Why do I need Jesus?

Recently I was given the opportunity to tell people at church about how I came to be a Christian. It’s always a bit nerve-racking to stand up the front of a group of people and be vulnerable about your past. However I am a strong believer in being real about our struggles and trials in life so that we can see God’s power at work. No one is perfect. Everyone has struggles. How can we know what God is doing in our lives if we don’t talk about how He is changing us?

Growing up I thought I was going to heaven because I believed in Jesus and thought I was a pretty good person. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to hell. I thought I was a much more upright citizen then a lot of people in the world! I was fairly confidnet until one of my closest friends challenged me whether I knew I was going to heaven or not. He asked would I be declared righteous when I died and came before the judgement-seat of God? Would I be ‘good’ enough to go to heaven? That hit me like a tonne of bricks. My knees started to tremble. I felt sick. All of a sudden I had no confidence in myself. That started a chain of events that lead me to realise how far I fell short from being declared righteous before our holy God. I was never going to measure up to the only requirement to enter through heaven’s gates – perfect righteousness.

This world has a hard time thinking that God will judge and condemn us for our sin. It often portrays Him as this wishy-washy, lovey-dovey God who will wave a ‘wand of forgiveness over everybody’ (I love that quote from R C Sproul). How tragically wrong that is. God’s justice demands that our sin must be paid for. Our salvation from this just punishment has been bought at a huge price, the price of God’s Son, Jesus. Only those who trust in the sacrifice Jesus made for us will be declared righteous before God. That righteousness is given to us through faith alone in Christ. We can’t earn our way into God’s good books. As a result of embracing that truth, I am at peace that Jesus is the One who has saved me from an eternity in hell and secured me an eternity with God.

That is why I became a Christian – to be spared an eternity in hell and enjoy eternity in fellowship with God. It wasn’t to have a ‘better’ or more ‘prosperous’ life. In fact life is tougher being a faithful Christian, because we are commanded to turn from our sinful way of living and obey Christ. This is NOT easy. In fact God uses our struggles, and even leads us to those struggles, as a means of testing our commitment and sincerity to Him. Soon after becoming a Christian, I had to break up with my long time girlfriend at the time because she didn’t share my faith. That was extremely challenging, yet I realised I needed to do it if I was going to be serious in my commitment to God. There will always be sacrifice when we follow God, yet that’s what being a Christian is all about. We are to die to our own lustful, prideful, resentful, bitter selves and strive to live for God and enjoy our relationship with Him whilst investing into others’ lives. We will always struggle in our battle to live as God calls us to live in the Bible, but that reminds us how much we need God’s grace and keeps us humble when we start to think we have it all together compared to others. Remember we don’t know what God has for us as we turn from might ‘feel’ good for the sake of obeying Him. In breaking up with my girlfriend at the time, God eventually lead me to my beautiful, God-fearing wife. What a treasure it is to marry someone who shares the most precious aspect of our lives. God knows what we need. We just need to trust in Him no matter how you may feel at the time.

That’s a bit of my background in how I became a Christian and why I chose to give my life to Christ. I would love to hear about your story. We all have a story and it’s hearing how God works in our lives that encourages us and inspires us to seek Him more. I know it’s hard to be vulnerable in a public forum, however can I encourage you to share as you don’t know how the lessons that God has taught you may impact someone else.

Maybe God wants you to tell your story.

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13 responses to “Why do I need Jesus?

  1. Good story. May you enjoy the blessing of God’s presence, love, grace and mercy for the rest of your life. See you there!

  2. He is irresistible! I ran as hard as I could in the opposite direction, but like the ‘Hound of Heaven’, he caught me at the right time. I was embarrassed to be one of the few kids at school who were going to Sunday School at age 11 (sent by my Mum!), and my report from SS would not have been favourable. But I did learn the 1st, 100th and 145th Psalms by heart. Rebellion saw me at the brink of life’s precipice, but a motorcycle accident grounded me at a critical time, and some mates (who were no more religious than I was) went to a local evangelical church (because their parents were there). We all sniggered and mocked at the back, but the word of God pierced my soul, and one Sunday evening I could say with some understanding ‘I am the Lords’. Youthful conversion can be one of the most obnoxious things in the world, and I fell out with my Dad and had to leave home. A year later, and he called me in distress of soul, and was converted later that night. I must say that when the Lord brought me into His kingdom, I would not have been anyones choice but His, and everywhere I spoke His name I must have been quite odious. But His ways are past finding out. I still don’t know what He saw in me, or why He should want me, but I’ll be glad for all eternity in His presence. There is one verse of Scripture that divides all humanity: ‘As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive’ 1 Corinthians 15:22. Here is the certainty of DEATH for all in their natural condition (and ALL means ALL in that state). Equally, for those who are in Christ, there is NO LESS CERTAINTY that they are alive.

    • Thanks for sharing your story David. I too share your feelings of ‘why me?’ The more we realise how sinful we are, the more we are in awe of the mercy and grace of our God. What great news it is to call on Jesus as our Saviour and know we are His. Although we are progressively reflect God more in our lives as a result of the Holy Spirit working within, what a blessed hope it is to know our assurance of salvation rests in the work Jesus has done in saving us, not in our ability to walk an upright life.

  3. Hi Stu,

    I found it wonderful to read your testimony and hear of how the LORD drew you to Himself. Glory to God that He saves sinners!

    Here is my testimony:

    I was born in 1982. I was born in a dusty old town out in the country to parents who are not Christians. I was born again in 2007. That is 23 years approximately of hatred and unbelief toward a God who had predestined me to salvation, through the blood of His Son before the world began.

    For 5-6 years I lived as a closet-professing “Christian”. I was in all reality a walking paradox, hypocrite and false convert. God is sovereign yet I lay my reasons for my seemingly false conversion, though a better term would be slave of sin, on two things; My love of sin and a false gospel.

    My grandmother was a superstitious Catholic. Being Catholic and superstitious go hand in hand I have noticed. They often are caught up in all sorts of silly ideas. I loved my grandmother so much, she taught me the ‘Lord’s prayer’ at a very young age.

    I would, from a young age sneak off into ‘the middle room’ at my grandparents place and kneel before a crucifix on the wall and prayer the ‘Lord’s prayer’. I must have been no older than 10.I lived in a rough neighbourhood, a real Aussie ghetto. I played Australian Rules Football for some of the most dangerous teams around. Yet never til this day have I thrown a punch, nor been beaten up. Though when I was older, fueled on alcohol, I spoke very brave at times.

    It was when I was in my teens I was exposed to drugs, alcohol and every immoral thing. I was your typical ”world-ling’. A lover of self and self gratification. I began to run with the wild ones.

    I rode my first real wave at the age of 16 and did not stop riding waves (and doing whatever it took to ride them) for the next 10 years. Seven of those ten years I spent travelling up and down the east coast of Australia. The next 3 living in a coastal town that I called home.
    The entire time engaged in drugs, drinking and every immoral thing.

    Throughout those 10 years of travelling and bodyboarding I would stop into churches along the way and pray. Often it was the Catholic churches that were open during the day. I partook in the Eucharist a number of times, not knowing what it all meant. I can honestly say that I was just looking for Truth. But I was blinded by my unquenchable thirst for sin.

    It was about my first year into living at the coastal town I called home I met some people from an organisation called ‘Christian Surfers’. I could relate to them. They spoke of Jesus but not of the sin that offends God. I could slide right in, nice and comfortably. I had not heard a gospel that was true. That Jesus said repent. Behold, the problem with ‘friendship evangelism’!
    Then it began.

    Everywhere I turned trouble was to be found. My life was a mess and I was drinking and taking drugs more than ever. To my shame I would attend “Bible studies” secretly high as a kite. I could function ‘normally’ , I was that into it.

    Remember at this point, I was not just a person who kind of liked God and was sincere. I was in fact a rebel. As Scripture says, I was a hater of God. I hit rock bottom.

    When the police of your little town know your name for the wrong reasons, you had best pull yourself together. Everything illegal I did I got caught. Yet, I do not have a criminal conviction nor a criminal record.

    I remember one cold, cold, Sunday evening I prayed to God. I prayed that if God was real and I was to give my life to Him, that He would show me tonight on the walk I was about to take. I was as down and out as I had ever been in my life. I real drugged out mess.

    I will never forget that night. As I walked in the night, hearing the ocean rumbling (I lived 100 metres from the open ocean) I was just done mentally. I knew my life was a real mess. Walking home thinking how and if God is going to ‘do anything’ I was completely spent. Never suicidal, just “depressed”.

    Walking back to my house through grassland it began to rain a little. The moon being quite full was lighting up the ground. Now, there is nothing in this grassland. No marked out paths, rubbish, bins, seats or signs. Nothing.

    Half way through, right in my path was a gospel tract. I can still see it.

    I picked up that tract. Got goose bumps big time. Smiled and went home.

    I moved away from the coastal town and moved to the city. Was I still drinking? Yes.Was I still taking drugs? Yes. I had started going to a church near my house. Sneaking to and from church, ashamed of being religious. I also worked in the CBD as a Salesman. I would work til 9 on Friday nights. One particular Friday night just before I finished work I asked God to get me amongst some Christians. And He did.

    I walked out onto the street and walked a little, not knowing where I was heading. Just walking ‘aimlessly’. It was at a particular corner I stopped and listened to a man open air preaching. Other men came from everywhere it seemed. They told me that I had broken God’s Law and stood guilty in His sight.

    It was then I could relate with when the apostle Paul said, “I had not known sin but by the Law”.
    That night I stayed with these men til 2am. They laboured. I committed my life to the LORD.
    Since then. Have I had trials in my life? Yes. Do I know have a Father in heaven? Yes.God uses me.

    God uses a sinful man like me. What mercy!!! What grace!! What love!!

    God has blessed me with a wife. I love her more than anything on this earth. We have a baby due very soon. God has placed burdens, desires and convictions on my heart that I am now beginning to see come to fruition. God is worthy of all the praise, honour and glory. He uses me. His providence in My life is huge. His love and disciplining hand exists in my life. I know He is my God and I am His child.

    Jesus Christ is LORD of all and He died for me whilst I was a wretched sinner! He did it.He saved me. He is alone is worthy and deserves my praise!
    He made me know the Truth and it is that very thing that set me free.

    • Wow thanks Matthew for going to the effort of sharing your testimony. I am still chuckling about the gospel track in the grassland! What an example of God’s sovereignty. I really appreciated you reflecting on your background. It’s important those who don’t know Christ realise that it’s not about having our lives all together and thinking we are worthy of God’s grace. None of us deserve His mercy, yet He loves to give it! That’s love! We don’t have to wait till we have it all together to become a Christian or be used by God. We simply have to trust in the saving work Jesus did for us on the cross and the to God to equip us to live for Him.

      Another aspect you brought out which unfortunately leads to so much polarised and argumentative discussions is how God has ‘pre-destined’ us to come into a saving relationship with Him. It’s such a shame as it’s meant to be a blessing for us as opposed to a burden. I don’t begin to say I fully understand how God predestines or chooses to save some, whilst still holding us responsible for our actions and decisions. The Bible teaches both. Sometimes it’s not a case of understanding, but just sitting back and being in awe of all that God is. We can’t expect our fragile human minds to understand everything about the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (that alone blows my mind). We also can’t arrogantly presume we should dictate to God what the right this is to do. The fact is God would be completely just if He saved no one and allowed us all to bear the punishment we all deserve – eternity in hell.

      The teaching of pre-destination does put us mere humans in our place. For those who have trouble stomaching this teaching, try reading Romans 9. That will put things in a healthier perspective – who are we to say what is right or wrong!

      The other side to it is the blessing of knowing God has you in His secure hands Given our salvation is nothing to do with our own ‘righteousness’ and everything to do with the work that God does in ‘birthing’ us spiritually and refining us to reflect Him more throughout our lives, we can rest in the thought that God is faithful and in control. It’s all about giving God the glory and praise. How dare we think we deserve any praise or recognition for our salvation! Instead of trying to understand everything about God, let’s just accept the gift He freely gives us in Christ and be in awe of all that He is!

  4. Oh what a world of trouble has been brought upon the church and the world through puny minds trying to scope up a theory of the unfathomable workings of the inscrutable God. Who has searched His mind or understood His dealings with mankind?

    What do we know about God?
    He cannot lie. He does not make mistakes. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He knew us before we were born. He knit us together in our mother’s womb. He will not reject those who turn to Him in repentance and faith. He cannot lose any whom He saves, because He said so, and He gave His life for them.

    How do we know we belong to Him?
    Because He has put the same love in our hearts that He had towards those for whom He died, including us. God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ. He is with us in the dark times as well as the good times. We can prove Him in every scene of our changing lives to be a gracious and merciful Saviour. There are many hymns that the Christian church has lost or is losing in these times, but one of the most regrettable losses is surely this one which I used to sing regularly in public worship:

    We give immortal praise
    to God the Fathers love
    For all our comforts here
    And better hopes above
    He sent His
    own eternal Son
    to die for sins that Man had done.

    Almighty God, to Thee
    Be endless honours done
    The undivided Three
    and the mysterious One
    WHERE REASON FAILS WITH ALL HER POWERS
    THERE FAITH PREVAILS AND LOVE ADORES.

    In my Christian walk, I have often won arguments using impeccable scriptural arguments and references. The truth is that I am a debtor to God for His mercy and light, and the light that I have is often imperfect, and there must be great scope for humility in confessing that I know just enough to brings me to wonder and adore and rest in His great grace to my poor and unworthy soul.

  5. When I was five years old, my favourite cousin (he was much older than me – or so it seemed at the time – perhaps seven) took me to a neighbourhood ‘Good News Club”. It was the mid ’40’s and life was much simpler then. Well meaning Christians concerned for the salvation of neighbourhood children invited them into their homes where they told the story of Jesus, sang children’s songs and invited them to ‘ask Jesus into their hearts’.

    I didn’t have a clue what that meant, but seeing other children respond with up-stretched hands, I followed suit. I soon found myself in another room having the ‘good news’ explained to me using a coloured paper book; there was a black page for sin, red page for Christ’s blood, a white page for my heart if I should invite Christ in and a gold page for the streets of heaven where I would go when I died if I did. The explanation left me no wiser, but being a compliant child, I repeated the ‘sinners-prayer’ phrase-by-phrase after the leader.

    To my surprise and pleasure, when I arrived home and my cousin announced that I ‘got saved’, my mother and father express great joy in my decision. I didn’t have the courage to tell them that I really hadn’t made any decision nor even understood the whole mysterious theatre of events. I didn’t tell them then and didn’t do so until decades after this event which fell into family lore and was marked by my dear parents as my ‘day of decision’. And the more time transpired, the more difficult it became to be honest with others (and even myself) about this sham.

    Fast forward to my mid teens. I never rebelled as a youth. I attended church regularly and was active in church youth programmes. I attended evangelistic crusades and felt the emotional tug when the invitation to make a decision for Christ was given. How I envied those dramatic conversion experiences. On one occasion, at a Youth For Christ rally, a former gangster spoke about how Christ had rescued him from a life of crime. What about me – I was always a ‘good person’. My story could never be so dramatic.

    I was very confused – was I a believer or not? Should I go forward when everyone thought I was already a Christian. Perhaps if I went forward I could explain it as a ‘re-dedication’.

    At this point I really didn’t know if I was a Christian or not. I loved Jesus, I prayed regularly and maintained a faithful personal devotion reading my Bible regularly. But had I become a true believer? I would hear preachers say, “If you can’t remember the day you asked Jesus into your heart, you are not a Christian.” Well, the day I remembered most clearly was my great sham – so guilt would overtake me.

    Jump ahead another ten years. Now married, I was asked to teach a young people’s Sunday School class. I was terrified. People would surely find out the truth. But the process of preparing my lessons for this class began to teach me that the concept of ‘inviting Jesus into ones heart’ was not a biblical teaching. Nowhere was this terminology used in Scripture. In fact, it became apparent as I studied the Bible that my salvation had nothing to do with any decision I made. It is Christ who chose me – not the other way around. My role in salvation was to acknowledge my sin – my life of pretence and lies about my relationship with Jesus was evidence of this. So with great relief, I realised that over time I had gradually responded to God’s call on my life with the faith He gave me to believe in the substitutionary death of His Son on the cross. By this age and after many years of mentoring by faithful parents and church elders, I came to an understanding that God had been wooing me since I was just a lad. Bit by bit he had planted in me a faith that enabled me to appropriate Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross for my sin. His Spirit was bearing witness to my spirit that I was a child of God.

    And I also understood that even though I had always lived a ‘good life’, it was not good enough by God’s standards. My sins and my sinful nature were abhorrent and repugnant to God and my life of pretence, though perhaps not the stuff of a dramatic conversion story, were more than enough to reveal to me my utter unworthiness before God.

    God was pursuing me when I was five years old and he continued doing so. He placed me in a loving Christian family that slowly nurtured my faith. And in God’s good time He called me to put my trust in Him when I could understand what faith and belief really meant. He beckons each of us, in His way, according to our need. Praise God!

    • Thanks for that feedback Don. Given the emphasis on identifying a “conversion experience”, some of us may be left wondering if in fact we are a Christian as you beautifully articulated. However I liked how you turned your story from what you may or may have not experienced in a ‘conversion experience’ to the fact that God is the one who saves. It’s Him who does the work behind the scenes and gives rise to a new birth within us. Our response to Him is a result of the work He has done and is doing in us. So as we live for God and rely on the mercy He pours onto our lives through Christ, we are confirmed by the Holy Spirit that we are His, that our names are written in the ‘Book of Life’ as it says in Phil 4.

      The active part of our lives or evidence of the Holy Spirit giving rise to a new birth within us is 1) our faith in Christ that His sacrifice is sufficient to atone for our sins and present us whiter then snow to our awesome and holy God, and 2) our repentant and responsive heart. If we say we are a Christian in that we have trusted in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, yet there is not a gradual increase in our repentance (acknowledging sin in our lives and turning from it to what God desires) in accordance to the faith given to us, then we need to question whether our faith is genuine and sincere. Church leaders and attendees mustn’t fall into the trap of assuming professing Christians are in fact Christians. It doesn’t mean we hammer people over the head with a judgmental hammer, but rather we need to acknowledge that the modern gospel often preached is very misleading doesn’t lead people to a true repentance. If there is no fruit and evidence of repentance or turning from sin in accordance with our faith, then we need to be challenged to submit our lives to Christ and reflect on what Jesus has sacrificed so we can be saved. We need to be bold, yet gracious in continually communicating and equipping people with the most important message this world needs to hear, understand and embrace – the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      One last point. Although we may at times be uncertain ‘when’ we became a Christian, God knows who are His children. We are born again spiritually at one point and God knows when that is as He is the one who gives birth to us spiritually. Sometimes we may not know when that exact time is, however time will tell whether it has happened. WE don’t remember when we are born as babies, yet as we mature we start to become aware of aspects of our lives. What we might be unsure about, God knows. How reassuring is that! So let’s rest in what His Word teaches us and trust the only One who is faithful to fulfill what He promises.

  6. Hey y’all, I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting lately…I really haven’t been online much beyond the odd Facebook or Twitter comment because I’ve been trying to spend more time with my family and with my ailing husband. Please lift him up in prayer, he is in a lot of pain and we are desperately trying to find out what’s going on (and to work out the finances!) and finding our equilibrium. The Father is turning the heat up on the crucible, but with every increase in degree I can feel the dross of the flesh crisping and burning away. Oh Father, You are my portion, You are my rock, You are my strength. There is nothing in me that is righteous or strong enough to carry my family on my own, this I know. Thank You for Your care and mercy in this time of testing…!

    Right now I’m looking over into the stunning, trusting blue eyes of my little daughter…oh Father, you have given me so much…

    Ten years ago, you would have shaken your head in disgust at me. By that point I was in an adulterous relationship and had three steady lovers on the side, plus a few others under my belt including a man who flew all the way from Germany to have sex with me. My first husband had broken up with me, and I just didn’t care about filling out all the onerous paperwork. I was too busy living for the next drink, the next roll under the covers, the next computer game, the next whatever-it-took to escape. I hated myself but I was too soul-sick to care about improving and too scared of suicide to kill myself.

    The only reason I didn’t get into hard-core drugs was, they were too expensive and I could spend the money better buying books and games and clothing. Or a good steak at the steakhouse. Or chocolate. Or a bottle of bootlegged absinthe and a pack of sugar cubes.

    I’d never been to church beyond the occasional invite from friends. My parents hated organized religion. My adulterous father was bitter against God. My mother and I would have long conversations about the lies we saw in the Bible. There had to be Something out there, I could see too much order in the design of Nature to dismiss the existence of a divine Designer. But with no understanding of the Law beyond a general sense of unease and guilt, and no real access to answers to questions I didn’t even know how to frame in my thoughts…well, I drifted, trying to cling to whatever could give my life some sense of meaning. Whatever it took to feed the flesh, to feel something, anything, besides the overwhelming futility that was the rat-race of humanity. I wanted revelation but didn’t know how to get it or how to even ask for it.

    Or even what it was I was looking for, to be honest…

    In 2001 I got hit with a wave of depression. I lashed out at everyone and everything, including the adulterous boyfriend I was living with. I found that my endless quest for physical pleasure was wearing me out. I resolved to take a break from the empty sex and try to clean my life up. But to try and counteract my addiction to sexual pleasure, I turned to eating instead. I went from 140 to almost 200 pounds in a few months.

    Throughout it all, the man I was living with did his best to keep my emotions up. I broke down at one point and told him about all the sex I was having outside of the already-immoral relationship we were already having. He forgave me.

    I look back now, and just marvel at how God was making Himself manifest in our lives before we even realized it…

    I would easily have gone back to pursuing sex if it hadn’t been for something that happened in early 2002. Around Valentine’s Day that year I found out I was pregnant.

    Quickened to action, we began a search for my soon-to-be ex husband (who was all-too-willing to sign the papers when we discovered he was committing bigamy!) in the hopes that we could be legitimately married before the baby was born. The divorce was finalized a few months later, and on August 8th, 2002; the same day as his birthday, Eric Ruhnow and I became husband and wife. Our checkered past slowly fading behind us, we resolved to be good, upright parents to our son Zane.

    On September 19th Zane came into the world, and I began to die.

    When we brought Zane home from the hospital, the dam I’d kept my fears behind burst well and truly open. Late that night while everyone else was asleep, I walked out into the cold night on the hilltop of my mother’s rural property and pleaded with an Almighty Father I barely even knew, but that I instinctively understood could help me. I cried and shivered and looked up at the starry sky and emptied myself out in a way I had never done before.

    Of course, once I was done, I walked back in and kept on doing what I’d always done. But He heard his wretched sheep, and He would answer in a way so unexpected and unique that there was no way it could have been anyone else coming to my rescue.

    Still unregenerate and unrepentant, we did our best to raise Zane in what we thought was the best way. The night on the hill faded from my mind as Post-Partum Depression rampaged through my mind and threatened to tear it apart. I kept it secret from Eric and the rest of my family. Eventually those monsters faded and life went back to normal. We moved away from my parents’ house and into a tiny little house in Blanco, TX, then eventually to a larger house. We got heavily involved with blogging and through that network we made various friends. Some of them claimed affiliation with Christ Jesus, of those a few truly modeled the Gospel in their lives.

    On a drizzling Spring day, after several online conversations with friends, I confessed my sins to Christ. I cried to Him to take the pathetic thing that was me and mold me into His vessel. As soon as I finished the last word, the rain went from fine drizzle to a hard downpour. I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to walk out in it, and was “baptized” that day. A few days later I was given an NIV Bible by a well-meaning lady and struggled to understand it. This was all done in secret, as Eric wouldn’t have approved of my faith at the time. He hated Christianity with a passion. I didn’t know how to explain my conversion to him, or how to defend it, and I was still trying to understand all the things that were written in the Bible I was given. I prayed to God for help.

    The quarter it came in was thoroughly unusual. I got a knock on the door two days later. I opened it to find a neatly-dressed couple wanting to talk to me about Jehovah…

    Thus would begin my indoctrination into the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This would last three years and would nearly rip our little family apart. I look back on it now and see how God was maneuvering things, but at the time it was so very painful and nerve-wracking for us. Only through the lens of Christ am I able to look back on it with any fondness, and only because if it had not been for these events, my current walk with Christ wouldn’t be as deep or sublimely sweet as it is now.

    Distraught at the fact that his wife and son were becoming involved in a quasi-Christian cult, Eric began studying the Bible and various counter-cult media to find out how to blast holes in the Witnesses’ warped doctrine. Growing up in a family that was (at the time) shallowly religious had left him with some knowledge of the Bible but a bad distaste for the faith. He knew that what the JWs preached was thoroughly wrong. But his aim was just to get me and our boy out of the cult, not to bring us into the True Christ.

    God, however, had other plans. Eric studied the Scriptures, and so he was confronted with answers to many of the questions he had had since childhood. He resisted at first. He didn’t want to let go of all his old hatreds and angers that had fueled him for so long. He didn’t want to relinquish control.

    Then one afternoon, as he was coming up from sleep into consciousness and the start of another night at work, the Holy Spirit suddenly shone a spotlight of illumination on everything that he had been studying. As he described it later, “All the pieces that had been drifting around in my head finally fell into place.”

    While this was happening, I was also feeling a gnawing sense that something was horribly wrong with what I was learning. By that point we had moved into our newly-purchased house in Granite Shoals and I had moved to another Kingdom Hall. I was becoming more and more immersed into the works-based, Trinity-denying, Spirit-blaspheming nonsense that the Witnesses push. I took the sense of unease as the Devil trying to lead me astray, and so I desperately tried to fill my mind and my time up with as much Witness-related activities and literature as possible. The stress to continue performing to the Organization’s ever-higher standards became unbearable, and eventually I snapped. In June 2006 I was steamrolled by a massive case of depression that left me bedridden for almost a week. I could not meet my weekly allotment of field service (public preaching, and handing out of magazines and tracts) and so my status as “Unbaptized Publisher” took a bad hit. Later that month the elders of the Kingdom Hall met with me, to tell me that because of my depressive episode knocking back my hours, I would no longer qualify for that August’s baptism session at their three-day Regional Convention. (They baptize followers, en masse, instead of individually, and only after a certain number of hours are spent in study and a certain number of hours of public preaching are met.)

    I had been so hoping to be baptized then. Now months of hard work was undone and I would have to start over. It could be another year before I was baptized! I was devastated by the news. But the situation also knocked the rose-colored glasses off my face, and I began to see the cracks in the thin veneer of the Organization’s piety. I continued to attend the Kingdom Hall and study, but the damage had been done. The more I read, the greater the cognitive dissonance became.

    Right as this reached its peak, in late July, my husband’s attitude and behavior suddenly changed. He went from surly, indifferent and hyper-critical of everything I did, to sweet and loving and full of encouragement. I had never seen him this way! The change was so profound! He complimented me on my cooking, he hugged me every chance he got…he would even call me up during his breaks at work, just to talk with me. Surely this wasn’t my husband, was it? Did he find another woman and he’s covering it up? Was he taking drugs? I started looking for the Alien Pod in the backyard.

    After a couple of days of this, I finally asked him what was up. He explained that he had something wonderful and special to share, but he was afraid I would be mad at him and he wanted to find the right time to tell me. Needless to say, I was ready to thrash him because I thought he was going to hand me divorce papers! Finally he could hold it in no longer. I stormed into the bedroom as he was getting ready for work, and demanded he ‘fess up’.

    What happened next I will never forget. As he began to tell me of his confession to Christ Jesus, he became bathed in a soft and gentle glow and I could feel the Holy Spirit’s presence in the room! Right then and there, the cobwebs were blown away and I could see without a doubt that the teachings of the Witnesses were not only wrong, but thoroughly dangerous. They teach that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal tool, “God’s active force,” that is only conferred upon the Witness “elect.” And yet here was an unbaptized man whose very pores seemed to emanate the living Person of the Spirit! If that teaching was wrong, then how many others were…? (I would come to find out almost everything in the New Testament–and especially Revelation–had been cunningly re-written to fit their agenda, but that’s another story entirely…)

    Right then and there I also made my confession to the Savior…again! I turned my back on the Witnesses, and never darkened the Kingdom Hall’s doorstep again.

    We both cried and hugged each other, and prayed together, and came together to Christ the Savior: The One who had carried us through those rough straits all this time so that His Father’s glory would be made so evident to us. And from that day forward, our family has never been stronger or happier. Even with the trials we have faced since then, we cling to the Rock for our strength, and raise our voices in praise to the One True Lamb, our Redeemer, our mighty Prince of Peace, our Shepherd Jesus Christ. Maranatha, Lord! Amen!

    • What a wonderful testimony to the grace of our Saviour, Denita. Yes, we do marvel at God’s marvelous love for us whilst we were still His enemies. And of course, regardless how man views our sin, God does not distinguish between the vilest offender and the so-called upright man or woman – all fall far short of God’s standard of sinless perfection. In God’s eyes, we all stand condemned by our sins – yet He chose to send His son to die in our place – hallelujah! What a Saviour!

    • Denita, what a story! Your courage and strength is amazing. Thank you for sharing it. Your honesty in how God lead you from the depths of despair to where you are now, highlights your willingness for others to see how God has impacted your life and how immense His mercy is. Before Him in our own efforts we may appear as nothing more then dirty rags, however while we were still sinners His Son died for us. If He sacrificed His Son for us while we were still rotten before Him, how much more will He save us when we are in Christ. Take heart Denita where God has lead you. Although it’s clearly been a painful road at times, God will use your experiences to draw others the the mercy and love He freely gives, whilst glorifying His great name!

      • Thank you all for your encouragement! But I cannot stress enough how much it is not MY strength, but Christ who strengthens me and my family. I know y’all understand that, but I must proclaim His Name every chance I get and I am going to do it even now, among brothers and sisters. Thank you all for your prayers and kind words!

        Looking back on the course of my life, I can see so clearly where God had His mighty hand in it all. Even in the most depraved moments of my life, He is there. In my heathen arrogance I thought I was a fish swimming against the flow in defiance of God–but the river still led me down its course and into His net. I could no more avoid Him than I can stroll along the bottom of the ocean.

        PSALM 139
        O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
        2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
        you discern my thoughts from afar.
        3 You search out my path and my lying down
        and are acquainted with all my ways.
        4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
        behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
        5 You hem me in, behind and before,
        and lay your hand upon me.
        6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
        it is high; I cannot attain it.

        7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
        Or where shall I flee from your presence?
        8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
        If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
        9 If I take the wings of the morning
        and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
        10 even there your hand shall lead me,
        and your right hand shall hold me.
        11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
        and the light about me be night,”
        12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
        the night is bright as the day,
        for darkness is as light with you.

        13 For you formed my inward parts;
        you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
        14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
        Wonderful are your works;
        my soul knows it very well.
        15 My frame was not hidden from you,
        when I was being made in secret,
        intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
        16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
        in your book were written, every one of them,
        the days that were formed for me,
        when as yet there was none of them.

        17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
        How vast is the sum of them!
        18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
        I awake, and I am still with you.

        19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
        O men of blood, depart from me!
        20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
        your enemies take your name in vain!
        21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
        And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
        22 I hate them with complete hatred;
        I count them my enemies.

        23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
        Try me and know my thoughts!
        24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
        and lead me in the way everlasting!

  7. Thank you to all for sharing your personal journey with us. While everyone’s experiences are different what never changes is our God’s love, grace, mercy and patience for each person. There is no place on earth we can hid from Him, no place that is too far for Him to find us, nothing that is too ‘bad’ for Him to forgive us for. He is the God of new beginnings, of fresh starts.
    Thanks again.

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