A few years ago my life was radically changed. I had always considered myself a Christian. It was the faith taught to me by my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. All the members of my family are tremendous people! All of them: caring, loving, prayerful, Sunday-go-to-meeting, grace-before-meals, believers in our Savior.
I’ve had lots of good examples on how to demonstrate faith in our Redeemer. I grew up following all of the Protestant doctrines and my belief in God was something I felt sure of, but not something that interfered with my normal life. I generally behaved well…so, okay, that isn’t true. But, I had faith! I believed! I brought out my religious beliefs every Sunday (when I remembered to go to church), and at funerals, and holiday music made me weep. I did my confirmation class and joined the church. I knew exactly where my Christianity belonged.
We are called to be a set-apart people, but I think I set apart my faith instead. I was put off by those who exclaimed “Praise the Lord!” and wore their religion on their sleeves. I thought it should be a personal thing. Getting too excited or open about it might put people off. I might lose friends or even family members if I got too ‘spiritual.’
My belief in God was in a tidy compartment that I visited on occasion. I even had the occasional burst of enthusiasm to read the Bible or attend a women’s retreat. I even spoke at them. I participated in religious skits to help folks understand things. But, I was lost and didn’t know it.
When I was about nine, I remember asking my Mom to explain why the Christians and the Jews were separated from one another? After all, I reasoned, we all worship the same God!
It was a question that she was unable to answer, and one that I ‘compartmentalized’ until just a few years ago. I remember learning that many of our traditions at Christmastime, and at Easter, were related to pagan practices. But, it had been explained, it was okay because we had our hearts on the Messiah.
I even ignored the fact that you cannot get three days and three nights from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Maybe people counted days and nights differently back then. Do you think?
Long story short, I learned that I had inherited lies and misunderstandings inside my little compartmentalized Christianity. I learned that I had compartmentalized the pagan origins of my faith into the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ category. What did it matter? We were not pagans! Surely not!
Then it became apparent that in spite of the truth that Yeshua (Jesus) is our Redeemer who died our deserved death so that we could be reconciled to Him, most of the religious doctrine I had grown up with is error. Profound error.
I learned that the lie regarding the timing of his death and resurrection should not be ‘compartmentalized’ either! If error is taught in one place, how can anyone trust anything else the church is telling us?
The first commandment given to us by the Creator is “I am YHVH, you shall have no other gods in my face!’ We were admonished to never learn the ways of the heathen nations. We were not to adopt their feasts, festivals and religious activities and say we were doing it for YHVH. He calls it an abomination!
The ‘compartmentalized’ reality that our holidays are an abomination in His sight was a huge wake-up call! Once I learned to count to three by watching Michael Rood’s teaching “The Jonah Code,” there was no turning back.
And guess what? Now my faith is no longer ‘compartmentalized!’ Learning that Torah observance is for everyone who believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has changed my life! Now every day is a day focused on the Father. I am so busy removing the leaven of traditions taught by men and eating the bread of life (Torah) that I can no longer set my belief aside as a minor part of my life. The truth has set me free from religious dogma.
Some people think that I have surrendered my freedom given by grace for a set of laws that have been done away with. Nothing could be further from the truth! The ultimate grace is found in the Torah! It is our Father’s heart. It is His definition of Love: for Him and for our Neighbors. What freedom there is in knowing HOW to please Him! I am learning how to walk in Love. Torah is the ultimate freedom from sin. I am free from walking in ways that I now know do not please our Father!
We get into trouble when we think our ideas on right and wrong are valid in His sight. We all want to compartmentalize Him. We only want Him to save us and provide for our every want and need while we continue to do as we please. But how can we put Him first in our life if we continue to reject the Feasts and Sabbath days that He gave to us? They are His! And since I am His, I will do His will.
I do not want my God to be in a box! On the contrary, I want Him to be my teacher, friend, Savior and King. He gave us His Torah so that we would know how to love a holy God. Isn’t it the ultimate favor and grace: that He communicates His expectations and His plan for the Earth and for Us?
Yeshua said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Why would we think an eternal God would change what those instructions are all about? Only a righteous, un-changing, loving Father would be so reliable that we can erect every aspect of our life upon His foundation.
He came to give us life, and abundant life! Are we supposed to wait for a voice from heaven to learn how to live in this life? If He loves us enough to die in our place, don’t you think He loves us enough to tell us what is good for us (and what things will harm us)?
I used to quip that I was disappointed when my sons were born because they didn’t come with an instruction manual. How wrong I was! We all have an instruction manual. We’ve had it all along! It is Torah!