2009 has been an interesting year, spiritually speaking. I have witnessed many Christians trying on new *hats*, based on how the Holy Spirit leads them. While this isn't anything new to ME, as I have witnessed many friends change spiritual directions. I'm sure my friends would confess the same to me, for those who have known me for years.
I started out as a child who's parents did not actively serve The Lord. I became a Baptist because my neighbors took me with them to church, and because my parents did not. But my Grandmother took me to her Pentecostal Church often, and I think this influenced me greatly. Later on in life, I became a Mennonite, because I found great fellowship with the denomination, and I believe they live The Word to the best of their ability. They are devoted followers of Christ and humble lovers of God. I think I am who I am based on those who helped mold me. That doesn't make anyone else who serves God differently wrong.
As an example: I have friends who started off as Catholics, but later became Mennonite. They served faithfully until they found something that apparently interested them a lot, and became Messianic. They were very much full of zest for the Messanic life, and eventually started keeping the dietary laws, and eating kosher. Last I heard from my old friend, she and her family became Jewish, and have given up any hope of Jesus as her Saviour. She openly denounced Christ as the Son of God.
I have had Baptist friends become Catholic and Penecostal friends become Lutheran. It doesn't matter to me as long as your genuinely serving God. Apparently, from all the arguing I have witnessed this year, I'm in the minority.
I have many friends who have gone down different paths for a myriad of reasons. I do not try to change their mind, or argue the differences. I try to hold steadfast to what I believe and where God has brought me. I try to be a candle on a hill in case my friends loose their way on their journey. I love them all and owe them this as a Sister in Christ. After all, I have chosen a different path myself... so who am I to judge?
Besides, the path they sojourn on isn't wrong... it is simply different. Unless it leads them, and the attention they were giving to God, to rules and restrictions that distract. I'm not here to tell them otherwise.. it isn't my job. Besides, I doubt any would listen, because they are so excited to be doing something interesting and new. What happens when the new wears off? Do they look for something new, or stay steadfast?
The truth is, (based on my experience):
Some go back to the beginning, where they started their journey and start over. Others become stifled and indifferent. Others get humble and seek God on a very child-like level. They are my favorite of all. I believe God can do so much more with a child-like heart than a willful spirit. Some do manage to make the change to a new belief system, and take to it like a duck to water!Regardless of wear the spirital road leads them, they need you to be there for them in prayer.
So, do you know someone who is journeying? Are they hiking the heavenly trails? Is it producing good fruit in their spiritual walk? Good for them. Be a supporter, not a killjoy. Try to understand why they seek this path and what good things our heavenly Father brings to them as a result.
You will see that many people attack those who walk a different path. Anything out of their own version of *normal* must be a slippery slope! Sound familiar? Those who go against the *norm* will get a heap of criticism. We need to be prayer warriors that God keeps them on his path and they don't loose their way.
I had a conversation with a dear Christian friend recently about those who believe differently than I do about things such as: dietary laws, Sabbath Keeping, headcovering, modest dress, and
Titus 2 issues, and numerous side-issues that one could argue if you had the energy.
I am not speaking of people who serve other deities, but of Christians who might put more enphasis in one area, but not so much in another. People who are not a cookie-cutter version of ourselves. People who are of different denominations, and influences.
I asked her what her opinion was of all this? She said: "Sister, there are many roads to Indiana, but there is only ONE Indiana!"
Where are you on your spiritual journey? Has God lead you to practice differently than the rest of your family and friends? Do they criticize your efforts or minimalize them, as if it shouldn't matter?
It seems we all have a spiritual roadmap. A path that we can look back on and see where God has brought us. May God lead you as you walk your own.