It was in the year 2000, I was sitting in a New Order Amish Church during the meal following the meeting when a former Amish man asked me “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life; what is it that makes it narrow?” While fumbling with a lot of words speaking of devotion, good works, etc. describing what a Christian ought to look like, he continued to nod his head “no” at me. Exasperated, I finally said “I am ready to be instructed; what is it that makes it narrow?”. He answered in a single word – “faith”.
With that single word, God’s truth came flooding into my being. I had been heretofore struggling with what I now call my “Mennonite phase”. That single word “faith” was the answer to all my questions. Questions that I had had for many years following my new birth as a follower of Jesus Christ. Now, these questions hadn’t immediately followed my conversion. Rather, they crept up after learning the ways of modern Christianity. Many Christians today have these same questions. Questions like, should a Christian have worldly possessions or riches? Should he eschew all the trappings of modern life in America? How much (possessions or wealth) is too much?
These questions would surface from time to time. Because I could never find answers to them, I would push them back in my mind until they surfaced again. As the years passed, I became more and more disillusioned with evangelical Christianity in America. The worldliness of today’s churches became more and more irreconcilable with the teachings of Christ and the Bible. This process came to a head when I met another Christian in the process of converting to become a Mennonite. Never having encountered this particular sect, with its plain dress, shunning of worldly goods and riches, and devotion to Christ and his teachings, it came as the answer to those questions that had been nagging me. Desiring to flee the “riches of Babylon”, I moved my family from the city to the backwoods of Kentucky. While not moving to join any of the “plain people”, I wanted to live simply, in accord with Christ’s teachings and live amongst them.
The community to which we moved contained a devout Mennonite sect. They dressed plainly, were very evangelical, and lived simply. We attended one of their meetings, visited with some of them extensively, but something just didn’t seem right. We didn’t pursue them any further. About the same time, we discovered a new order Amish group some distance away. They weren’t as austere in their ways, and I could sense the love of Christ in some of them. However, they didn’t drive cars and thus were too far for us to join.
We continued to struggle with these unanswered questions. God began to speak to me however. He reminded me of Martin Luther’s discovery when he found Christ at last. Martin Luther who is famous for igniting the reformation across Europe was a Catholic priest who was very serious about following Christ. Intensely aware of his sin and unworthiness to stand before God, he lived a live of austerity, and often flogged himself to atone for his sins. He even crawled up the hundreds of steps leading to the Vatican, pausing at each one to kiss it. It was during this ordeal, the Holy Spirit would bring to mind the words “the just shall live by faith”. My struggle with the same issues as Martin Luther did began to become resolved when God reminded me of that same teaching. It came to a head as I related these thoughts to that former Amish man, and he asked me that question. With his answer, I finally understood all that God desired of me.
In the years since that time, I have finally been at peace with God. Never again, have I doubted God’s love, nor questioned if my life was pleasing to Him. I know it is. While I daily experience the incredible liberty in Christ, neither do I desire to lapse into the worldliness that plague most evangelicals today. Unfortunately, I continue to encounter Christians who travel the same road I have, but instead of coming to rest in Christ, depart into one of the many religions of men.
The pattern is the same for them all. Dissatisfied with “fast food Christianity” exemplified in popular denominations, mega-churches, and other “user-friendly” churches, they search for alternatives – ones with some measure of distinctiveness from the rest of the world. Some are attracted to the Anabaptists as I was, many begin to “keep the Sabbath (on Saturday)”, keep the Jewish holidays, even attempt to keep the law of Moses. Others attempt to shun worldly possessions, dragging their entire families into the pit as they vainly attempt to live a life pleasing to God.
There is only one way to please God – faith in Jesus Christ. We were alienated from God through Adam’s unbelief. Therefore, our reconciliation must be by believing. We must believe not only that God exists, but that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb 11:6). There is no other way to peace with God. The ministry of Micah68 is to call people over the world to abandon their religions and be reconciled with God through Jesus Christ by faith. Enmity with God is what drives the internal struggle within man. Only by making peace with Him can we be at peace. You can only make peace with Him by faith. You must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He is a rewarder of those who follow him.
Won’t you join us today in making your peace with God?
I struggle to have this faith. I was raised in the church. I believe in God, but I struggle with falling back into His arms. I have a pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality that screams “get yourself together.” I try, and I will keep trying, but I have the overwhelming feeling that I am failing.
Nicely said, thank you for sharing.