Jumping at Shadows

Texas, I believe there is one place in Texas, where they haven’t had a rain for three years. And just think of that. Now, all this is bound to speak of something. It’s just can’t be, just say, “Well, it’s just a coincidence. It just merely happened that way or just to be.” I don’t believe that. I believe that everything has to move according to God’s will for it to move. And now these things are for a purpose.

53-1018 – Elijah – William Marrion Branham

I’ve spoken before about the level of spiritualism I was raised to believe in. From a stalled car being The Devil trying to steal my victory to the traffic delay being God keeping me from some accident. Most would laugh at these things, like clamoring about seeing Christ on their toast. For us in the Message however, we saw a constant tugging at our souls in these ‘coincidences.’ When you’re taught that the demons and angels are constantly at war around you, that stray thoughts or doubts can make the difference in our salvation, you don’t laugh; it becomes a very serious matter. Growing a goatee almost cost me my class, as facial hair was a spirit of a sex symbol working through me. The pastor’s choice of topics showed what God had found the church backsliding in that week. It quickly becomes a mental state to see everything as the direct action of an angry God of justice or a benevolent God of blessings.

I remember the self-deprecating checklists I would go through when my car wouldn’t start. Had I paid my tithes? Had I missed a service at church when I could have made it? Had I doubted something? Instead of wondering about the very real mechanical issues going on, I had been conditioned to look at myself trying to weed out anything the church didn’t approve of. Even my own father, when he was called for a meeting with our pastor, would ask me and double check that there was nothing in my life that he needed to know before meeting with our spiritual leader. This ignorance of the real world issues while focusing on the self-created issues will be a pattern to notice as we continue this lesson.

I often wonder how I could have ever believed it all. So I want to use the next few lessons to show how when improperly balanced, we can distort scriptures and quotes to create a literal fear of God instead of a reverence for his love. Scriptures I now know to be uplifting and reassuring were once filled with judgement and condemnation. Learning to find that balance really did make the Bible into a new book, and walking away from the overactive spiritualism has changed everything in my walk with Christ.

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