Every genuine Christian has one. It stands without question and will not suffer debate. But the true beauty of a genuine believer’s own personal conversion is never focused on themselves, the state is sinfulness they lived in, the circumstances that lead them to the Lord, or even how their life has changed post-conversion.
The real beauty of a spiritual conversion is always the God who saves!
The focus is always on Christ. And because Jesus Christ is the focus, no testimony is ever boring, because God is never boring. Every Christian’s personal testimony is beautiful and worthy of declaring to the world, even if you were raised in a “Christian home” and were saved at the age of 6.
You see, the focus is always to be on God who is the Giver of salvation and not so much on the person is who the recipient. We offer our sin to the conversion recipe and the Lord provides His grace.
This is why you ought to write down your own personal salvation story.
Below is my own personal testimony of how the Lord led me to Himself. I pray that mine will be the first in a long list of personal testimonies that are written down, shared, and posted on this blog. If you’d be willing to write and share yours on this blog, please contact me.
Who knows, God might just use your story to draw someone to Himself. Now wouldn’t that be awesome!
Planting The Seed
I was just an ordinary fifteen-year-old blasphemer the first time someone cared enough to share the gospel with me. I don’t recall most of the finer details of that witnessing encounter, but I do remember one thing as clear as day. I remember being brutally handcuffed with envy as the two Christians turned to walk away.
By the time I turned fifteen I was neck-deep in the mire of my teenage rebellion. It was just another weekend during the high school year and I was hanging out on a street corner one night with three of my friends. It was called ‘The Ave’ and cars packed with wild teenagers cruised up and down the boulevard strutting their stuff. Those without a driver’s license (me, for example) were forced to hang out in groups along the sidewalk and wait for mischief to cross our path.
And it usually did.
We had been drinking alcohol that night. I remember my buddies and I being somewhat obnoxious when, suddenly, the crowd parted down the middle of the sidewalk like a human Red Sea. Through the midst of fleeing bodies, two blond-haired teenagers marched toward us with a mission (or more specifically, a Great Commission). They were a brother and sister duo and were part of a larger church group that walked up and down ‘The Ave’ sharing their Christian faith with whomever cared to listen.
Or at least anyone who wouldn’t walk away.
It was obvious those two kids were out of place. The Bibles in their hands simply didn’t belong. Like everyone else, I tried to scurry out of their way but for some crazy reason my feet just would not move. How strange.
Those two faithful witnesses walked over to us and, even today, I can still picture the nervous tension etched on their faces. Despite their fears of man, however, they graciously began sharing with us about things like sin, hell, heaven, and faith in Jesus Christ.
I wish I could say that my depraved friends and I were courteous to those two—even civil—but to do so would be to tell a lie that would make even Judas Iscariot blush. Though we stopped short of spitting in their faces or smacking their Bibles to the pavement, we weren’t exactly what you would call encouraging, either.
My buddies and I blasphemed, joked, blasphemed, cursed, blasphemed, poked fun at, blasphemed, and otherwise challenged those two Christians with blasphemous questions like, “Oh yeah….so who made God then?”
Did I mention that I was a blasphemer? Every time the issue of my sin surfaced in the conversation, I dodged and parried with another ‘stump the Christian’ type of question. I’m ashamed even today.
I don’t remember much else from that ten minute, divinely-orchestrated conversation, but the two budding evangelists eventually thanked us for talking with them and then shuffled over to the next huddle of teenage drunkards. However, I clearly remember the thoughts that raced through my mind as they turned to walk away.
I remember being smitten with jealousy and thinking, “I wish I had what they had.” My buddies and I began discussing the conversation a few minutes later. We agreed that it took guts to go around and talk to people like that. Though thoroughly unrepentant, we couldn’t help but be impressed.
I am not sure who was more envious of those two young Christians that night—me, or my depraved friends.
Watering The Planted Seed
That first gospel seed was planted in the soil of my teenage heart and, seven years later while a senior in college, the Lord decided it should bear fruit.
A student co-worker (her name is Kiri) of mine in college lived two floors below me in the same dormitory and was a faithful Christian armed a godly lifestyle. Kiri and I became friends because of our jobs (we were Resident Assistants on our dormitory floors) and shortly after meeting for the first time I learned she was a Christian.
For the second time now I wish I could say I was somewhat courteous to the few Christians who crossed my path. But I wasn’t. Over the weeks that followed, I debated with Kiri about many spiritual things, yet she patiently held her ground.
In fact, whenever she didn’t have an answer to one of my questions, she would stay awake all that night looking up the answers in her Bible. She’d then write out a handwritten letter with the answers—including their corresponding Bible verses—and then slide the letter under my door in the middle of the night. More often than not, those letters were five or six pages long. Written on both sides of the paper. Written by hand!
I did not deserve such kindness.
Although I didn’t always agree (or rather, want to agree) with her answers, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how caring she was to do that for me. I knew it had to have taken a lot of time, effort, and loss of sleep on her part. God was working through Kiri’s obedience as He mercifully watered and nurtured the gospel seed sown in my heart seven years earlier.
It was because of those conversations and letters from Kiri that I decided—out of sheer curiosity—to begin reading the Bible for myself. Kiri was eager to help me pick one out and encouraged me to begin with the Gospel of Matthew.
And so I did.
I decided to read six chapters each night before I went to sleep. I don’t know why I decided on six chapters but it seemed like a good round number. Even when I went to the night clubs and got drunk (usually two to four times a week), I was determined to return to my dorm room and read the next six chapters before I passed out. More often than not, I would successfully make it through all six chapters. (How comforting it is to know that God’s Word is so wonderfully sharp that it can even pierce through a drunken and depraved mind like mine!)
During the weeks that followed, the Lord was working on me; pricking my conscience with the sharpness of His Word and cultivating the soil of my heart. One morning shortly thereafter, the Lord chose to call me into His kingdom.
Harvesting Fruit From A Planted, Watered Seed
I went out drinking at one of the local bars, got really drunk, staggered back to my dorm room, read six chapters of the Bible, and then proceeded to pass out. Nothing new there. Pretty typical stuff. However, the next morning ushered in the dawn of my second birth.
I awoke in my bed around 10:30 am, smelling like a smoky tavern and hung over with a slight headache. My curtains were drawn closed but there was a single, golden beam of sunshine peeking through a crack. I sat on my bed and just stared at that ray of light for nearly ten minutes.
All my attention was fixed on the beam of light. As I examined its shape in the shadows of my room, I could think of nothing else except this verse from the Bible that I had recently read: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5).
That verse rattled me and I suddenly became appalled at the depth of my sin. The Lord was unmasking my ignorance and showing me the spiritual darkness of my soul. I realized that I was in the darkness—no, I was the darkness!—and that there was no light in me. Not even a weak flicker.
I then began to examine the contents of my room; the posters hanging on my wall, the music I listened to, and everything else that defined who I was. I became ashamed of myself and so convicted that I began to weep.
The Lord lifted the veil from my eyes, showing me that unless He shined the light of His forgiveness in me that I would go to hell forever. And rightly so! I understood that everything about me offended God and I began to tremble.
The evidence against me was too overwhelming.
I jumped out of bed and fell to my knees in tearful confession of my sins. I pleaded for His mercy and forgiveness and even repeatedly beat my chest because I remembered reading in the Bible that a sinner did that and Jesus said he went away forgiven (c.f. Luke 18:9-14).
I started naming every sin I could think of or remember having committed (yes, it was a long prayer of confession). I was ashamed of my life because everything about it was offensive to Him and I fervently prayed for close to an hour (the first fruit of my salvation and not the means of receiving it).
I ended that morning with praise for my new Savior. I had been freed from the burden of sin and escaped the wrath to come. I knew, without a doubt, that I was forever forgiven. What a blessed morning that was!
I then got up off the floor, tore the posters off the wall and threw them into the trash, along with all my CD’s and every possession I had which did not honor my new Lord. I didn’t have many possessions left over once I was finished but I couldn’t care less. All I wanted to do at that moment was honor God.
Sin had become exceedingly sinful to me.
I showered and then walked to the cafeteria where I was supposed to meet my friends for lunch. These were the same friends I went out drinking with the night before. I planned to share my new faith with them and hoped that they would appreciate my reason for not going out to the bars anymore.
I Decided To Become A Gardener
I must confess that in my new-found joy I never stopped to consider how strange all this would sound to my soon to be ex-drinking buddies. All I thought about was how free I felt and I wanted to share it with everyone I knew. As you might suspect, my news didn’t exactly fall on receptive ears. Hung over ears, yes—but not receptive ones.
My friends blasphemed, laughed, blasphemed, called me a hypocrite, blasphemed, and one of them even got rather belligerent. Raising his voice in anger, he argued that his father was a Lutheran pastor and that fact practically guaranteed him a front row seat in heaven! Well, I did not know how to respond to that so I just tried my best to explain what happened to me and that God could save them as well, if they were willing.
It didn’t go over too well (humanly speaking, of course) but I had, unknowingly at the time, planted three new gospel seeds.
Back then I didn’t think my first witnessing experience was all that successful. Today, however, I am better informed. I had planted eternal Seed and that is precisely what two obedient teenagers did for me when I was just fifteen years old.
We plant the Seed, we water the Seed, but God alone gives the increase.
As I reflect upon those three witnessing experiences, I now understand that I was trying to duplicate with my ex-drinking buddies what someone had done for me. Sharing the gospel is precisely that. Christians sow seed with the hope of spiritual duplication. Believers share the goodnews hoping to win souls for Christ, knowing that we—ourselves—were saved by similar means.
I remain convinced that if God’s children would simply be obedient to the commands of the Great Commission, the Lord will do His work!
Do you have a personal testimony that you’d like to share with this community of readers? Contact me if you do. God bless!
Image credit: Chris Van Den Berg (Creation Swap)