Hell, fire, and brimstone. That’s what I was taught. God is an angry God, full of wrath, ready strike you down if you step outside of His rules. Rules, rules, and more rules, but no power to live by them.
Jesus was painted an anemic, pitiful man…weak. And behind closed doors he may hurt you. Holy Spirit was the enemy, because of course if you were filled with Holy Spirit and spoke in new languages, then you were of the devil.
I know I paint a twisted picture. But in my world, growing up almost everything was. Then I met Holy Spirit as a teenager and He gently and methodically began untwisting my mess. I am 47, and He is still working those lies out of me.
In 2 Tim 3:5, it talks about people who say they are Christ followers, who have a form of godliness, but they deny it’s power. Many churches would fit this description today. It goes on to say, to run from such people. Have nothing to do with them.
The truth is there is a heaven and there is a hell. In fact, most modern day churches swing to the other side, not mentioning hell, because they don’t want to offend anyone. Jesus walked the earth as perfect love, and yet He spoke of hell more than heaven. Why? Because He knows the reality of the place, and He loves His creation, so He didn’t want them to die and be tortured there forever. That’s true love. He came to be the payment for our mess, so we wouldn’t have to pay the price of eternal punishment. That’s love. He actually did make a public display of the enemy in hell, by taking the keys of hell, death, and the grave away from him. That’s love. He now offers a life full of power, life, and light. That’s love.
There really are angels, demons, heaven, hell. There really is a loving, all good Father. Jesus is all powerful, strong, a gentle, kind King. And Holy Spirit is a comforter, friend, and awesome teacher. We really do have to come to Jesus to redeem us from our mess. He is the door to heaven. And if you don’t come through that door, you will pay an eternal price that will not be fun to pay. And you really will stand before Him one day, whether you like it or not.
I have found that just because the church has offered a powerless, weak religion, that doesn’t change the fact that people are wired to seek the supernatural. They want something real, and so they begin to open themselves up to other power sources, which is spiritual darkness. They think playing with it some won’t hurt anyone. So they dabble, and get sucked into a black hole. The hole is very deep, my friend. But not so deep your loving father can’t save you.
Now I’m aware most reading this have been taught the Bible on some level, and this is very different from my normal writing. But I’ve seen too much of the kingdom of light now. I know who has the real power. I have the scars from a worthless, lie-filled religious system. I love people and don’t want them to suffer eternal hell. I long for the church to rise up and to surpass her former glory.
In saying this, I am not trying to pass judgement on the church, nor am I saying every church is like this. I go to a church that I love. What I’m talking about is the church as a religious institution. He is coming back for a bride that is pure and holy, and in love with Him. I believe this is where He is taking His body as a whole. He loves us and won’t leave us stuck in our messes, if we will let Him help us out.
I sat in a classroom of churched kids yesterday who only wanted to talk about the powers of darkness. My heart aches for them to know the truth in love. My heart aches for them to know what the real power of love looks like, what a real relationship with love looks like. God is love. Darkness will produce death. Light will produce life. And there’s no counterfeit that comes close to Him.
“having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 2 Timothy 3:5 NIV