To help you understand my spiritual perspective of things, let me share my journey of faith. I am Apostolic by doctrine, Pentecostal by experience. I primarily read the KJV and ESV bibles. The foundation of my spirituality was everything against God. When I was really young, I remember not wanting to have anything to do with God or churches. I was still in elementary school. I would hate it when my mom took me to the Catholic Church on Sundays. I would even say crazy things against God during mass. I continued to be against the things of God well into my teenage years. Then when I was 14, I became born again. Someone once wrote me a letter where they recalled how I became born again. Here is an excerpt:
I'd like for us to go back to the time God gave you the Holy Ghost. You entered into a small building, not really knowing what to expect, but knowing that there was something in store for you. The voice of your brother still echoes in my mind when he would talk about you; and the excitement that would burst right through his being, just knowing that his little sisters were standing during worship, his praise towards God became more intimate. As the preaching came forth, sitting in unpadded pews, your heart was more than open to receive the word of the Lord.
By the time altar call came, you stood in the front row as you and I embraced in the presence of the Lord. I will never forget that feeling. As I hugged you, a burden for you in me was born. And as we prayed together, tears streamed out of my eyes. It felt like streams of tears flowed from above into my eyes and into yours. We wept yet still embraced, and suddenly, your weeping became deeper as the Lord was infiltrating your being with His Spirit.
You began to speak in tongues as the spirit gave you utterance. In victory did we lift our hands to worship the Lord; you speaking in tongues, and I lifting my voice in praise. Your brother came short moments after and embraced you. You both wept. I stood back and saw you both crying your hearts out. It touched me deeply. His tears were a combination of relief, joy, and gratitude towards God; knowing that you were on your way to eternal life.
This event became a strength and encouragement to him. It became a privilege and joyous burden to me. I know neither of us are moms, but can you imagine the intensity of the joy they feel when their babies are born (after all the pain of course)? When God filled you with His Spirit, you were born of the spirit.
I know I'm not a mom, but I was able to relate to one in terms of joy and compassion. Just watching any baby being born or seeing them after their born brings a warm joy. I was there when you were born (of the water and of the spirit), and so, to me it’s not easy to think or pray about you.
That was one of the most beautiful experiences of my entire life. I had never known such peace before. Before this event, I was still as defiant and rebellious as I was in my elementary days. All it took was an instant message conversation on the Internet when I was 14 to change my mind. I remember an instant message popped up from someone wanting to chat with my brother. They assumed I was him. I responded, trying to explain that he was not home at the time, but the man on the other end insisted.
The conversation took a turn when he mentioned that he knew about what happened to me as a little girl. That scared and shocked me. I understood what he was talking about, but could not figure out how he knew. No one knew. I assumed he was psychic. He got my full attention, and once he did, he warned and instructed me to stick by my brother's side and follow him. If I didn’t, my life would be cursed. That’s when I was convinced he was a messenger from God. From that day on, I learned as much as possible from my brother and supported his ministry the best that I could. My brother is now a pastor.
Throughout the years since then, I have struggled so much between two opposing ways of life. I have spent more time serving myself and the world than I have serving God. Despite having made the commitment at age 14, I have not been faithful to God. I can't quite figure out why I struggle so much, but I gave up trying to long ago. I've realized that there is no point in seeking the logic behind it. I’m better off focusing on and working towards the goal of doing as much as I can for God.
I have my doctrinal beliefs according to my faith, but I don't live by them as I feel I should. Despite that, my understanding of the Bible is stronger than my ability to live a holy life. I can discuss or debate nearly every issue in the Bible because I have enjoyed studying it so much. Yet, when it comes to applying it to my life, I find it difficult. I still sin, and sometimes don't repent. I still pray, but not as faithfully as I once did. I’m aware of my possibly going to hell, but something within me keeps me from living the life I know God wants for me. I hope to eventually be victorious and conquer my demons.
No one can convince me that what I believe about God and the Bible is untrue. Even with what I know about what will come to pass in the future, I still can't seem to be discouraged from living my life against the will of God. I struggle a lot because of my own personal demons, and sometimes it feels like they are winning. I thought I was done struggling long ago, but the struggle is supposed to be endless. Otherwise, what would be there to fight for? I believe that the greater I struggle, the greater I become.