Afraid to Enter In: The peril of Spiritual Abuse

13. April 2013 16:44

Spiritual Abuse

There was a time when I use to count the number of days I attended Church. I absolutely dreaded missing a Sunday because I knew someone would want an answer for my absence or worse: I’d return the next week feeling ashamed that I had “put myself above God”.

As a new believer I didn’t know much about “being a Christian”, but I knew the basic promises of God: peace, joy, and freedom. From the time I could conceive the idea of salvation; I began to seek the Lord. I developed a new life in Christ. Friends and family witnessed a transformation in me and some eventually gave their lives to Christ. However, as time went on the light of my new life grew dim.

It wasn’t that I lacked faith, or failed to connect my troubles to eventual “spiritual breakthroughs”. I found myself in chains unable to enter the promises of God because I had been spiritually taught that all of those promises were indicative of my own works e.g.

•If I had more faith, God would bless me.

•If I gave more money I would be financially secure.

•If I worshipped more, God would bless me.

On the outside it appeared that everyone else had it all together. Inside I felt like a failure, like I just couldn’t get anything right. To be honest, I was in spiritual bondage. I was stuck between earning my righteousness and knowing that the scriptures read differently. I was without peace, without joy and certainly not free.

What was I to do? Leave? If I left, I would be considered “backslidden.” If I left, perhaps God would look at me differently.

So I stayed… until God said, “Go”. And then the real journey began.

For the next ten months, the fingerprint of God became alive. I could see, I could touch and I could hear all that those lines encapsulate as divine. I even saw myself as alive to Christ. Though I was no longer earning my righteousness, I was transforming all at the hand of the Holy Spirit. Why did it take so long for me to come to this? How could I be afraid? The peril is just that: fear.

Spiritual abuse has a way of creating the illusion that if we fail at something we’ve lost the approval of God. So instead of failing, we culminate the fear of it. This fear has put a chain around experiencing spiritual growth, something we cannot microwave or attempt to manipulate with our works. Something that actually looks a lot like trial and error backed by the fullness of grace received by believing in Jesus Christ. Here’s what saved me:

For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. Romans3:20

There is no self-effort in faith. The natural inability to fulfill the commands of the law (written & unspoken) had produced an unhealthy fear of God and his promises. So I died to it. Just as Paul wrote in Galatians 2:19: I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. In that leap of faith, I found myself living in joy, peace and freedom.


Sabrina C Anderson is the author of How to Live a Fabulous Life in Christ, Ten Lessons: A Woman’s Guide on Spiritual Growth. Sabrina wrote this book inspired by the Holy Spirit as she received healing for her own spiritual wounds. She blogs at A Fabulous Life in Christ. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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