As much as I reject the things we see in Thyatira, I also sympathize. I especially sympathize with the ignorant who are lured into the ways of Thyatira, because that is what I was. I was ignorant of the scriptures and of what the Christian life was really about.
I think I spent most of my life, in some form, within the church of Thyatira—at least according to my understanding of what the Church of Thyatira entails—which is a condoning of sexual immorality and condoning of spiritual ideas, teachings, and practices that are not aligned with Christianity but instead lead into a kind of spiritual fornication with this world and the spirits of devils.
I was raised to believe in the basic facts of Jesus and I considered myself to be a Christian. I was “saved” and baptized at the age of 9 and as a child I was very interested in Jesus and I wanted to live for Him.
However, I was also raised to believe in things like reincarnation, horoscopes and astrology, and the idea that all religions were acceptable paths to God. At least, by one parent. The other protested, but to no avail. Later in life, I was also exposed to Wiccan practices, though I did not participate.
Sexual immorality was encouraged as a normal part of being young. Thankfully, I was too shy and inhibited. I did fornicate with my now husband before we were married, and I thought nothing of it at the time because I was taught that this was normal and acceptable.
During my late teens I enjoyed watching Joel Osteen. He made me feel good about myself. I hated all of those “judgmental” Christians, and he was so refreshing because all he talked about was the love of God and how God wants us to live a wealthy and prosperous life. I lived in the suburbs of Houston for two years while maintaining a long-distance relationship with my now husband, then boyfriend. I tried to go see Joel in person once but I got lost. I’m glad I did.
In my early 20’s I was back with my boyfriend and we got married. After going through some serious relationship problems, I began to drink and do psychedelic drugs. This led me to things like meditation which led me to the enticing world of New Age Christianity—and I was primed and ready to accept it because this fed into all the misconceptions I was taught for most of my life.
These teachings made me feel like I could have greater control over my life—a life that was way out of control. This made me feel like I could find a way to heal my emotional troubles that I incurred from a lifetime of emotional and physical abuse. This made me feel like I was “waking up” to a spiritual realm that regular people just could not see. I was one of the enlightened ones. Until I almost died.
For all of my attempts to use New Age spirituality to heal myself, I was sicker than ever. I was also watching a prominent televangelist, and I was wrestling with an important idea: Is Jesus even real, and if He is real, is He the only way to God or are all ways acceptable? I fell into the most severe depression I’ve ever experienced.
One night I was running a suicide plan through my mind, then I just started pouring my heart out to Jesus. I begged Him to help me because I knew that I was confused. I remembered how much I loved Him as a child and I knew that I was not in His will. I asked Him to show me the truth, whether I liked it or not.
I think it was the next day that I started researching the televangelist I was listening to, because some of his teachings were strange and I wanted to see what other people said. I came across an article from one of his previous students that refuted teachings of this televangelist. This website also had many hours of free bible studies. After about a year, I listened to them all.
That was the beginning of a real “awakening” as I realized just how dead I was inside. All of the “enlightenment” that this world had for me was nothing but death, and it almost took my life.
I understand some of the reasons why people are drawn to “spiritual” things that are not of God. I also know that one of the best ways to arm yourself against this is to become familiar with the scriptures and with Jesus. This world does not know Him. Many pastors claim to know Him and they claim to teach the word of God, but they don’t.
I also understand why many people despise Christians. I know that many can be overly cruel and judgmental in a way that is self-righteous and hypocritical. On the other hand there are many who go to the other extreme and start embracing this world and pushing a kind of “love” onto people that is not the love of God, but a love of this world. This world will kill you. Jesus will save you.
I know the grace of God is what saved me from the snares of the enemy. I was fully entrenched for most of my life. I know He can save others too. If you have questions about what Christianity means or if you think that modern “spirituality” is for you, please seek Jesus.
This world promises freedom from pain, but it only gives you more pain. Jesus has real answers that can truly change your life. However, this means a life of service to Him and not this world. This is challenging, but He knows how to work things out in a way that is personalized to you and His purpose for your life in His Kingdom.
There is no spirituality apart from Jesus and His Holy Spirit that is not of the Adversary. Let no one tell you otherwise. Feel free to reach out anytime in the comments or by email if you want to hear more about my experience with these things or if you just want to chat about Jesus or the troubles you face with spirituality.
I could write volumes on false spirituality, narcissistic abuse (including tactics used by pastors and false prophets), and falsehoods within the Christian church that lead people astray. If my pain can bring peace to a few, then it is worth it. I believe that God is in control and He sets things up in our lives so that we are useful for Him and for our brethren. Use me! Then once you are established, strengthened, and settled on Jesus, go and do the same for someone else.
I do not covet followers, just to have the pains I endured used for others as they find Jesus for themselves. If all my life does is bring me closer to Jesus but I don’t help others also, then what good is it? That seems rather shallow to me. I believe we are called to share ourselves with others as Jesus shared Himself with us, so I put myself out there for whoever wants a friend in Christ.
Most importantly, I want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I know from experience that it helps to have someone meet us where we are. Paul the Apostle did this, not to draw attention to himself, but to draw people to Jesus. He is the only One that matters because He is the only name by which we can be saved.