I was introduced to God’s grace at age 16 when I heard for the first time that Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection 3 days later was the full payment of the penalty for MY sin. It didn’t matter how terrible the sin, His payment was sufficient. I accepted this portion of His grace with great joy!
Over the next several years, I learned from other Christians that my responsibility was now to live up to Jesus’ standard for believers. But here was the dilemma—these other Christians did not agree on what those standards actually were. One group told me I must wear long hair and dresses; another told me I must speak in tongues; another said as a woman I was not to speak unless spoken to; still another told me that speaking in tongues was evil. Most agreed that I should pray daily (although the required amount of time varied from group to group) and that I must read my Bible daily. However, the version of the Bible that I was to read was another source of confusion as each group of believers seemed to have a different view of which version was the Truth.
Each of these dear Christians that came into my life meant well, but I was a prime candidate for confusion. I had spent most of my life striving for excellence believing achievement was the way to gain acceptance. Problem—if I pleased one group with my performance, I disappointed another group, and still another group believed I was a lost cause.
My solution? I gave up. I stopped attending church and avoided contact with other Christians. My Bibles were something to dust. Yes, I had a handful of different versions by now. I couldn’t handle trying to please everyone. I rested in my assurance of salvation alone and decided that “fire insurance” would have to be enough. I was done with the treadmill. I would never measure up.
God was preparing me for the next step on my journey of grace.