For everyone who lives on milk is [doctrinally inexperienced and] unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a spiritual infant. Hebrews 5:13(AMP)
My Ordinary Story
My testimony is pretty ordinary. I didn't have to overcome drug addictions, or homelessness, or alcoholism, or any other sort of devastating life-changing choices or life circumstances. I led a pretty average and normal life. I taught for a few years in the public schools. In 1998, I decided to stay home and homeschool. I participated in church groups, secular groups, I taught in the Children's Ministry when we lived in Colorado. We had church groups at our home. I was able to drive back to New Mexico when I wanted to visit my family. It looked like I was "living the life." And for the most part I was. Staying home was a sacrifice. Hardest job I ever had. I was happy, I never regretted my choice to stop working and stay home. However, I was miserable and a little lost because of the choices I was making in regards to every day living.
In the fall of 1997, I convinced my husband, to go to Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque in New Mexico. We went. We enjoyed it and that fall we both gave our lives to Christ. I was so excited and on fire for the things of God! We made a commitment to attend church and I started reading the Bible! I grew up in the Catholic Church but was never encouraged to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
And then life happened....
More children were born, we moved several times, the stresses of life and homeschooling (I started staying home to homeschool in 1998), I didn't attend church as regularly, I rarely attended Bible Studies - who could with four children! The effort wasn't worth it to me. My Bible saw less and less of me and I was living an unsatisfying life. I felt as if I was just going through the motions.
Life went on....
After sixteen years of giving my life to Christ, I was still just as unsatisfied and miserable. My husband nor my children could fill this hole within me. They were not the problem. I was not miserable and unsatisfied 24/7 365 days, but I felt I was getting nowhere. I would have the same problems over and over again. I would have the same issues with the same people over and over again. I would sit in church and listen to the sermons for years and think to myself, “My husband needs this sermon. My sister needs this sermon. Oh! So and so needs this sermon.” I didn’t even want to look at myself.
Have you done that?
In the spring of 2013, I was sitting in church reading the announcements and I saw a class being offered at church on Monday Nights called Step By Step. I didn't read the description, I was just looking at how well this class fit in with my middle-school son's youth group night. It was on the same night, same time, and the same location! I thought I will give it a try! My oldest daughter was old enough to babysit her two other siblings if my husband had to be out of town. He traveled a lot for work back then. So the next day, me and my son headed to Calvary of Albuquerque so he could attend the middle school youth group and I could attend the Step By Step class.
As I entered the building, in which the Step By Step Class was held, I had a wonderful calming sensation sweep over me. There were no bells and whistles, so to speak, there were no fancy table cloths, no table center pieces, no refreshments, nothing on the walls, no streamers, no people dressed up in the in the latest styles. It was just a room with chairs and tables. The volunteers were busy at tables signing in participants and they looked like nothing I had ever seen before at Bible Studies. They looked like ordinary people! Most of the women volunteers had grey hair and looked like grandmas! They did not have holes in their jeans (as this was the latest style back then). They didn't have matching accessories on, either! The men volunteers looked gentle and also like grandparents. I was strangely attracted to this.
Being from a family of six with one income, I asked a gentleman volunteer if I could sit in on the first lesson and to see if this class was for me. I didn't want to waste $35.00 on a Bible Study if it wasn't. He said, as he gently put his hand on my shoulder, "Sure! You're gonna love it!"
Within fifteen minutes of the class, tears were making their way down my checks and I knew this was where I suppose to be and this is what I was needing. I had no clue, at this point, what topics were going to be covered in this fifteen week course but I was committed. I knew that this was the answer to the something I was looking for. I knew this class was going to teach me HOW TO.
HOW TO overcome the temptation to sin. I had never been taught that. I had been taught to "Pray about it", "Be still", "Trust in the Lord", "Let Him be your strength", and "Pray about it some more." BUT I was never taught HOW TO do those things!
HOW TO stop sinning in my anger. HOW TO stop being unforgiving, unloving, unsubmissive HOW TO stop provoking my children HOW TO stop responding in ungodly ways in my fear, worry, stress, depression.
No one was teaching the HOW! Praying alone did not work for me because I was not "doing".
This Step-By-Step Self-Confrontation class helped me function in that new creation that happened when I gave my life to Christ. The new creation talked about in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awaking brings new life."
Self-examining helped me realize what DOING the will of God means. And I hadn't been doing it! And that is why I was unsatisfied, not growing, and not being used by God with the gift He gave me. When I learned to put a few Biblical Principles into practice, I experienced His supernatural powers! All those reoccurring problems in my life that caused me such agony before, were banished with my practicing righteousness!! I learned HOW TO put the deeds of the flesh to death by the Spirit!!! "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-not to live according to the flesh. for if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:12-13
Functioning in His Spirit is living!
After that Step By Step class, I was invited to attend the Biblical Counseling class the next semester. I did and passed that class as well. As I was waiting to be called to start counseling at Calvary of Albuquerque, the teachers in the Step By Step class asked if I would be interested in volunteering as a Discipler in that class the following semester. I jumped at the opportunity to serve in a class that taught me so much! I served as a Discipler there for about a semester when I was asked if I wanted to teach a lesson. There was no need to pray about it for the Lord had already put that desire in my heart. The first topic I taught was on Satan. Even before I taught it to the class, I knew this was what I was made and gifted for. It was at this time that HE put a calling on my life. I was to write a Bible Study and take it to others in their homes and churches. In the summer of 2016, He gave me the Flesh&Spirit Bible Study and since that time, I have been teaching HOW TO overcome the temptation to sin to others.
I can also guess that if you haven't been living, you too, haven't been doing what God commands of you.
Let me show you how the Lord showed me. I can show you through the Flesh&Spirit Bible Study.
I am not ashamed to say, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1