My Testimony -- Finally Free!

Since I was raised in a Christian home, I never had a dramatic conversion experience in which I "got saved". I have picked up "religion" a little at a time. So there was a nagging, little doubt that made me wonder if I had missed something. What could be missing from my life that I was not completely sure about my salvation?

The real turning point came recently when I had to make the most difficult decisions of my life. I had to set priorities. I had to decide what was most important to me. And I even had to do some things that I did not WANT to do, but I knew I HAD to do because those things were God's will.

While setting priorities, I had to make sacrifices, giving up things that were important to me. I had to listen to what God's will is in my life and obey. That meant learning to trust God and have faith in Him. I could not see the outcome, I just had to believe that God was leading me in the right direction. He would provide for me and care for me.

But when the pressure to give up and do things my own way became the greatest, would I choose to follow God's will? Or would I take the easy way out and follow my own will? I chose to follow God's will, not my own. I had finally crossed over the line.

Read Romans 6:4 "We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Verses 6-7 "For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." Verse 11 "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

I was sitting in Burger King (of all places!) when I realized I had finally found myself. I had the answers I had sought after so long and so hard. The key to believing I was saved was in verse 11: "count yourselves dead to sin." That passage took on new meaning. I thought of sin as a person or an evil entity hunting me down. The entity of evil was sweeping through the Burger King, looking for a victim to claim. But the entity of evil did not claim me. It passed over me as though I were not there. Christ's blood had covered me, the blood of the Passover lamb.

I looked down at myself and thought I must be invisible, that sin could not see me. What? Then I thought, it's not that I am invisible, neither is it that I don't exist anymore. What? Sin could not claim me because my old self no longer existed. That is when I realized that I had become a new creation. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). I was finally free!

Before this, I had been aware of the Holy Spirit working in my life. But the Holy Spirit could not change me. It can guide and comfort me. It can help me understand Jesus' teaching. It can lead me to God's will. The Holy Spirit can change the way that I feel, but it cannot change my mind. It cannot force me to make the right decision, or even any decision at all. The Holy Spirit cannot transform me into a new creation.

But Christ Jesus does have the power to transform me. And He did. But I became a new creation only because I chose to let Jesus change me. I had to first choose the right path. I had to trust God. I had to have faith in God. And I had to give in to His will.

When you are having struggles in your life, you should study the Bible and pray for possible solutions. But don't overlook the obvious. Just give God what He wants and what He deserves: 100% of your time, your talents, your devotion, your commitment, and your love. I don't think that is too much for God to ask of you. Consider what He gave us: freedom from sin, new hope, and eternal life through the death and resurrection of His Son.

I have discussed when I was finally free. I talked about when my old self was gone and I became a new creation though Christ Jesus. This happened after I made a commitment to do God's will. But there were times before that when I almost gave in to God, but then did not. What happened differently this time?

I could never totally commit myself to God before because I was afraid. I was not comfortable with the idea of changing. I did not trust God enough. I was not sure that He had my best interests at heart. And what if He made a mistake during the transformation, leaving me in worse shape than before? I also did not trust other people enough to think I could count on their help if the transformation proved too difficult for me to handle alone.

But, a little at a time, I learned that I can trust God. He does not change. You can believe God's promises found in His Word, the Bible. God really does have our best interests at heart, although it is often difficult for us to see this until after a situation has been resolved.

I also learned to trust people. Unlike God, they will sometimes disappoint you. But that is a risk we must all take. People are a risk well worth taking. So I had to learn to trust God and other people. I had to learn to allow them to carry my burdens while I worked on my relationship with Christ.

What is my point? Be sensitive to those around you, including fellow Christians and unbelievers. If you see someone in need, try to reach out to that person to relieve his burdens. Try to give that person a brief rest from his cares. Perhaps that brief rest is all the time that person will need to get his mind off his worries and onto more important things like his relationship with Jesus.

Perhaps that brief rest that you have afforded him will be the turning point in his life. Someday that person may look back and remember you. He may say, "I remember when (your name) let me rest long enough to develop my relationship with Christ. Praise the Lord, I got saved!"

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