This is my testimony of how the Lord God has changed my life, and saved me from the brink.
My early ‘Commitment’
Having grown up in a Christian family, I always considered myself a ‘Christian’ and thought myself a ‘good person’. I went to church every Sunday, I read the Bible, I went to Sunday school, I knew Jesus Christ died on a cross for me. I could tick off most of the boxes on the ‘checklist.’
I can remember being three and a half and saying a childlike equivalent of the ‘Sinners Prayer.’ If ever doubts about my spiritual state came into my mind I just waved it away by recalling that instance: “I’m a Christian. I said a prayer when I was three; don’t worry about it.” I felt proud that at a very early age I had ‘committed’ my life to Christ.
But all of that was due my desire to be like others around me and not because of an inner yearning to be born again or know God more fully. It was merely a facade to hide behind. You cannot hide from God; as Psalm 139 says:
“Where can I go from your Spirit?(NIV)
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
The Lord God saw my two faces, and He knew the secret sinful cravings of my heart.
Conviction, Confession and Salvation – the REAL change
As I grew up under this belief that I was ‘alright’; I learnt more about the Bible. I learnt more about the importance of the cross. I was taught about the ‘scary’ doctrines of hell and sin. I realised that just being a ‘good person’ was not enough; I realised the need to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross – not just saying a little prayer.
I started to think of all my sin, and it made me feel bad and wretched; I knew I was hell-bound; the thought frightened me out of my wits.
Whenever hell or salvation was discussed in our family Bible times or in Church, I would squirm in my seat and long for the end of the meeting. I was guilty and I knew it.
It was then, that I sought the Lord Jesus Christ with tears many times, I begged him to come into my life. I knew I needed to change. I knew that Jesus’ death on the cross was the only way to be reconciled with God. I hated sin, I felt awful after sinning; yet I continued in it. Each time I tried to ‘mean’ more what I said in my prayers. I still didn’t feel any peace. I still clung onto sin. “Not yet,” I said. “I’ll give up later; there’s plenty of time. But why hasn’t God saved me? I’ve asked him.”
This was futile, and eventually I could fight against him no longer, for He is truly irresistible. We cannot hide from him, as Psalm 139 so rightly says.
A hymn written by Mr. Anonymous (he must’ve been a very clever and godly fellow!) says:
Show me Thy face, one transient gleam,
Of loveliness divine
And I shall never think or dream
Of other love save Thine;
All lesser light will darken quite,
All lower glories wane;
The beautiful of earth will scarce
Seem beautiful again.
That hymn is best left anonymous in my opinion. It beautifully depicts the way in which Christ takes over, and how he can also renew and refresh us day by day.
Like many others born into a Christian family, I cannot pin-point a precise date of conversion; but rather can look to a definite change over a period of time. At the young age of seven or eight Jesus Christ inhabited my heart forever.
He, the Saviour, had died upon the Cross for me.
Nothing else can provide lasting peace and happiness; and fill the emptiness that separation from God brings.
The Narrow and Difficult road
Since then I have been up and down like a yo-yo at times in my spiritual walk. Like the character Christian in John Bunyan’s allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, I have encountered deep bogs; I have spent time in Doubting Castle; I have time and time again – to my shame and despair – gone wilfully through Vanity Fair. The Devil has sent thousands of fiery darts at me. I know that there are yet more difficulties and dangers ahead.
Yet time and time, the Lord God has strengthened me to face these threats; and so he will continue to do so. And His offer of forgiveness through His son is eternally valid. Like Christian I have also spent time under good ministry and been refreshed along the way.
1 Corinthians 10 verse 13 says: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.“
So I know that though I be up against the mightiest of Satan’s blows and surrounded by towering and menacing giants – God is bigger; his love for me surpasses anything I can ever imagine; but I long for what the apostle Paul prayed:
“… that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:17-19
Augustine once said, “If all mankind had been righteous and only one man a sinner, Christ would have come to endure the same cross for this one man, he so loves every individual.”
Such love, amazing love; so rich, and yet completely free!
In Christ only will I stand; in He who took my sin away, He who bore the penalty for my sin; by dying on the cross, bearing the full force of God’s righteous wrath.
Because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross I can be called a Child of God and can look forward to the day of his return. Not because of anything in me. I didn’t ‘choose Christ’, rather He chose me!
I have had a great advantage because of my Christian upbringing and background. I know that many others too have grown up under good Gospel teaching and yet have fallen away, and plunged head-first into a life of sin. Sin offers us nothing but trouble and torment.
As one man wisely said, sin can be likened to a beautiful red apple. It looks tasty and delicious; the rosiest apple you’ve ever seen. You bite into it hungrily and excitedly, then that you realise that it is rotten inside, right through.
Don’t follow the ways of sin. The devil is extremely crafty and will tempt to you through all manner of disguises.
Life is precious; it is the stepping stone to eternity. It will be over in a flash. The choice you make in this life will affect your eternal future.
I’m sorry to be grave, but it is stark reality. It is a question of life and death, of eternal hellfire or everlasting paradise.