Here is the rest of my friend Jessica’s Story Her testimony of her transformation with her relationship with God:
SO here I am with absolutely nothing to give to the Lord. No works, no good deeds, tossed aside like trash and even given the label “unredeemable” by very prestigious powerful people in the body of Christ. Because I didn’t have my own relationship with God, I didn’t trust that HE HIMSELF would speak to me, so I looked to others in my community to hear from God for me. Because of this idolatry, the words of others, especially powerful people in the body of Christ, I held their words in overly high regard. It was because I idolized these people that their words for me were more powerful and influential to me than what the Lord was saying.
When a person has no sense of their own identity and they hear something good, they can fall into pride… but if they hear something bad, they can fall into condemnation. At the time, I didn’t have a relationship with the Lord and I didn’t have my own sense of identity. I solely relied on what other people said and the list of my own spiritual works to assess my worth.
My story was pretty juicy, so, naturally, I kept hearing slanderous reports coming back to me and gossip embellishing my past sins, and even some things that never happened.
I was betrayed by people who washed their hands of me to get back in the “good graces” of leadership. Ouch, that one really hurt.
This whole thing nearly destroyed me. The things these people said… I thought Jesus was saying those things! About ME!!!! And how they rejected me… I thought JESUS was rejecting me!
Those people… they moved so powerfully in the gifts of the spirit!
I learned quite a few lessons here the hard way: Power doesn’t equal godliness. Gifts are not and indicator that someone knows God and is close to Him. I also learned the most valuable lesson of my life… STOP RELYING ON PEOPLE AND START RELYING ON CHRIST.
It was here, at my lowest point, I was finally humbled. It was here at my lowest point, with nothing but myself to give to Jesus that He was able to redeem me… with no one to rely on but Jesus, that He became reliable to me.
This whole time, in all my efforts and striving, I realized that it was my pride which was keeping me from receiving from the Lord.
My pride is why I had to strive for the gifts.
My pride was why I wanted to exalt myself over others.
My pride was why the prayer closet was a chore to me.
My pride was why the Lord turned his nose to me.
And it was the Lord in His great mercy that allowed me to be humbled.
My pride was like a huge seabird, who had built a nest over a wound in my soul. The more I fed this pride bird, the more droppings it produced, and the droppings infected the wound but also covered it up. When the Lord allowed me to be humbled, the Bird and its nest and the droppings all left at once, leaving a huge, infected, gaping hole in my soul.
I cried out to Jesus. I realized I never wanted Him for Him… I just wanted His gifts, His blessings… His stuff…
In repentance I asked:
“God, I want to want YOU more than what you can DO for me.
I want to want YOU more than I want anyone, any sin, or anything else…
I want to see my need for you, that I need YOU more than anything or anyone else….
But I can’t do this without your help…. I CANT EVEN SEE this without your help.”
After months of praying this prayer, my very salvation hanging in the balance of religious technicalities that I couldn’t meet, HE met ME.
I was moved by these lyrics to a worship song “We humbly dare to ask for… more of your glory, more of your unveiled face”
As I sang these lyrics on the floor, I felt the Lord smiling at me. His approval… it was straight up ECSTASY! His love for me…
I FELT HIM!
I KNEW in that moment that I was adopted, and I KNEW that I was His!
His smile… it wasn’t something I saw in a vision, it wasn’t something I imagined in my head, it was something that I felt in my heart! He poured his very own blood into the gaping hole in my chest where my pride used to be. His very presence became my nourishment, healing the wound and satisfying the pain with Himself. I felt Joy! I felt approval!
And what did I do to earn this approval?
Nothing. Literally nothing.
Wow. It has to be a free gift, so that no man can boast!
And a gift it is! God’s presence… its the only thing I crave, its the only thing I desire. His beautiful beautiful presence is like a radiant light that shines on my heart, exposing any and all darkness… but not in accusation, or with shame and guilt, but with LOVE.
His presence is like bread for my nourishment and wine for my satisfaction, all bringing joy… the joy that brings strength to live a godly life!
“…They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” Psalm 36:8 KJV
I became addicted to the Lord’s presence! Now, I was pursuing him for HIM and NOT for his stuff! I was pursuing the Lord to be satisfied by Him, the way a bride submits to her bridegroom!
Oh how my personality issues sorted themselves out as I became satisfied in the person God made me to be, and started learning who she was. My value was communicated by the glory of His presence, and it was determined by the cross alone, not my efforts.
In this place of ecstasy and bliss, my soul no longer reaches through the flesh to satisfy its cravings with sin or pride or idolatry… My soul is satisfied with CHRIST!
I no longer searched for approval for others, His approval was all I needed!
Living by the spirit does not mesn “I do spiritual things…” it means having our sustenance come from a spiritual place.
My soul is the middle ground between my flesh and my spirit… It is the fulcrum upon which my flesh and spirit hang in the balance… and the flesh is happily, silently, easily subdued when my soul has turned inward to the secret place within me, to my indwelling Lord to receive sustenance from the highest court in the land, where I am raised and seated in heavenly place with Christ: the spirit.
He truly is all we ever need.
My heart the ground for His righteous seed.
My Soul in Him is satisfied
No other vice can even even try
Who is this glorious beautiful one
Who took my sin, it is the Son!
He’s come to take my shame away
Replacing all my lack of faith
With hope and love and peace to stay
As long as I abide in Him
Following no other whim
The sweetest thing I’ve ever known
So effortlessly I clear this throne
Of every idol and unclean thing
For Him alone who is my King.
Setting time aside to be with Him became the biggest priority. I would steal away small moments to “go to the bathroom” or “go make a phone call” but secretly would be meeting with Him. Loving Him. Receiving His love.
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
One morning I woke up and went straight to work without seeking His beautiful face and feeling His glorious presence… I said to myself “well… just cause I can’t ‘feel Him’ doesn’t mean he’s not there…” WHAT A LIE!!!! The whole day I lacked spiritual fruit to be patient and loving with others.
On this journey of being addicted to Jesus, we more easily UNLEARN all the religious garbage and catchphrases which are widely accepted among the body of Christ. Catch phrases like “WE LIVE BY FAITH, NOT BY FEELINGS.” Guess what? THAT ISN’T IN THE BIBLE!
How is Joy received? Are YOU interested in a joy you can’t feel?
How is satisfaction received? Are you interested in a “positional” or “theological” satisfaction that isn’t TANGIBLE?
It is through the satisfaction of God’s presence that I learned how to bear true spiritual fruit, which isn’t manifesting gifts, it’s manifesting God. His character, His nature, his love. Forgiving others is not something we can do in our own strength, it’s something we do with God. Loving our enemies isn’t something we can do of our own will and confession, it has to come from God.
Worship, healings, obedience… Compassion, Joy, strength…
Everything God asks us to do must be done in tandem with Him!
When He does it through us, and for us, it is effortless and therefore cannot provoke pride! Things we expend our self efforts to attain can help us climb the ladder of pride… things we humbly receive as free gifts will cause GOD to be glorified!
So here I am, RESTING in the most freedom I’ve ever experienced, more lovesick for Jesus than I’ve ever been, becoming more confident in HIM as I submit myself to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, and what did I do to earn this?
I’ve entered into the rest!
Power was a snare to me, so in His loving kindness, as a good Father, God removed it from me temporarily because He loves ME and wants ME to grow in His Character and His Nature.
Little by little, God provides small opportunities here and there for me to move in ministry, but it’s not like before.
Now instead of being driven by my own desires of self validation, I’m moved by compassion to heal the sick, and I only move when God says to.
When I try to heal someone because “I think it’s a good idea,”or “because the Bible says so” it doesn’t work. I truly understand how important it is to do exclusively What I see the Father doing… He supplies the power, the compassion, the ASSURANCE and ability to do only what He is telling me to do, all by the Spirit.
Now instead of constantly searching for opportunities to exalt myself by exploiting Gods gifts for my own personal gain, I’m resting in Gods love, loving the person in front of me into their freedom.
Rest isn’t laziness… Rest isn’t “doing nothing for a long time” it’s more about what is going on inside your head and your heart.
Rest is trusting in Jesus for sustenance and obeying the Lord.
Its Being satisfied by him, hungering and thirsting for His nearness and desiring Him
More than anything else.
“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”
Psalms 63:1-8 NLT