Are You or Are You Not?
It’s the first Sunday of March 2018 and I’m reminded of Easter fast approaching. As I got out of my car and walked towards the church I crossed the parking lot and heard something inside my Spirit whisper, “You know it’s not enough to just go to church.” Fully having a conversation with God in my head I responded, “I know. Why are you telling me this?” The only response I heard was “Do people in your circle understand this?” And then I knew, this month’s article is going to be a struggle to write. God literally revealed this entire article while sitting in Church and even while listening to my Pastor preach, I received my confirmation.
I’m tempted to provide a disclaimer apologizing in advance for my words, but I cannot. I know the truth and what I’m about to reveal is where I embarrassingly found myself a few years ago. This is difficult to write because it will expose my own spiritual faults, but at the same time it’s required in order to expose freedom and liberty to live wholly for God.
Going to church does not make you a Christian. Let me set the scene: it’s Sunday morning and you’re about to complete the same routine you’ve known perhaps since you were a child. It’s not an obligation rather a mandate, that for the first few hours of your morning you are to present yourself in the House of God. It’s how you were raised: with morals and values. This routine has become your due diligence to God. It does not represent pure motive or desire, rather just mundane actions because it’s Sunday. You move to the closet and you find your Sunday-Best to ensure you look and smell fresh for God. You put a big smile on your face walking towards the church doors with Bible in hand, the very Bible you open only on a Sunday morning all while feeling proud of yourself that you can even find the book of Habakkuk when the Pastor refers to it. The service starts and you permit yourself to tap in deep enough to engage in worship; maybe you’ve received a few deposits from the sermon enough to make you feel tingly inside, but that’s where it ends. Sunday afternoon gets started and perhaps there is even a little reminisce of how improvements can be made in your life, but action is not taken. The new week starts and you’re into regular routine until Sunday comes again. Excuse me for being so blunt, but You’re Not A Christian.
Who does this woman think she is? My name is Rebekah Ruth, my name means captivating friend, and I would like to captivate you with my testimony and lend you insight as a friend, so that you don’t follow in my footsteps.
In life there are going to be storms. I heard Pastor Patty Miller speak at a conference recently and she said it perfectly: “In life we are either in a storm, coming out of a storm or about to enter into a storm.” Which is proof that attending church on a Sunday is not enough to sustain us through any of these phases. I believe the primary reason we see Christians give up on God so easily is because they have forgotten the warning in Matthew 7:24-25 that says, “Build your life on the strong foundation” and not on quick sand.
I’m reminded of where I found myself two years ago. After a traumatic break-up my family thought I should join them on a family vacation to Mexico. Knowing that I love the beach and consider myself a sun-goddess in all its glory, a distraction would prove well since I find rest in tropical environments. My family meant for good, but let me quickly digress with this caption: If anyone is going through a break-up and is asked to go on holidays in the summer months at a gorgeous resort where wedding season is in high peak- think twice! It was honestly the worst 2 weeks of my life. Thankfully I can laugh about it now. Anyway, the third day into the trip I took a walk alone on the beach and hid behind my sunglasses because my eyes were blood shot not from the sun or sand, but from crying so much. I stood in front of the ocean and the waves crashed at my feet. As I looked down I saw myself sinking into the sand. The tide was pulling me deeper into the ocean until I couldn’t see my feet anymore. As I took steps back I was overwhelmed with grief and I heard God say, “Rebekah this last year you moved too far from me and you’ve been building your house on quicksand. This is not what I want for you.” I shook in disbelief. How did I get here? How did I get to this point in my life where the storm was so dangerous that I spiritually had lost my way? And then I heard again: “You became comfortable and when that happens you’re susceptible to temptation. In this place you shrink back instead of forward.” My favorite verse Jeremiah 29:11 rang through my head and the promises of God on my life started to flood over me. With no one around I cried out to God repenting and rededicating my life to be built on solid ground. I vowed that day never to let myself get entrenched with routine or my comfort zone because believe it or not, the Bible warns in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-7 “stay away from any Christian who spends his days in laziness”.
Readers here is the truth, you can attend church without feeling the move of God, you can attend church without experiencing spiritual and physical healing, you can attend church without fully receiving all that God has reserved for the Body of Christ and it is this very reason why God warns “Wake up Oh Sleeper”. Rebekah how did you get to that place? I became lazy. I’m not sure at what point it happened, but I certainly know that I stopped growing spiritually. I wasn’t dedicated to my devotions, I wasn’t dedicated to reading the word of God and I wasn’t dedicated to my prayer life. I take full responsibility, and also know that because of some people I had in my life at the time, it only provoked me further into complacency. It is at this very stage that we become perfect targets to the enemy. My guard was down and I also was not suited up in the armor of God in mind, body or spirit. It is only by grace and God’s love for us that He will help us climb out of despair. And I promise, when you call upon the name of the Lord, He will help you. That day on the beach was the beginning of God’s process to break off the old Rebekah and bring forth a “new thing”.
There are still days that I look back and think if it was not for the grace of God, if it was not for the foundation of having experience the power of the Holy Spirit in my life at an early age, if it was not for the promises of God’s word that built a firm foundation in my life at an early age, if it was not for the supernatural power of God’s physical healing in my life at an early age, If it was not for the miracles I have seen in my family and friends, if it was not for the manifestation of God’s supernatural power that I have witnessed, I can honestly say, I don’t know if I would have made it through some of the storms in my life. Going to church on a Sunday would not have been enough!
There will be times of trial and testing. God will test the motivation of your heart and He will test your level of faith in Him. What if you lose your job, a loved one, your spouse loses his/her job, you have a significant family crisis, your company goes bankrupt, your ministry falters, etc. What if these things happen? Will you look up to the heavens and condemn God? Will you run? Eh! You cannot run from God by the way.
My goodness! There have been storms that I have walked through that should have made me so angry and bitter towards God. There have been lows that brought me to points of depression and fear. There have been trials where I almost lost half my family to a tragic accident in Africa. The devil is going to run after you hard because his main purpose in life is to “Steal, Kill and Destroy”. Steal what? Satan will: steal joy, steal happiness, steal blessings, and steal pleasure! Be aware of things: people, earthly pleasures, and fleshly desires that will cause you to be complacent or shrink back. Kingdom living is not a means to shrink back. Anytime you find yourself doing this- you’re bait.
When the storms come embrace them. I can look back now and say that I am displeased with the woman I once was, but I will never be again. When I made a vow to God that day on the beach He also told me that he needed to refashion me. He needed to break away every part of me and rebuild from scratch. It hurt really bad. I speak now and tell people that God literally burst the bubble that was around me. The process of being refined like pure Gold takes time and patience. The process of spiritual and physical healing is not something that can be rushed; however, when the work is complete you’ll know without a doubt that no matter how hard the waves may crash against your house, you will not fall because you have learned to build your house on solid ground. This is perhaps one significant piece of my testimony that I can pass on to my future children because I also vowed that “For me and my house we will serve the Lord”. And going to church on a Sunday is not enough for me to teach my children how to face the storms in life.