Back From The Wilderness

Whoever is reading this I pray that this writing encourages you to grow closer to God, and you start to seek your value and fulfillment in him, rather than anything else in this world. This is my testimony that has brought me closer to God. As I have said before, I grew up in the church and went to church almost every Sunday and Wednesday. Throughout the years, I attended all of the fun youth trips and activities that have kept me on the right path with God. I heard the gospel at least a thousand times, however, I did not fully understand it. In the past, I have struggled with fear, and I use to be afraid of telling people how they have hurt me or when I was in disagreement with them.

I held in my feelings because I was afraid of offending them, and losing their friendship or relationship. Little did I know, I was making matters worse, and it was not of God. Being so concerned of the approval and validation of others was truly exhausting. Later on, I realized that I teach people how they treat me by what I accept. By staying silent, I told that person it is okay to talk or treat me that way when it honestly bothered me. We may not always control how others treat or what they say about us, but we can control how we respond.

We should not put the opinions of what others say about us above God because he is the creator of our soul, and he defines who we are, not what people say about you. Fear is still in my life, but I don’t let it stop me anymore, as 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Also, Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” These scriptures have truly set me free. I have learned that fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real, and it no longer stops me from being the woman God created me to be. We are not made to carry the heavy burdens, anxieties, pain, fear, anger, or whatever we are struggling with on our own. As it says in 1 Peter 5:7 “casting all your care upon Him, for he cares you.”

Furthermore, over a year ago I was engaged. In my late teens, I met him on a church trip, and we started dating a little while afterward, and I was in love. However, we were pleasing ourselves more than we were honoring God with our relationship. There was one time I thought to myself, life is short and tomorrow is not promised, and if I were to pass away I’m not sure where I would go. Also, I had to ask myself the question do I want Jesus, or am I using him to get what I want. I have to admit in the past I have used God to get what I want.

At the time I did not realize the importance in asking God if this was his will for me to even be this person’s wife. It says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” I wasn’t doing that, I was seeking to do my will instead of God’s. I use to think of Jesus more as a genie, not as our Lord and Savior. It is important to know in 1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

We both believed in God, went to church together once in awhile, and treated others well. However, we were sexually immoral, and I’m sure that caused God much pain. I was putting my fiancé at the time above God and was focused on pleasing him more than God. Letting my relationship value me, instead of letting God value me. This is why it is important to know and study scripture because you could be doing something that is shameful to God without even realizing it. For it says in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.

Sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” One of my favorite rappers is Trip Lee, and this example from one of his sermons stood out to me. To summarize what he taught, let’s say for instance you go over our friend’s house and play PS4 together. Then you end up misusing and damaging his game, being completely disrespectful to his belongings because you are upset over him winning a game. Your friend would be really upset with you right? That’s how God feels when we sin willfully, using his gift to glorify us, instead of glorifying him.

Another rapper I love listening to is KB (Kevin Burgess). In one of his songs called Find Your Way, one lyric that stood out to me was “Never put God after another man or another man will become your God and God will just be another man.” Later on, God gave me the strength to let go of the relationship, because I was not growing in my faith. I was so angry, disappointed, and sad. It took me a long time to finally be at peace with everything. As I learned in a sermon by Jerry Flowers he taught that the person who broke you is not going to come back and fix you. Also stating that it may not be your fault for what happened, but it is our responsibility to heal properly.

The reason why I felt pain from the break up for so long is because I was sitting there waiting for him to own up to what he did, and desiring more closer and a further explanation when he’s not obligated to do so. At the time, I desired more closer than giving my cares to the Lord for him to take care of. Today I am more content, and I realized my value and worth does come from a relationship, but from God. I study scripture more and read bible devotionals every day. Also, I talk to God more as a friend than a dictator, and I hope whoever reads this does the same.

The whole experience taught me that you can go to church every week, participate in all the youth events, give back to the homeless, be nice to people, etc, and still unfortunately, go to that horrible place called hell. Good does not get you to heaven, the only way to heaven is Jesus. Through his righteousness, you are made right with God. For it says in Mark 10:18 “So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good, no one is good, but One, that is God.” Our standard of good and God’s standard of good is totally different! We can never reach that standard, that’s why he sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sins. Your works does not get you to heaven only having faith in Jesus does, he is the only way.

We are so loved by God and we were made by him and for his purpose. Not vice versa. He loved us so much that he gave his one and only son Jesus to die for us, so we don’t have to go to that horrible place after we die. We didn’t deserve this, for the wages of sin is death. But Jesus loved us so much that he laid the sins of us all to keep us out of hell. Through faith we are saved by his grace not by works, he gave us the gift of salvation. For it is written in Ephesians 2:8-9 “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take the credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Also in 2 Timothy 1:9 “He has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,”

It is also important not to satisfy your sinful nature but to use your freedom to serve one another in love as it is written in Galatian 5:13. We are made in God’s image, we are humans that will never be perfect, but we should strive to live a life that honors Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life no one gets to the Father except through him as it is written in John 14:6. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life as it says in John 3:16. Whoever is reading this, I pray that you grow closer to God and decide to give your life to Jesus.

Remember you do not have to clean yourself up first in order to go to him, just surrender to him and admit that you are a sinner and you can’t do this without him. It’s a relationship, not a religion. Again you are so loved by God and he does not hate you, he hates sin, and he can set you free if you let him help you. God will heal your brokenness and pull you out of the wilderness just like he did for me. God’s grace and mercy are so much bigger than your mistakes. For it is written in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Have a blessed day or night.

Background- What’s up I’m Bri! I was born and raised in Georgia, and had a great childhood. I grew up playing soccer, dancing, swimming, and participating in the youth events at church. Even though I had my ups and downs with them, I couldn’t ask for better parents, siblings, friends, and a beautiful church family. Growing up in a Christian household has been a blessing, because my family has led me in the right direction in life. My family and I aren’t perfect, and we did not always treat each other in a way that was pleasing to God, but we have learned from it, and became a stronger team.

Written by Brianna Michaela Parris

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