J Clark Ministries

To be very blunt, much of my belief system had not worked. I had read my Bible and prayed for years, but still had the same problems of low self-esteem, anger, and many other issues. While I was at the Presbyterian church, things really started to unravel and I knew I needed help. All these decades of unresolved issues and pent up anger started coming to a head, especially at home. When it got so bad that I was considering staying overnight at the pastor’s house one Saturday evening because of an uncontrolled anger issue at home, that was more than I wanted to admit. To make matters worse, I would have to be up on stage at church the very next morning directing the music. I was wearing a big mask. This pushed me over the edge.

So, up to this point, how did my life end up like this? Besides all of the unresolved issues that I have already talked about, I am a living example of how religious jargon void of meaning, and scripture verses taken out of context and not properly understood or applied, can mess up one’s thinking and do damage for life.

I decided to re-examine verses that have been a source of frustration and confusion…Have you ever been led to believe, like I was, that certain things will happen in your life if you follow the teaching of a specific verse taken out of context, or how someone says it should be interpreted, and then when these things do not happen you think less of yourself or start to question your faith?  When I started to lay aside the usual interpretation of particular verses and saw the truth in context, I began to be liberated from the bondage of confusion…

Religious jargon also contributed to my misconceptions. Some Christians continually used words and phrases without any explanation of their meaning, and I never asked for an explanation because I was just supposed to accept them as part of religious language. How many times, as a Christian, have you heard the following phrases?

* Just turn it over to the Lord.

* Just wait on God.

* Don’t run ahead of God.

* Just listen to the still, small voice.

The phrase I heard the most was, “Just pray about it.” People came across as if it was some kind of cure-all and would make all of my problems go away. I am not making light of prayer, but I would pray, pray, and pray, and still have the same problems. I see now that when I prayed, I focused on the problems even more. That would further reinforce and imbed it in my mind. As a result, there was no victory. I was praying wrong.

I honestly believe that these phrases held me back in life because they reinforced the thinking that it was wrong to have my own goals and move ahead as quickly as humanly possible to accomplish those goals. I was very confused! Now I believe they refer to God’s timing and sovereignty.

With whatever teaching we have been raised the question is, “Does it work in practical, everyday life?” Don’t just accept something because it is the way you are supposed to believe. Is your life continually changing for the better? This begins by thinking correctly about God, others, and ourselves. In my view, it all comes down to this A belief system (meaning mindsets, attitudes, church teaching, and childhood programming) must be allowing one to move ahead in life. It must be making us into better individuals and strengthening our walk with God. It must be enabling us to serve God and others  more effectively, and to bear fruit for Him. How about you, does your belief system work for you?

(The above article is an excerpt from my book, “God’s Healing Hope: Breaking the Strongholds of Wrong Thinking.” It is available from amazon and Trafford Publishing. Go to Trafford Publishing, click on bookstore. )

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