When I was attending Shasta Bible College, one of the assignments for a class entitled “Evangelism and Discipleship” was to record one’s own testimony. At the time, I wrote about a bicycle “accident” that changed my behavior dramatically in 2010. I will not deny that it was a testimony in which God was definitely present. However, my primary testimony, that will be shared when I am evangelizing to someone, has progressed from an event in 2010 to a period of rebellion that occurred after Bible College. I’ll leave the event in 2010 to be relayed at another time but I will tell of my more-recent testimony in this post.
After Bible College, I had grown a tremendous amount of strength in my spiritual life. The pressure to get schoolwork done was gone and now I could focus on God. I was in a situation where there was not much to do where I lived, so I committed myself to reading The Bible and books on surrounding topics every day. Every morning, I would get up and walk to a local fast food eatery, read and study my bible and other books, walk home and go to bed. That was my routine for about ten consecutive days and I’d be lying if I were to say that it was not effective. For the first time, I could literally feel the very presence of the Lord! I sensed that because I studied nonstop, He protected me from sin entirely. During that time, I had not felt the least bit interested in proceeding in sin. When I had gotten a job, however, it became more difficult to proceed with my studies.
Finally, a day had come where I was not so much tempted as I was brought back to old memories from before I had cut off my relationship with sin. I went to rid myself of these evil reminders and was not successful in overcoming the temptation that I was previously protected from. I stumbled in my Spiritual Walk with Christ, and I felt horrible about it. Every day after that, I thought that I had taken the precious Gift He offered and treated it with less care than It deserved.
When a person gets a gift from someone else, it’s usually requested that the person that receives the gift take good care of it. Imagine if the receiver just tossed away the gift he was given while the giver was still watching. This is what I felt with The Lord. I had no doubt that He loved me, for the Bible assures me of that, but does that not mean he can be upset with me? Mad even? I could not hear the Lord, for I fear sin might cloud our communication; I was under the impression that God was not speaking to me. I felt as if I were stepping across broken glass with The Lord and that gave the enemy the opportunity he so desperately desired.
There arrived a Sunday when I was still unsure with my relationship to the Lord. I regularly attended church because I had an obligation to be there and I thought God would be more likely to give me attention if I were in His house but I still received no word from Him. I was already frustrated and when someone confronted me about a doing a job that I did not want to do, it was the final straw. God wasn’t talking to me, but here I had Satan telling me to just walk out of the church and I had no reason to argue.
I quit my job at the church and was fully convinced that I was going to give myself back to the world until death. I stopped praying to commit myself to monetary gain, I stopped listening to Newsboys or Chris Tomlin to listen to Skrillex or The All-American Rejects and I quit reading the Holy Bible to spend my time playing video games. For the first week, I thought it wasn’t too bad. I thought if I was getting what I wanted, what else mattered? Although, because I knew so much about Christianity, I knew that God offered something that I could get on my own.
Shortly thereafter, I felt hollow, empty, incomplete. There were sections of my life that were not being filled by monetary gain, sacrilegious or irreverent music, nor video games. Regardless of how much time I spent in my separation from God, I knew that the hole in my life could only be filled by the Almighty God. I stayed firm though. I was angry with God but I wanted to hear what He thought about my behavior, and I thought that God could best be heard in the voice of a pastor.
Sunday morning, I attended a church that I didn’t usually visit on Sunday mornings. The pastor was speaking on Ecclesiastes 2. In chapter two, Solomon speaks as to the futility of the world. In fact, the entire purpose for the book was to spare readers the time to realize that everything is meaningless apart from God. In chapter two, Solomon tests the value in a Christian lifestyle by contrasting it with the opposite: by fully committing his devotion to the world. The wisest man to ever live found that nothing he could do by himself was ever profitable. By having this sermon preached on the one Sunday I decide to attend to see what He has to say, I felt God was telling me that what I was doing was entirely useless. If not for God, what is the purpose in anything we do when we run out of time here on earth?
I was awestruck at the message I heard, astonished that I heard what I needed to hear, and confused as to what I should do next. I returned to my home church and apologized to my pastor and my fellow brethren who worked beside me. I returned to First Baptist Church of South Lake Tahoe that Sunday in time to hear the pastor start a new series entitled “Are You a Fan or a Follower of Jesus?”
Something clicked those next few Sundays. Every Sunday for the duration of the series, I was intrigued and most interested to hear the pastor speak about how a fan would know about God but a follower knows God. The sermons focused on the distinction between fans of Jesus Christ and followers of Jesus Christ. A fan will know that He exists but an actual follower will actually love Him and commit their life to getting to know Our God. By the end of the series I knew that I had to spend every moment that was not spent making sure I had a life to live, living my life for God. Afterward, my perspective on the way I lived my life changed dramatically.
I realized that the only thing that is profitable and will always be profitable eternally is the Lord, because nothing else will remain eternal. With that, I continued to educate myself. I started reading my books once again and continue to build my relationship with the Lord by learning more about Him. My main concern is to always sustain a healthy Spiritual life by reading my Bible, getting proper education on biblical topics, regularly engaging in prayer and always trying to immerse myself in healthy fellowship with other believers.