Gracefully Truthful

Rebekah Hargraves

I slowly and steadily grew in the Lord

In the years following my salvation, I slowly and steadily grew in my knowledge of God, but any attempts to have a daily quiet time every single day usually failed within a few weeks at most.

I can’t remember a time when going to church wasn’t part of my family’s weekly life.
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t familiar with the Bible, Jesus as God’s Son, or the implications of Christmas and Easter.

My grandfather was the “sound guy” for our church, and my birth was even announced by our pastor from the baptistry during the Sunday evening service the day I was born! Over the years, I was involved in children’s choir, Sunday school, Sunday and Wednesday services, Bible Drill, youth group, and the list goes on. I accepted Christ as my Savior during a children’s Easter event when I was seven and was later baptized that Christmas.

There’s a really big difference, however, between knowing theology of Christ and the cross, and actually embracing it for yourself.
Knowing the Lord intimately via a personal relationship, and allowing the full implications of the good news of the gospel to affect each and every aspect of your daily life, that’s real life!

This is the journey the Lord has been taking me on the past eighteen years since I asked Jesus to be my Savior. The past 3-5 years have provided the most eye-opening awareness as to the actual truths of God’s Word, and not merely man’s interpretation or tradition.
It’s been quite a journey, and I’m so grateful for it!
I wouldn’t trade a single season of it for anything.
Each season has been graciously used by God to expand my testimony and witness,
my ability to help and encourage others,
and my relationship with Him.

In the years following my salvation, I slowly and steadily grew in my knowledge of God, but any attempts to have a daily quiet time every single day usually failed within a few weeks at most. As a young teen entering youth group, my thoughts centered around boys and who-liked-who in our circle of friends rather than God’s Word and growing in my faith.
Then, interestingly, a series of events led to a complete 180 in my heart and life. 

When I was 14, my father moved our family from the church and youth group we’d been attending to a different church. Our new church was family-integrated with no youth group; everything was very family-centered. A huge amount of growth in my heart took place during this season. I grew exponentially in my doctrinal knowledge.
However, at this same time, my family became exposed to certain Christian ministries which were very legalistic. The result was that I turned into a very legalistic, Pharisaical, judgmental, condemning young woman with standards, expectations, and beliefs that were self-imposed and based on anything but the actual Word of God alone.

Though I was in a season where I thought I was pleasing the Lord and following Him, in actuality, my heart was a drifting further and further from the true heart of God and intimacy with Him. Man-made traditions, laws, rules, regulations, and Pharisaical living were coming between me and the Lord, all the while I believed I was actually following Him.
I was anything but!
My legalism led to me doing anything but actually representing the truly loving, compassionate, gracious, merciful heart of God.
I was too busy condemning everyone around me: Christian and non-Christian alike. 

To make a long story short, the past 3-5 years have been a season of amazing changes in my heart and life as the Lord has opened my eyes to His actual truths and not man’s false interpretations. I have discovered what it means
to be free from the bondage of the law (Romans 7:1-6),
to be completely perfected and made 100% holy in the sight of God no matter what (Romans 8:1, Hebrews 10:14),
and to no longer work for the approval or acceptance of the Lord (Romans 4:1-5).
Rather, I have been made free to live a life of obedience stemming from my immense gratitude for His grace and love. The full implications of the good news of the gospel now fill my mind on a daily basis and result in my living out of a place of lightness, freedom, and peace before the Lord!

It is from this place that my online and in-person ministries also stem. I want as many women as possible to taste and see that the Lord is good and know and embrace for themselves the kind of freedom I have received.
May we never forget that God is so good!

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