Upon reflecting on my past experience as a Pentecostal evangelist I realized something very important yet odd. I realized that during those four wasted years of my life I was literally in love with Jesus! Not in a gay way, but rather in the sense that I was fully psychologically and emotionally engaged/invested in my belief. My theology was simple: God was the father, Jesus was the son and only way to gain access to the father, and the Holy Spirit was my attachment to them both; my spiritual teacher and guide.
During those days such terms as being "filled with the Holy Spirit" or seeking the "anointing of the Spirit" were very real to me. I fully believed back then that I was called to serve not just God but his creation as well. My goal was to replicate or even exceed some of the apostolic miracles that I had read about in the scriptures! I wanted to be a spiritual giant and I wanted to do everything in my power with the help of the Lord to be in right standing with him and to fulfill my calling to the fullest.
I can honestly say that God was the center of my universe! I ate and slept the Word, I dreamed about spiritual things and had visions and spoke in tongues while I felt the accompanying sensations that were common with those experiences. I remember the sense of joy I felt when someone came up to me after a service and claimed that they were healed of some malady or when some came up in response to my alter call after a moving sermon. I was overjoyed with the thought of angels rejoicing every time someone gave their lives to Jesus and I imagined that they were having one hell of a celebration in heaven.
7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance. 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.' Luke 15:7,10 (New Jerusalem Bible).
It was verses like the one above that in my mind reaffirmed God's love for me and my love for him. I thought of God as the father I never had and he also made up for a mother who was also absent during most of my childhood. I found in God a protector, guide, comforter in times of grief, and in my mission a purpose: to save as many souls for Jesus before I left this Earth. I was a fundamentalist in the worst way and I took the bible quite literally.
I am convinced based on my experience that there is a correlation between falling in love with a person and being in love with God. When someone falls in love with another person to the extreme they exhibit the same characteristics as I did for Jesus. They only see the good in that person and for the most part are completely blinded to that persons faults or choose to ignore them. Their love for that person takes precedence over everything. They want to be in contact with that person as much as possible; in the case with God, at all times. They think of the person always and wonder what he/she may be doing at this moment. Sometimes they talk to the person aloud even though they know the person is far away and can't hear them.They are fully emotionally and psychologically invested in their relationship.
I was in love with Jesus, but like anything else taken to the extreme, this relationship did more harm than good. In the real world some people even go as far as taking their lives when the one they love has left them. I committed suicide the day I "gave my life" to Jesus: I stopped being me and began living his life and trying in all things to fulfill what I believed to be his will.
In conclusion: It is for this reason that I believe that many Christians; particularly fundamentalist believers, have such a hard time weaning themselves away from their former beliefs. It took me six years to fully overcome my former beliefs and the accompanying fears that came as a result of my actions. Pascal's wager at one time made a lot of sense to me! What if I was wrong! But from a logical standpoint and with my wits about me, I can see it for what it really is: a waste of time thinking about, and nothing more than an extension of the delusion that is belief.