My Lesson in Discernment:
In the Wednesday night bible study that I attend, we are in the midst of a Kelly Minter study, What Love Is…the Letters of 1,2,3 John. This study is a true eye opener of how important it is for us to stay in the WORD and truly KNOW our Lord and Savior. In days such as we live in, there is much deception going on. As Christians, we need to be even more in tuned to God’s voice and his principles.
One of the lessons in this week’s study is on testing the spirits, In other words, know how to discern what is ordained by God versus adding and/or taking away from the true word of God. Also, there are those who are twisting scripture to suit the moment they are in and/or to justify their actions.
As I continued with this lesson, God revealed to me a lesson I learned the Spring of my Freshman year in college. There was this handsome young man whom I began to admire and date. He was very much a gentleman. His family was very loving and kind. Just being with him, one would think I had met my true prince charming. Yet, there was a stumbling block. He was of the Mormon faith.
When my parents found out I was dating him, they thought he was a very nice guy. Yet, when they found out he was Mormon, great concern arose. Of course I was the typical college Freshman who knew it all and was not going to listen to what my parents had to say on the issue. Not only my parents were concerned but dear friends were concerned as well. You see, though I had claimed Christ as my Lord and Savior, God was about to open my eyes to real truths versus man-made truths.
During this time period, Mom and Dad allowed me to continue to date this young man. I even went to Temple with him a couple of times. A very different experience from any other I have ever had in any other denominational church. The catch was if I went to his church he had to go to worship with me. In other words, though he was trying to influence me with his faith, I could also be an influence on him. Thus, this was my first lesson on the importance of why God says it is important for a couple to be evenly yoked.
Seeking God’s Truth
As this dating relationship continued, I sought counsel. There were days when I spent my afternoons talking with the campus chaplain. I spent many hours with my choral director whom was a very strong Christian and Christian mentor. One day while in her office, Judye shot straight with me. Her words were; “April, you are a strong Christian young lady. God has wonderful things planned for you. He has a mate that he is grooming for you.” She also stated; “God is using you right now. This is your opportunity to be His witness. I can tell this young man has been influenced by you. Don’t give up but don’t give in. Take it one day at a time. Be true to yourself, be true to God. Then, she quoted this scripture to me;
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him and he will make
your paths straight.
After that conversation with my choral director, I began to search the scriptures even more. I spent hours in the library educating myself on different belief systems. I prayed like I had never prayed before. There were walks I took by myself on campus just talking to God and asking for his direction.
Listening to God’s Voice
The Spring semester came to a close. I would be leaving college to go to Lake Junaluska, NC to work on summer staff. Lake Junaluska is a Methodist Conference center in the Smoky Mountains. A place where I had attended many youth conferences and a place where my family vacationed from time to time. The evening came when I told this young man I would be leaving and more less “enjoy your summer.” Later that evening, I prayed. I poured my heart out to God. My prayer was something like this: God, I know you have someone out there who will love me. He will exemplify Christian values. He will be strong in faith. He will love me unconditionally. And, most of all he walks in the truth of your Word. He stands on your promises.” As I fell asleep that night, I had a dream. In this dream, I was in the lobby of my dorm sitting and somewhat distraught/confused. While sitting there, someone comes up and sits beside me. This person places his arms around me and says; “not to worry. I will take care of you.” It was the most peaceful moment and my heart was more at peace than it had been in a while.
How God Answered My Prayer
A few days later, I was at Lake Junaluska moving into my summer residence. Not long after my parents had left, this young man by the name of Jim came by my room. He introduced himself and asked if my roommate and I needed help with anything. We told him we were pretty settled in and on his way he went to help others who were moving in. After he left, I got butterflies in my stomach. I told myself to shake it off and move on. Yet, the next day as I was going through the buffet line at orientation, I saw Jim walk into the room to get in line. It was at that moment that voice that told me that he would take care of me was telling me; “there is your Godly man. He is the one you are to experience life with and walk with you on your faith journey.” “But, don’t push the relationship. Let me set the pace.” I obeyed that voice and I am glad I did.
I didn’t run across the room and begin to flirt with Jim. Instead, I simply continued on with what I was doing with my new-found girl friends. In time, the opportunity would come where Jim and I would officially meet outside of his brief hello at the door when I first moved into my room.
Later in the evening, we were having staff orientation. In this orientation, we were playing a get acquainted game where when the music stopped you had to get back to back with someone. Once back to back to someone, you had to turn around and tell them something about yourself. Each time it was something like where you were from or if you could be any animal what would it be and the list goes on. Yet, the last round of the game the music stopped and I found myself back to back with Jim. The leaders told us to turn around but this time there was no question to be answered. Instead, we were told to look directly into the eyes of the person we were with and not to say a word for two minutes. The purpose of this was to bring a point home to us summer staffers. The point was we were to see inside the hearts of the people we would be serving over the summer just as Jesus sees the hearts of others. Needless to say, it was at that moment I knew that Jim was the guy God had planned for me.
Whew! Over the last couple of days, I have reflected on this chain of events. I see God’s hand in it all. As I reflect, I am thankful for the people who God had placed in my life to guide me and keep me on the right path. I am thankful that I was raised in a biblically based faith and home. I am thankful that my eyes were opened to the fact that there are people out there who can make something sound so good and so right and yet be so wrong. I am thankful that God showed me how important it is to discern and ask him for guidance/wisdom.
I share this testimony because in today’s world there is so much out there. You can google just about anything on the web and get multiple answers pro and con of what you are looking for. There are people out there that are twisting scripture to make their wrongs seem to be right. However, when it comes to salvation and God there is only one place where the real truths can be found of how to live. The place where we find real truth is in the bible. There is only one way to enter the Kingdom of God and it is through his SON who came and died for our sins. In the Gospel of John, Jesus clearly states; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. ” John 14:6
Each one of us are going to encounter false teachings. Since Jim and I have been married, we have been faced with such teachings. Yet, as we journey together we know we must trust in the LORD. We choose to not lean on our own understanding but to stand on the promises of God.
May you stand on the promises of God and lean NOT into your own understanding but trust God’s leading.