or withholding from God.  This saddens me, because it sounds like a miserable way to live.  It also confuses me, because many seemingly genuine Christians haven't come to this same conclusion. 

I'm already somewhat of a minimalist compared to most people, so I don't have a lot to get rid of.  I already didn't wear much make-up to start with.  I already had been practicing regular monetary giving to faith-based charities (even before the realization which I described).  I don't liken myself in particular to the rich young ruler mentioned in scripture, because first I'm not really rich, and second, the only material possessions I have that I really care about are musical instruments and old paper photos.  

Right now, I spend a lot of time wondering what is right and wrong.  How can I live my life in the right way unless I can clearly define it?  How can I avoid wrong things unless I can clearly define them?  It saddens me that I can't, which means that I'll inevitably be living in unknown sin simply due to my lack of ability to interpret scriptures correctly.  I find no comfort in this and even find myself becoming bitter towards God.  I pray for guidance and discretion but seem to receive none.  I get instead multiple possible answers, which of course just leads to more confusion. 

I don't know if you are man or woman. But, one, you have to understand what is Christianity, second and more principal is to know what is the will of Holy God. (Example, Jeremiah 7:21-23)

Do you understand John 3:16,17,18 ?

The hardest part is the separation from this earthly world to go in side of Holy God. Matthew 6:24,33; 7:21-24;5:17,19,20; 7:13,14; 10:28,35-39 (in general vers 38);16:24,25;

What mean to you "...,and take up his cross, and follow me." ?

When Lord Christ carried the cross on His back was fun or entertainment for him, or was a lot of suffering ?

We the Christians what follow Lord Christ through His teachings from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we suffer a lot.    I personal when am in mission (Matthew 10:9) don't have money or credit card with me. I was many times in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and I ate from garbages, drunk water from ditches, because I don't take from people. For I take anything from a person, that person know how to approach me, how to greed me, and know what to do, and that only a real Christian know. One time when I was in Virginia Beach Jail I did not ate for 21 days. In 1989 I walked from Lexington KY to Virginia Beach Virginia with no money.

Soon I have to go again, I don't know the date, but I know I have to suffer worse than before

You have to decide in wich side you want to be. You want to be in earthly world side or in the side of Holy God, you cannot be in both sides. Matthew 6:24; Colossians 3:11.

You decide, not Holy God.

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3 hours ago, stillseeking said:

Agreed, and it is frustrating.  My initial question remains due to the fact that no single explanation has been backed up with evidence.  I hear various interpretations being restated--but nothing telling me WHY any particular one is right. 

The preceding verses do not clearly show that.  They show that those who do not 'do the will of the father' will be left out, but this concept is left undefined.  That remains the root of the uncertainty. 

Not quite.  I refuse to blindly accept any one person's interpretation.  I get different answers from different people, and when I first brought out this verse in this thread, I listed all the possibilities I had gathered plus my notes on each.  At present, I'm not only having this conversation here on the forums but with 2 other people whom I know from real life, separately...so in total, I'm having a discussion on this topic in 3 separate places.  Everyone has an interpretation and some proof texts.  Couple that with my own reading and maybe you can see why none of the answers stand out as definitely right. 

Personally, I understand this verse at present to be about fake Christians who do not 'do the will of the father', but I do not have a clear definition of 'doing the will of the father' which I can apply to my own life to determine if I am doing this.  Related confusions/thoughts/doubts include:

* If 'doing' something is required, the popular evangelistic line about "just believe/have faith" is mistaken.  This actually makes sense, because the Greek word 'pistos' which is often translated as 'faith' does not mean quite that--its meaning also includes obedience and trust. 

* Jesus was very obviously addressing Jews in Matt 7:23.  He uses the word which translates in most English versions as 'lawlessness', and Jews would have understood this to mean disobedience to Torah.  This is corroborated by Matthew 23 in which Jesus, by commanding people to obey the words coming from the Moses seat, is essentially telling people to obey Torah.  Furthermore, Paul goes to great lengths to prove he keeps Torah in Acts 21, which is awfully strange if such things are no longer asked of us by God. 

* Am I in Christ, and He in me?  What is the evidence for this?  I feel depression instead of joy, I experience confusion instead of discernment, and I feel like my prayers are lost in the wind.  Actually, I often wonder if I'm a Hebrews 6:4 victim and it's too late for me. 

* How can one determine if one loves Jesus with his/her entire heart?  Presumably, many of us try, but we all fail.  So, what is the objective way to determine whether we meet this qualification? 

* As far as confession, yes, all the time, pretty much whenever I have any thought whatsoever which is in any way potentially prideful or impatient...which is about every 5 minutes, and I thus spend my entire day thinking about what a failure I am, and I slowly observe how Christianity has forced me into a state of perpetual self-hatred. 

No, not exactly.  Here is the exchange I believe you are referring to:

Your exhortation to me included two parts: 1) To focus on the positive and 2) to focus less on reasons I fear I will be excluded from eternal life. 

If I am opposed to one or both suggestions, my answer will reflect that, and indeed, it did.  However, for clarification's sake, I'm more opposed to the second exhortation.  Why?  The reason is already stated above: "Assuming I have salvation when potentially I don't would put me EXACTLY in the category of those who are SURPRISED to be rejected on judgement day.  My whole worry here is that I'd end up in that category."

I have no issue with focusing on the positive, as long as such does not lead to sin.  Positive thoughts for my own benefit might be sinful because such could be selfishness.  Looking in a mirror and believing that the dress I'm wearing looks flattering could potentially be vanity and therefore might be sin.  Putting on make-up before going to work might be sinful if I detect that the reason is anything other than looking professional.  Feeling anger toward being cut off by terrible drivers makes me wonder if I'm actually angry, if such potential anger is directed at my life having been endangered or at the terrible drivers for causing such an incident, and if my angry thought(s) and potential expression of anger constitute sin. 

For all of the above, I usually determine that they're all likely sin, and I usually ask for forgiveness individually each time one occurs.  I'd say that such things happen several times per hour, constantly, throughout the day, every day. 

The above is a more detailed explanation of concepts which I've previously intimated at.  I also pray for approximately 30 minutes per day, focused.  Couple reasons I don't talk about it much, though.  First, it would just be a bunch of complaining that God usually doesn't seem to answers my prayers (actually I have mentioned this on this very thread a few times).  My prayers are usually not too extravagant.  Themes include: Gratitude, seeking forgiveness, asking for discernment and wisdom, asking to be enabled to know and love God properly and to understand what that means, answers to my questions such as the actual meaning of Matt 7:21, current frustrations usually followed by apology for said frustrations, assistance with not being so sinful going forward, and getting to work on time. 

NB, I haven't been late to work since I started praying this, so there's that. 

The more I pray, the more frustrated I become.  I used to fully expect God would answer me, but due to observing that He doesn't, I now have stopped expecting that He will answer.  I suppose that means I have decreased in trust and faith thus far also.  These things are also frustrating. 

Another reason I don't talk about it is it's kind of personal, and I generally only volunteer personal information when it's pertinent to the conversation. 

Third, I wish to avoid pride.  I can't stand it when people tell me all about their prayer lives most of the time, because they usually volunteer these details with seemingly no purpose.  I get the impression they just want to show off how holy they think they are.  I do not want to be like such people. 

Good Morning StillSeeking! You have to be exhausted explaining your position in such detail over and over. Yours is about the most detailed self judgement and confession I've ever encountered. Your OCD has you pinned to extreme doubt. How can we get it to pin you to extreme confidence?

You question what is God's will. It actually is very clear. First and foremost is the Greatest Commandment, the the Second Greatest Commandment, both in my signature below.

Here is also a site that defines doing God's will that I think might be of benefit to you.

https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/what-is-the-will-of-the-father-in-matthew-721/

When you have read this, then click on the "Seeking God's Will" link in the second sentence. It is all Biblical based including all scriptures referenced, so you are not relying on "opinions", but God's word.

Somehow we must get you to be open to the Holy Spirit, as that is the true source for the answers to all your questions. First however you have to be confident in your belief in being saved, since this is obviously (meaning by your own admission) what you are holding yourself back with. 

Just don't quit "knocking StillSeeking, because the "door" WILL be opened to you.  And there will always be plenty here who will be with you each step of the way.

Let me know how this works. I have more confidence now that you will get this right then ever before! At the very least, we know you are closer then ever before! :)

Cheers StillSeeking!!! :amen:

 

 

 

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You sound a LOT like me. I have struggled throughout my life to fully give into Christianity, not because I didn't see the good qualities of it (of which of course there are many) but largely because I found that many so called follwers were anything but, and it killed my faith to see so many using God's name to trash it with their words and actions and live hedonistic life styles all the while. I have recently decided to accept that just because the world might misuse His teachings or twist His words, it is NOT a problem with Him, but false prophets. I also quite value logical thinking and rationality, but I made the mistake of assuming that meant I was incompatible with a faith based system, of which I am now convinced I was quite mistaken. Nice to meet you!

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Yours is about the most detailed self judgement and confession I've ever encountered. Your OCD has you pinned to extreme doubt. How can we get it to pin you to extreme confidence?

Confirm non-membership to all exclusionary conditions for salvation.  Confirm a valid way to distinguish between influences representing God's will verses those representing very clever deceptions. 

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You question what is God's will. It actually is very clear. First and foremost is the Greatest Commandment, the the Second Greatest Commandment, both in my signature below.

We as believers all (purportedly) try to do these things, but we all fall short.  We believe but have doubts even so.  Therefore, no one *really* does the 'will of the Father'.  So what percentage or cut-off or other qualification defines those who are considered to *do* these things then? 

I read your links and am confused as to how they came up with the concept of the "Five wills of God"...Jesus issued far more commands than are represented in those verses, even if each one isn't explicitly prefaced with 'this is the will of God'.  In fact, we can be sure that this list is incomplete due to its omission of the great commandments (love God/love humans) and that we have trust in God. 

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Somehow we must get you to be open to the Holy Spirit, as that is the true source for the answers to all your questions.

I pray for such answers and do not receive them.  Also, I have talked to Christians from a variety of denominations, including several pastors.  They all think they are led by the Holy Spirit, and they disagree on many things.  Logically, they can't all be following the Holy Spirit, even though they think they all are.  Logically, most of them would have to be wrong (unless God is into split personalities, which I doubt).  We see that most people, then, who think they are following the Holy Spirit are, in fact, not.  If most people are deceived into thinking they are following the Holy Spirit, when actually they are not, by what means can I reliably establish a criteria to determine whether any person, or I myself, am following an influence from the Holy Spirit or a deceiver? 

 

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You sound a LOT like me. I have struggled throughout my life to fully give into Christianity, not because I didn't see the good qualities of it (of which of course there are many) but largely because I found that many so called followers were anything but, and it killed my faith to see so many using God's name to trash it with their words and actions and live hedonistic life styles all the while. I have recently decided to accept that just because the world might misuse His teachings or twist His words, it is NOT a problem with Him, but false prophets. I also quote value logical thinking and rationality, but I made the mistake of assuming that meant I was incompatible with a faith based system, of which I am now convinced I was quite mistaken. Nice to meet you!

Nice to meet you as well! 

Glad you were able to find Christ among the Christians.  This is an ironically hard thing to do in many places.  And absolutely yes to being able to back up our beliefs with logic and facts.  Most people, however, approach such things with their confirmation bias that supernatural happenings are impossible and thus fail to weigh such facts appropriately and entirely miss what they're pointing to.  Furthermore, the Christian community by and large perpetuates a protectionist attitude around 'the outside world', in such a way that those raised in Christian families are never taught any rational defenses for their faith and end up losing the belief they had, because it was entirely based on assumption. 

I love talking to people who came to Christ as adults, as they not only share my experience but also are more likely to be able to demonstrate reasons they believe.  Plus, most of us having taken this path have nothing earthly to gain by taking this path.  At best, being Christian is considered 'not cool', and at worst, it's torture and maybe even your physical life.  I thank God that my side of the suffering is closer to the former option. 

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11 hours ago, stillseeking said:

Confirm non-membership to all exclusionary conditions for salvation.  Confirm a valid way to distinguish between influences representing God's will verses those representing very clever deceptions. 

We as believers all (purportedly) try to do these things, but we all fall short.  We believe but have doubts even so.  Therefore, no one *really* does the 'will of the Father'.  So what percentage or cut-off or other qualification defines those who are considered to *do* these things then? 

I read your links and am confused as to how they came up with the concept of the "Five wills of God"...Jesus issued far more commands than are represented in those verses, even if each one isn't explicitly prefaced with 'this is the will of God'.  In fact, we can be sure that this list is incomplete due to its omission of the great commandments (love God/love humans) and that we have trust in God. 

I pray for such answers and do not receive them.  Also, I have talked to Christians from a variety of denominations, including several pastors.  They all think they are led by the Holy Spirit, and they disagree on many things.  Logically, they can't all be following the Holy Spirit, even though they think they all are.  Logically, most of them would have to be wrong (unless God is into split personalities, which I doubt).  We see that most people, then, who think they are following the Holy Spirit are, in fact, not.  If most people are deceived into thinking they are following the Holy Spirit, when actually they are not, by what means can I reliably establish a criteria to determine whether any person, or I myself, am following an influence from the Holy Spirit or a deceiver? 

 

Good Morning StillSeeking! :) Are you a lawyer? :o

you wrote: In fact, we can be sure that this list is incomplete due to its omission of the great commandments. did I not say see my signature? They are part of every post I make regardless of topic. This list is a summary of God's will as it relates to Matthew 7:21 StillSeeking. Geeeeessssss! Picky, picky, picky!!! :rolleyes:

Here's what I'm seeing in this post. From your perspective: You can't really believe until you are "perfect" in His sight. Can't be perfect in His sight until you can be 100% positive you know His will and cannot be influenced by deception (evil). Faith comes from hearing ( and reading) the word of God, but understanding God's word requires the Holy Spirit to define it for you. Those you seek guidance from, whether just followers of Christ or those who have taken on the responsibility to teach God's word are less than perfect. How then can they be credible sources of knowing God's word? If not from fellow Christians, then from who does one get God's answers to questions. You have prayed and sought answers from God, but you come up blank. This cycle just repeats and perpetuates itself.  Yes? No?

Perfection. God has it. therefore Christ has it and the Holy spirit has it. Perfection is inherent in God. No where else will you find perfection, and certainly not in any human being. So, that is an unattainable goal by any effort you can make. God will perfect you in His time. Period, end of story on perfection.

100% positive. This will never come from the intellect, because the intellect will ALWAYS cause doubt in order to be more intellectual. At what point and about what can you ever say you are 100% positive and be honest with yourself? Not possible, because our intellect is way short on wisdom, despite how "glorified" we think it is. Intellect = self righteousness=self deception. Only faith in God's word, complete trust in His attributes, knowing when you don't know why you know, can be a 100% positive experience. Whose wisdom is greater? Yours or God's? If yours is not, then neither is any human's wisdom. Just repeating God's word on all this StillSeeking.

Other Christians as credible source of God's word. If no one is perfect, then absolutely anything anyone else tells you is potential deception and lies, no matter how well intentioned such advice is. Since I've been corresponding with you the most here, I am especially suspect of good intentions and possibly bad advice. How do you know? Is this the blind leading the blind or sound instruction? I know it's not, but you don't. How can I know? Because everything I write is scriptural supported. That's how YOU can tell the truth from the lies as well. Test what you see and hear against scripture. If it agrees with the Bible it is sound. If not it's deception. Yes, this requires effort to do, but the more you do it the easier and clearer it gets, like learning any new subject. Repetition and practice takes you from unknowing to knowing.

Prayers go unanswered. Really StillSeeking? Surely you don't expect to hear a booming voice from the sky responding to you prayers. God speaks with us constantly. So does Satan. He does it through our thoughts, impulses, little things we notice that we might otherwise ignore. Those that are good, that agree with scripture are from God. Those that tempt us into doing rash things that could have negative consequences are from the father of lies. Intuitively you know right from wrong. Even intellectually you know just be learning what God's word is. I believe ( my opinion only) that God answers your every pray, but you have established preconceived notions of how you expect to hear Him, and simply close your mind to His reply's.  Not intentionally of course and maybe even sub consciously, but if you scrutinize His replies the way you scrutinize His word then I'm sure that should be confirmation enough that you are in fact the obstacle to getting the answers you are so diligently seeking. Only you can determine if this is the case StillSeeking, and you need to do real open minded honest soul searching to find out. This you CAN be 100% SURE of; God does not ignore those who earnestly and sincerely seek Him. I can see why (my opinion) God might make it more challenging for you you since you make it more challenging for Him! :emot-nod:

Deuteronomy 4:29-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in [a]distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice 31 (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them. 

 

Romans 3:21-26 New King James Version (NKJV)

God’s Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all [a]and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 2for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified [b]freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a [c]propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

There is no 100% StillSeeking. We all are sinners made sinless through faith by the deed of Christ on the cross. Your sins are no longer yours to claim, but His. He bought them for you, You are debt free as long as, by faith, you believe. To question otherwise is to question God through Christ. When we believe, we accept salvation. When we question salvation, we are listening to Satan who wants us to call God a liar. No where in scripture can you find that God is a liar, therefore you ARE sinless and you ARE justified by faith.  Stop trying to intellectualize it, just feel it in your heart and accept it. Please!:emot-nod:

Cheers StillSeeking!:)

 

 

 

 

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