By Alexia Hess-
For Oren, a Jewish man living in Israel, a quarter century-long spiritual journey transported him from science to Buddhism to spiritual gurus.
“And after 25 years, I had nothing,” he said on a So Be It! video. “In Buddhism you have no one to have a relationship with. There’s no deity. There’s no heavenly Father. I wanted to have a relationship. There was something Jewish in me that was crying out: ‘Abba Father, where are you?’”
Today Oren is a needle in a haystack, a convert to Christianity in Israel. Christians in Israel constitute less than 2% of the population. Of those three-fourths are Arab Israelis, descendants of Palestinians who decided to stay when Israel became a nation.
Jews in Israel who follow Jesus as their messiah are a sliver.
Oren was raised in Rehovot, Israel, in a non-religious family. He sought the truth on his own. Science seemed to offer answers, so he pursued its study and became a science teacher.
“But science did not fulfill me,” he says. “I always felt there was something beyond the physical, that there was a reality that can be accessed but was totally blocked in the culture I was living in.”
Buddhism attracted him with the offer of peace. He traveled to Thailand to practice meditation for three months with monks. The exotic hinterland setting was idyllic, conducive to his peace-seeking meditation.
“It was a very beautiful place. The people there were very nice and very peaceful,” he says. “You get a sense that you came to a haven where there’s peace. I got to those places where I felt a deep peace and calm.”
But when he returned to Israel, life ground on. To really find enlightenment, he thought he needed a guru, someone to personally guide him, rather than relying on books. He found an “East-West mesh” guru in Jaffa and became his disciple for 25 years.
He read widely of all the “spiritual” books, including the New Testament. He regarded Jesus as just another enlightened teacher. But after years of New Age influenced teachings, he realized he had nothing to stand on, nothing transformative. He was moral and peaceful, but had little more than behavior modification.
Then the guru died.
After 25 years God broke into his life. Because Oren had read the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was able to activate the living Word through revelation.
Yeshua is not who you think he is, God impressed on his heart. He’s something else, more than just one of a number of enlightened teachers.
Oren surrendered his life to Jesus as his Lord and Savior and was born again.
“When you realize you don’t just understand it, you’re transformed by it,” he says.
He received God’s free gift of salvation by grace through faith. “It’s like when you receive a present,” he noted.
God transformed Oren’s heart and he became a new creature in Christ. The first change he noticed was that he had a genuine love for God, a genuine love for his Messiah, Yeshua, and a genuine love for the word of God.
He came to the exciting realization that the Tanakh (the Old Testament) and the New Testament was one unified and amazing story. “It’s not just history,” he adds. “It’s 100% relatable to my life. It’s the solution to everything I was looking for.”
At the same time, he felt a renewed love for his wife after 14 years of marriage.
“I read the Bible and it said he who is in Christ is a new person,” he says. “And I saw it in my life.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
About the writer of this article: Lexy Hess studies at Lighthouse Christian Academy near Central Los Angeles.