I didn't always use to be a Christian. At one point I was an esoteric Buddhist...
I was looking for enlightenment, and freedom from suffering. I did this for years thinking the truth was inside myself and believed that I only needed the right technique to find it. Eventually I accumulated a huge number of occult books. About different yogas, and biographies of so called enlightened people. The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit, yunakti, and means yoking or union. I think it is sufficient to that you can't find happiness looking inward. Those were the worst years of my life. With self injury, and general hopelessness. No matter how many hours you spend meditating you won't be free. Only Jesus brings real freedom and sets captives free.
I had a friend, Mimi, at that time that I had gotten to know through my dad. He did work on her house, and I took care of her garden. I rushed through mowing her lawn just so I could sit with her and talk. She has spent much of her life with gurus trying to achieve enlightenment, or self realization. When she was younger she had plans of becoming a professional singer.
This was my introduction to it. I asked many questions, and immersed myself in the subject. She would talk to a voice inside herself to see if she could bring up certain subjects to me (This is pretty scary, since I now know what that voice was and what intentions it had towards me). The voice that had tricked her was also trying to trick me down the road that it had made her walk. I won't mention what we spoke about since it isn't something anyone should spend time investigating, but I will write something that happened to her while she was young. She told me not to tell this to anyone, but I don't consider that binding since I am not the same person then as I am now, and it is something that should be shared so people will understand what we are up against.
When she was young she walked into a meeting that the white brotherhood had (in London I believe). She did not know at the time who they were, or what they were capable of. When she walked in they were talking about her, what she was trying to do, and they were discussing her. According to themselves they are; "an organization of Ascended Masters united for the highest purposes of God on Earth." To be an ascended master you have to achieve Christ-consciousness which is another word for self-realization often used in New Age. See how they make Christ into being something something smaller than He is, and how they glorify themselves? They talk about God, but it is a twisted message, one that has no freedom in it. It is a god where you yourself is god. You should always be on your guard when someone glorifies themselves, and show a prideful nature (Proverbs 16:5). My conclusion at this time is that they were either possessed, malignant beings, or people who communicated with spirits that Mimi had come in contact with through her yogic practices (she was maybe the first person in my country to do yoga, and she has had a few students. Some of which have gone on to start their own yoga classes) and mystic research. She was also making potions, doing alchemy to extend her life.
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
She slipped and fell on the ice on the way to pick up her mail, a few years before I met her, and broke her back. This caused her to be bound to a wheelchair the remainder of her life. She died in a retirement home at the age of 94, back in 2007 - the same year I was saved. She didn't want to live anymore, and she thought that by dying she would be reborn into a better body so she could try achieving enlightenment once more since she felt it was within her grasp. A thing she said to me while she was half asleep in her chair, maybe realizing that she had been on the wrong track (?) has stuck with me since then; "Evil men, have taken over the world." This was the sentence that made me search and look for the truth in a different way then I had before.
The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
I came across a site one day, not too long after she has said this to me, being constantly in search for the truth. It was a Christian site, based on a speaker at 'The Prophecy Club'. It was writing about the very people I used to look up to. Showing me their real nature, and that there is real evil in the world. I believe this was God nudging me to accept him. If there is real evil (not just human evil)- there is also real goodness. That night I went for a walk and I cried, confessing my sins to God, and asking him for forgiveness for not believing in Jesus and what he did for me on the cross.
I felt relieved, like a huge burden had been cut of my back. Like the strings to an enormous luggage that I had been pulling behind me had been cut.
I ended up burning all of my old books. The title of my testimony is from Genesis when the serpent tricks Eve and Adam to eat the fruit. It is something he uses to this very day in order to deceive people. A deception I myself was victim to.
Many, if not all of these alternative philosophies and spiritual practices such as yoga etc have real spiritual evil entities as a source. They are not discovered by humans for the betterment of humanity. It is the work of deceitful spirits, and the doctrines of demons. I will use Theosophy as an example, because many of the experiences are similar when it comes to how these evil spirits operate to germinate their doctrines: Helena Blavatsky (Controversial religious writer and leader, a founder of the Theosophical Society, who widened the exposure to Eastern religions in the West), said she first met her Teacher, a spirit who she said inspired her later studies and insights. Her later claims were that from that point, she was visited by key masters (mahatmas) who lived on a higher plane. She was, she said, appointed their messenger.
Like Blavatsky, my friend Mimi also had things like books appear in her (locked) house, on specific topics relevant to her attempt at self-realization. Books she told me were almost impossible to find, because they were limited prints, and obscure. She showed me some of the books, and I borrowed a couple of them. Blavatsky had been receiving messages from the Mahatmas, she claimed, by miraculously appearing letters. There was a shrine in her "Occult Room" that had a closed cabinet. Every so often, letters from the Mahatmas, as well as other objects, would miraculously appear inside the cabinet.
Quote from blavatskyarchives;
H.P. Blavatsky was then forty-two years old and in controlled possession of her many and most unusual spiritual and occult powers. In the opinion of the Mahatmas, she was the best available instrument for the work they had in mind, namely to offer to the world a new presentation, though only in brief outline of the age-old Theosophia, "The accumulated Wisdom of the ages, tested and verified by generations of Seers...," that body of Truth of which religions, great and small, are but as branches of the parent tree. Her task was to challenge on the one hand the entrenched beliefs and dogmas of Christian Theology and on the other the equally dogmatic materialistic view of the science of her day. A crack, however, had recently appeared in the twofold set of mental fortifications. It was caused by Spiritualism, then sweeping America. To quote Helena’s own words: "I was sent to prove the phenomena and their reality, and to show the fallacy of the spiritualistic theory of spirits."
Unlike Jesus they appeal to man's intellectual, spiritual vanity, and pride, while Jesus urge you to be humble, and be obedient. They claim to have a special knowledge that is only for the Initiated. Those with the right spiritual development to understand it. "You are special to be honored with this message from the masters. Special spiritual techniques for your spiritual development. You are the special elect." The message of salvation is much simpler than that, and it doesn't elevate you, but the author of salvation - Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2).
The good news message is so uncomplicated (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), that people don't want it and see it as foolishness. Christ died for you despite of yourself, not because you can do anything in the present to deserve His sacrifice, or because you did anything in the past.
I also got married to my wife because of God's help. My plan as a Buddhist had been to go into the Himalayan mountains to meditate, away from everything, instead God sent me to the US to met my wife. Or rather, He granted me my request after me begging Him, and being a bit obnoxious about it now that I look back, to have a wife because I was lonely. I didn't at the time get the fullness and completeness there is in the Holy Spirit, being a new Christian, so I was holding on to the old feelings of being alone I used to have, not seeing what I had received. But I am very grateful to God. We went through a nightmare just to be together, and a nightmare once we moved to my country with miscarriages, illness and troubles. Nobody said being a Christian is easy, or the easy way out. If anything it is harder with more troubles, trials and temptations, but I take comfort in knowing that Jesus is there and he never gives up, never rests. He knows our troubles because he has been there. He went through them. He knows what we need, and in the troubles we experience we are being equipped for better things.