Revelation 12:11 gives a twofold method for overcoming the accuser (satan): 1) by the blood of the Lamb, and 2) by the word of our testimony. More than once, I’ve heard people share stories of how God has worked in their lives, and it has been an encouragement to me. Just this week, I used my testimony to be an encouragement to a brother in the church. While I don’t normally talk about myself in this column, I’m going to share my testimony, realizing that I’m not really talking about myself; I’m talking about God and what he has done for me.
For many years, I was in the thick of new age thinking. I thought Christians were stupid, and most Christians probably would have considered me as someone who has beyond capable of being saved. I was a paid tarot card reader, attended séances and witchcraft circles, took courses in psychic reading, and more, all of course with a sincere good heart that this was leading me to the truth of the universal intelligence. Then around 1995, my mother came to visit me. She saw my framed puzzle of a wizard with sparks coming off his fingertips, and told me that was satan worship, which I sort of laughed off as preposterous. She said that she was going to pray for me. I told her that I welcomed her prayers, but that I wanted her to pray that I came to believe truth, and not that I came to believe what she believed. Then it dawned on me that I could also pray for truth on my own, and I began doing so.
Around that same time I attended some political meetings focused on the slide our country was taking toward losing our sovereignty, during which they kept making reference to various prophecies in the book of Revelation. I decided to buy a Bible and read Revelation. Of course, I didn’t understand most of it, but I kept praying for truth. I was impressed to go to church on the first weekend of January 1996, so I started with a little Baptist church less than a block from my home. To my great surprise, their singing of The Old Rugged Cross as I entered the sanctuary brought me to a flood of tears and an impression that this was the truth I was praying for. I immediately made two realizations: 1) I had to admit conclusively that, based on the evidence of my years in the new age movement, I was not able to discern truth on my own, and 2) that I was going to read Scripture with the mindset that everything I read in it was truth that I was going to follow, even if I’m the only person on the planet doing so. In the years that have followed, I have been grateful for my previous error, as I see now that it put me on a firmer foundation for seeking truth.
Within a matter of months of reading Scripture, I knew that I wanted to start keeping the 7th day Sabbath. I attended the local Adventist church (at the time I was living in Bakersfield, CA) for nearly a year when an evangelist came to present a month long prophecy seminar. I was grateful for all of the truth I was learning and following. Might I also say that I let God know by my actions that I was going to walk in every bit of light that he showed me, no matter the cost. I had discarded a small library of pagan books and related items, some fairly valuable, when I was baptized. I walked away from one of my busiest business days when I began keeping Sabbath. But then somewhere in all of this, I became your typical, lulled-to-sleep Christian, thinking that I had all truth, there was no more truth. So I stopped praying for truth. But Revelation 3:17 tells us that instead we are wretched, naked, blind and poor when in that state.
What shook me out of my dozing was that a friend told me about an annual Sabbathkeeping group not far from my home, and I started attending their camp meetings. I really kicked myself that I didn’t also see the annual Sabbaths on my own from Scripture, since it is as clear as can be. Not only does God call them “my feasts” in Leviticus 23, but we see them as the example of Jesus, the example of the disciples and the Holy Spirit post resurrection at Pentecost, the example of Paul throughout the book of Acts, along with references to them elsewhere. Somehow I had swallowed another one of satan’s counterfeits in thinking that his pagan winter solstice and spring equinox sun-worship days had anything to do with Christianity. I then had to admit yet again that I could not discern truth on my own, and now know that praying for truth is a lifetime, not a temporary, pursuit. Since beginning to honor all of God’s Sabbaths, I have again been lifted to a much higher level of light and truth. At each step (Christianity, then Sabbath-keeping, then Feast Keeping) I have taken quantum leaps in my walk with God. He continues to work in my life on a regular basis, although I’ve run out of room for sharing specific recent examples.
God will honor those who honor him. His way is ALWAYS better. May my story encourage you to pray for - and follow - truth, no matter the cost.