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Working My Way to Heaven

Working My Way To Heaven

One morning, when I was in a low mood, a cheerful woman knocked at my door. She introduced herself as Jehovah's Witness and spoke to me about God. I didn't know what a Witness was, but I was very impressed with the way she knew and used her Bible. She asked me if I would like to study it with her and so I invited her back.

Over the next year she came weekly and we studied publications from the Watchtower Society, looking up scriptures to prove the Society's doctrines. She told me that many things were wrong in my life. But she also showed me how I could please God by doing certain things. I listened to all she told me and slowly began working my way back to God.

As I tried to follow all the principles outlined in the publications, our family life was altered. Many of the changes strained our family relationships, but I was determined to do God's will and not fail. The organization had five hours of meetings each week plus many guidelines for the "Christian" life. I went, with our children, to all the meetings I could, even ignoring my husband at home, so I could insure my own salvation.

My husband eventually joined in my Bible study and we met weekly with another Witness couple. I now felt that we were really learning how to please God as a family. However, our friends and relatives couldn't understand the outward changes we were making. But we believed we were right in what we were doing and we were proud of our sacrifices.

By the time I was baptized into Jehovah's only true organization on earth, my husband had lost interest. He claimed he couldn't believe all they preached. I mentally criticized his decision as selfishness. The more time I spent at doing what the Society wanted, the less time I had for my family. Gradually the closeness I had with my husband slipped away. No matter how hard I tried to please God by what I did, I was still nervous, critical of everyone and had no joy or peace in my life. Alcohol became important to me. I would use it to mask my depressions. I had dizzy spells but I couldn't accept the doctors' diagnosis of anxiety. I took the prescribed tranquilizers as another way of escape. At the Kingdom Hall meetings or going door-to-door with fellow Witnesses, I was having to put up a good front so I wouldn't be disfellowshipped from the Society for my actions. Along with displeasing God I added a new fear that my friends would find out how I really was and the elders would put me out of God's organization.

I began to question many doctrines. When I mentioned my doubts to fellow Witnesses they would usually frown and ask if I was questioning God. They restated that ours was the only organization in which God found favor. Then I knew I could never please God and do what He wanted since I couldn't accept all He told me through His only society of people. I came to the lowest point in my life. My prayers seemed to go no further than my bedroom wall.

Upon awakening one morning I didn't honestly care whether I lived or died. Life was all so hopeless. I prayed to God and asked Him to either let me die or help me straighten out my life and find real peace.

I continued going to the Kingdom Hall meetings but I started to feel like an outside observer. Not long after my son's birthday the thought kept going through my mind that I had to talk to a minister. I tried to put the idea out of my mind since the Watchtower Society taught us that ministers of Christendom were under Satan's control. Finally I decided to dial a minister's number. Even now I can't recall the hour long discussion that I had with the minister, but I agreed to go and talk with him further.

Almost faint with fear I went and talked with him for a couple of hours. He had done a lot of research on Jehovah's Witnesses and knew the Society's doctrines. He told me how a person had to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, confess his sins, and accept Him as Savior to be acceptable in the sight of God (See John 3:16; Revelation 3:20). It sounded all so beautiful, but I couldn't believe that God would accept me just the way I was, without me first making myself better. Later I read Romans 5:8 "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" and Ephesians 2:8-9 that "salvation is a free gift of God." But that day I walked out of the church building greatly upset, because I wanted to be told what to do and not what to believe or accept.

The Witnesses were my only friends, and the Society had been my way of life for almost eight years. I was afraid of being disfellowshipped and being ignored by the only people I knew. One day while reading the Bible I came across 1 John 4:18 "we need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly." I knew my fear came from man and not from God. Even if my special friend never spoke to me again, I had God's assurance of His comfort.

I sent a letter of resignation to the elders and congregation of the Kingdom Hall. Someone told me that the reason given to the Witness Congregation for their action was "conduct unbecoming a Christian". I was disfellowshipped quickly. It was as if a huge rock had been lifted from my shoulders.

I began attending an evangelical church where I kept hearing of how a person had to accept Jesus in their heart. It was obvious to me that many people in this congregation had real joy in their lives. When the pastor sang "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine," I could see on his face he meant every word he sang. However, I felt that going to church would be good enough, but the Holy Spirit would not leave me alone. I kept thinking of how the first minister had told me "if I always believed I had to prove myself to God, then I was nailing Christ back on the cross, saying that what He did was not sufficient for me".

Finally, alone one day in my own home, I knew in my heart that Jesus was my only salvation. I asked Jesus to forgive my multitude of sins and to live in me. I had very little faith about what Jesus could do in my life, but I knew I couldn't work towards God any longer on my own. The Lord was true to His promise in 2 Timothy 2:13, and He gave me the faith I needed.

Jesus has been with me ever since, changing my life. God let me know in my heart that He accepted me through the blood of Jesus and gave me a new life (Ephesians 2:5). By the power of the Holy Spirit alcohol, tranquilizers, dizzy spells and worry left my life. How wonderful it is to fellowship with the Lord and to know that anything I may do is not out of fear, but just because Jesus died for me.

Jesus has taken me one step at a time and given in return His peace and comfort (Philippians 4:7). He has shown me how so many of my attitudes and inward thoughts were not showing God's love and has given me the strength and desire to change. Real joy has come into my life now that I no longer have to work, struggle and worry to please God. I live upon His promise of eternal life through Christ and count everything else as nothing in comparison (1 John 5:13).

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