"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." -1 Peter 1:18-19
When I was younger, I was really seeking God. I was hungry, and my heart was craving a true experience with a living God. I had grown up in a stuffy church that seemed rather phony to me, and I was looking for something real, something authentic. I would pray to God as a teenager, but I had a really hard time hearing Him or feeling His presence in my life. This led me to check out New Age as a way to further my faith.
Well, it was cool for a while. They did Reiki and meditation and other things that I thought was drawing me closer to God. It was real, for sure. But at one point at one of the meetings, I felt a dark heaviness come over me. I knew it wasn't what God wanted. I cried out to Jesus to help me, and the darkness went away. I determined not to go back there again.
Several months later, I attended a church where the Holy Spirit was active. I really enjoyed that church, and although I had a lot of "church hurt" to get over I really grew and matured there. I had finally found the authentic faith and relationship with God I was looking for that was real. I felt God's presence in my life for the first time and I could feel it in others. This was the truth.
Today we're called closed-minded if we say Jesus is the only way to heaven. But if I gave someone directions to my house and they got lost because they didn't follow them, what can I do? God sent His son Jesus to die on our behalf, and Jesus is alive for our lives today. The Holy Spirit is active on the earth helping us with anything we may need. He is called the helper. (John 14:26)
Sometimes if all we've experienced is superficial religion we can write Christianity off as counterfeit. But we have to get in a place where the truth of God can be ministered to us.
Do you experience God's presence on a daily basis? Have you felt His activity in your life? Have things happened to you that you know could only be God? If you haven't yet, seek Him out. God says we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13) I know that was true for me.