Okay, where was I. . . .
Yeah, so I'm just saying, I commiserate with the binge/purge cycle. Also the searching for an answer, THE answer to the "why" of this life. I never really had any doubt that there was some sort of answer as I deduced that the very drive, compulsion, desire etc. to FIND an answer implied that there was an answer to be found. I early on realized that the longings for meaning and purpose were of a transcendent, spiritual nature. Purely physical chemical reactions, matter and energy would not "seek" meaning. Plus, also early on I had what I knew to be undeniably "spiritual" . . . or "supernatural" experiences that "told" me there was something to all of this and that it was worth searching out.
I remember one of many times especially being in that exasperated state begging God to reveal Himself to me. I was on my grandfather's ranch near Pike's Peak Colorado . . . alone, riding a fine horse far up into the mountains. I took the horse to a grove of scrub oak, dismounted and went in to pray. By the end of my beseeching I was swinging a stick at the trees, screaming at the sky, near tears, saying, "GOD! Please show me the way! Reveal Yourself to me and I will wholly dedicate my life to You! I believe in You but I can't find You! I beg You to show me what is that "way" to go?!"
And then . . . silence. Just more silence. No answer. . . .
Discouraged, I got back on the horse and carried on, frustrated . . . and like you have expressed, gave up the search for a while, exhausted and a bit angry. . . .
Sometimes . . . now and again . . . I get well-meaning acquaintances or commenters . . . who, seeing my current beliefs and promotions (as being a classic, traditional Bible-believing, Reformed/Protestant Born Again Christian) warn me to beware of "religion" . . . "churches" . . . "the teachings of men" and they will offer me some alternative interpretations or "esoteric" doctrines that are suppose to be what it's REALLY all about . . . as if I have somehow just bumbled into some shallow "Christian" belief system and need to go a bit deeper to get the REAL truth. . . .
And what is always the case is that I'm treated to "esoteric" theories and occult doctrine that I was well steeped in, experienced deeply and fleshed out by the time I was about 17 years old. I recite this brief spiritual journey history to reiterate once again, "been there, done it." And NOT just casually. I even at times ran with demons. I astral projected. I could read minds, see the future, control minds, manage extreme control over my "energy" and body through intense spiritual practices. I've BEEN a gnostic, and pretty hard core one at that~! I was 15 years old, for instance, when I was learning about the gnostic teaching that "Jesus" or "the Christ" is really an "office" or "station." That "Jesus" was not necessarily special as an individual--but that the being who we know as "Jesus" was simply a "master" . . . an "avatar" who had achieved the "Christ" level of spiritual attainment. I WAS 15 WHEN I ENCOUNTERED AND FLESHED OUT THAT So-Called "ESOTERIC" TEACHING!
I have never been a "follower" and have never been inclined to just swallow what some guru, some church, some "religion" attempted to foist on me. I've always been a critical thinker, analyzing, testing, studying. I'm not boasting--it is just a fact--that I have been more intense and committed to the search for The Truth than anybody I've yet to meet. I know there are others who've likewise gone to the brinks . . . I've read about them . . . but I really haven't met anyone personally who has spent the time and effort I have investigating every nook and cranny of the spiritual and philosophical landscape as deeply as I have. And I only mention that to emphasize that I have not been tricked by "the church"; I have not been casually entrapped by the "teachings of men"; I am not someone who has EVER been unthinkingly enticed or deluded by "man-made religion" where I just went along with some set of beliefs merely because a bunch of other people believed and taught them as "true."
Like I say, what passes these days for "secret knowledge" . . . or "inner teaching" or any other glob of "new age" gnostic reinterpreting of what the Bible or Jesus are supposedly REALLY all about . . . is stuff I encountered and dealt with when I was a seeking teenager, about 38 years ago. That was kindergarten stuff. Those in ignorance and under the spell of the demonic like to portray Born-Again "Biblical" theology as being childish and simplistic, but it is actually the reverse. Gnosticism in all its various forms is nothing but the "doctrines of demons." And entry-level doctrine at that. As a clue, you can always spot it when the purveyor of such teachings diminishes Who Jesus is and disparages or marginalizes the Word of God--the Bible. When I was under its sway, I too thought that Christianity and Bible-based doctrine was simplistic, shallow and mostly man-made.
Then I Saw the Light.
And it didn't come from "religion" or "Christianese" promulgators or from some charismatic preacher. It came from God Himself, from the Holy Spirit, from the Creator of all that is, Who we know as Jesus, the Messiah.
Now, since He teaches in His Word that "belief" or "faith" is a gift . . . I know I can't really lay out an argument that will necessarily cause you or anyone to finally "believe." Yet, that is exactly what needs to happen, as I wrote it in the post Smalls responded to. BUT, God has chosen the weak things of this world--His broken, flawed devotees--to be the means by which He sets up the divine giving of the gift of faith. Something can happen in the mere HEARING of The Truth via the mouth of a Witness--a Believer--that can kick the Born Again experience into gear. This is how the Holy Spirit, Who shows and testifies to The Truth, usually does His work in the seeker.
At the same time, it is just not the case that it is meant for ALL to be given the gift of belief. Some simply can't and won't be able. Some are of their father the devil and to him they will go.
[I have more to say. . . . Back in a bit. . . . May God grant you and any others who yet seek, the gift of faith, which is the gift of Life, which is the gift of fellowship with the Creator, which is the greatest gift that can be received. . . . God bless you.]
I never thought I had much faith, though I wanted so much to be secure in the knowledge and love of God. As a child I believed, simply. Couldn't really bring myself to 'accept Christ' until the end of high school, partly because of the crap I'd been taught about not sinning anymore after you're saved else you're eternally screwed. I finally said 'the prayer' one day. It was unexpectedly emotional, and afterwards I felt like I was getting a handle on things. I read the Bible, prayed, sinned, 'repented'... all the while I never felt like I had a relationship with Jesus, with God. There were synchronicities, the Bible seemed like a living book sometimes, and I convinced myself that I was getting sustenance in times of unbelief. For a long time I was stuck in the endless cycle of 'binge and purge', giving in to my natural urges and then begging forgiveness, over and over and.. it was this blog, along with Zeph Daniel's audios and other stuff from like-minded, that really encouraged me and gave me what I thought was a solid understanding of the Gospel. I read this quote here on your blog, I believe, from F. Fenelon:
"Thus it is not by incessant care that we become faithful and exact in the smallest things, but simply by a love which is free from the reflections and fears of restless and scrupulous souls."
That really stuck with me, and I felt I finally was able to let go of trying so hard to be a Christian and rest in the simple knowledge of God's love and sovereignty. I still love that quote, but no longer in a Christian context.
There were many things that led to the death of my faith. I dunnno, maybe I still have a tiny spark somewhere, and that's why I'm writing this. I used to fancy, when I experienced almost none of the awesome things that I'd been assured would happen after I got saved, that I was just being tested, that perhaps I would be one of the "blessed, who have not seen and yet have believed". That thought helped for a while.
About a year ago I kind of decided to take a break from the whole Jesus thing. I've been trying to simply live life, without the constant Christianese chatter in my head. Obviously, I haven't been able to turn it off completely. If I'm honest, probably one of the biggest reasons I keep looking back is fear of the future. I should know better, having seen so many dire predictions end up being dust in the wind. At least I no longer have a nauseating fear of hell. That part of my faith I don't miss. What I do miss is the surety (even in doubt) that I have the Truth and that God's got me. But I'm okay being in limbo, as it were. No pressure to 'measure up', to read the Word and pray, to listen to 'good preachin''. I realize that much of what I am leaving is nothing more than a perversion of Jesus' teachings, promulgated by men who are either ignorant of the meaning of grace or simply out to make a buck using tried-and-true methods of emotional manipulation. I don't know if I'm ready to sift through the b.s. to try to find something worth keeping. So for now, I'm letting go.
Thanks for reading. I would appreciate your thoughts on my sitch, either here in the comments or on the blog if you'd like.