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How I Became A Christian - My Testimony
Note: This hub is a lengthy read. If you are someone who hates reading long articles, it is advisable for you to print this first before reading.
This hub is a sequel to my other hub “What Made Me an Atheist.” If you haven’t read it yet, have a look at it first before proceeding here, but if you find it unnecessary, then just carry on reading.
The thought of writing this hub had always intimidated me but never somehow been enough to hinder the task fulfilled. Ignoring the idea proved to be ineffective for it has always haunted me. I guess the only way I could get over with this is to finally finish and publish this particular piece. I am intimidated by it because this is an account of my conversion to Christianity and of my sudden belief that the bible is indeed the Word of God, and that if once published, it’ll be available for everyone to see.
Telling my testimony in full honesty and at the same not losing coherence with sound rationality is I believe the biggest challenge I will have to face in this particular hub.
All this time while thinking over on how I am going to do this, I’m always in constant prayer to God that may He give me wisdom, and enough supply of words appropriate to convey my message to the best possible it could be. I also pray that may He give me strength and courage enough to withstand the ridicules, mockeries, and derisions of the critiques; may He give me strong foundations to stand firm, unwavering even if the waves are too strong.
I, by the way, am not writing this for the use of non-believers or to somehow convince them; to do so would be a labor of futility for that task is beyond my capabilities, and is neither something I desire doing. The reason for sharing my testimony is because I believe God wants to use me as an instrument to help those who are half convinced, and those who are still in question, and those who are still in search of Him. I may not provide the best solution or answer to their problems but I’m certain this can somehow help them for whatever reason.
The revelation you are going to read will prove that this was not written to convert Atheists nor this was written to reason out to their arguments. This may not also be the typical version of Christian conversion you might possibly have heard of. I am only going to share with you how God intervened in my life and how that finally changed me and made me a new being.
Knowing that there isn’t any deity watching me over was a great relief. Life was very fulfilling. I was finally free of worry, free of guilt because anything was justifiable, free from paranoia, free from any kind of worship, and free from weekly obligatory churchgoing. I can now bother myself with more meaningful and productive activities than worship and pray.
I acquired a different attitude in life. Everything became materialistic; I seemed to only care for the here-and-now. I became selfish in a way that would at least somehow benefit not only me but also my loved ones. I noticed I started ignoring the built-in morals implanted in me. Just back anything up with the word “love” and you’re fine, no guilt aftereffects. I couldn’t care less about others and what they thought of me or what they say.
While living in this new found liberty, I also have stumbled upon and have accommodated the ideologies of new age pantheism. It was beneficial and it certainly gave me a boost on my optimism. Despite living in a very tough situation due to global financial crisis, life was still somehow good though not very generous. I guess embracing some other self-centered principles really helped me somehow.
Life was focused mainly and only on my ambitions, my dreams, and my responsibility to provide for my family.
Due to recession, our office decided to downsize and have many of our colleagues terminated from their jobs. I was sent on unpaid leave. I’m still fortunate enough though to be called back to work but this time I’ll only be getting half of my monthly salary. It was a better offer than to totally lose the job.
When I got back in the office, I noticed that everything was re-organized and have the occupation of space minimized. I was put in one corner in a desk that shares two seats only to find out that my seat mate is a Christian. We get along well, alright. I’ve also never really had big disputes with her. I didn’t know she was a devout Christian until she had debated one of our colleagues claiming there should be an absolute truth; our other colleague argued that there couldn’t be an absolute truth, for how can there be if truth depends on the verdict of an individual. I was at that time in favor of my other colleague because he sounded more realistic, more academic, and more reasonable. However, I was amazed by my seatmate’s determination.
While on the desk, we don’t talk anything about religion because as much as possible I try to stay away from it. I knew she’d argue with me if she learned that I was an Atheist. I was intrigued by this mysterious woman; I suddenly acquired this urge to turn this lady into an Atheist. I know I can do it. I was just concerned about her. She already became a friend and I don’t want her to continue in her delusion. I started asking her questions, questions that would shake her faith but I still managed being discreet of my true intent. To my amazement, she would answer my questions with confidence and with an authoritative tone. She often will reply my question with another question and gives the burden to me. It was annoying. She was good at that. I was really challenged.
Time went on and I learned she wasn’t the type who would go freaking out if told that her faith is delusional. I was suddenly instead became the subject of conversion without me noticing it. When it comes to our religious conversations, she would dominate. I started allowing myself to be fed by her words and allow the understanding come in. I started becoming more open-minded with Christianity. I must admit that I didn’t have the understanding of who God is to start with and that without a doubt led me wandering lost yet satisfied in this worldly nothingness.
She started introducing me to Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Pink, C.S. Lewis, and to our current Fundamental Baptist Preachers such as John Piper and the like.
I started reading these great individuals’ works and hearing their sermons. I started becoming hungry of their knowledge about God. There was just something very fulfilling about it. At one time, I decided to stop focusing my time on these guys because doing so eats a lot of my time and it does not allow me to do one particular task - reading my Bible.
I don’t know what happened to me but I suddenly possessed the urge of seeking knowledge about who God really is and something in me dictates that I am in the right track, and that I am holding the right book, and that I am looking up and listening to the right people.
I realized I was being completely biased on the skeptics’ side and not even accommodate the answers offered by the criticized. I really thought I was open-minded. I never really realized that I was close-minded about God. Whenever God was brought about by someone in a conversation, I cover my ears and wait for my turn to spit out my reasoning in dismay. I was surprised for my sudden change. I decided to read the Bible and not just read it; there was a thirst that I know can never be satiated unless understanding it to its full extent. However, I am still struggling with my indecisiveness whether if this is the right thing to do or not. This would certainly eat up a lot of my time and it will compromise my personal productiveness.
Days had gone by until there was one night when my daughter fell asleep early and my wife as well. I knew I had to read the Bible and that would be my very first time. I felt a bit of excitement and anxiousness. My hands are mildly quivering as I hold it in my hand.
I opened it and the book of Genesis welcomed me with the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I read it uttering the words.
I did not move from there. I stared at the text for a while and I couldn’t believe that it had such a powerful effect on me. I reiterated the words in my mind while still staring at it. For three minutes, I did nothing but stare at it. My mind went blank in fascination. It was as if the words are really coming from the creator Himself. I continued reading slowly on the whole chapter of creation. God ended the chapter with the words “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Honestly, that was the very first time I heard He said that. He was pleased. I was amazed by the words. Then, I continued reading on chapter 2 and The Fall of Man.
I gently dropped the book. To my surprise, my chest was pounding very fast. I couldn’t sleep. From time to time I will look at my wife and my daughter and I will to some extent be calmed but still not enough to totally calm me down. I became paranoid. I didn’t want to believe; I still tried telling myself that God isn’t real and remind myself of all the things I’ve learned. I tend to run to my atheism for a rescue but to no avail, the belief has already been injected in me. It was a very arduous psychological battle. I eventually got tired fighting over it and got asleep.
That was the first hour I believed. I was reluctant but I know I did believe.
I continued reading on the next days at the same timing when my wife and daughter are asleep. I continued on Cain and Abel, on Noah, on Noah’s sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth), on the Tower of Babel until I finish the whole Genesis within a week.
When I was about to read Exodus, I can’t help but to be curious of the other remaining books especially the New Testament. So, I decided that while I’m on my journey reading through my own Bible, I’d listen to the preaching of the preachers on the things I knew I’ve been missing. I’ve thought of expediting the process and this is just a great way of doing it.
At work, at lunch time, I’d listen to a preaching for almost an hour. Sometimes if it’s not an audio file, I would read it in a text format. And at night, I would continue reading my Bible. This was the daily routine I’ve learned to accept as part of my everyday tasks. I couldn’t believe I was doing it. I know I’m not acting of myself lately and I’m really confused already. I know if I would only follow my heart, I won’t be wasting my time on this nonsense. I knew I already have the belief that the Bible indeed is from God, but my brain just couldn’t accept it. I know there’s no way I’m going to accept it. And every time it’ll come up in my mind, I’d be anxious, confused. I’m not trying to tell this to anyone even to my wife because she too would definitely be confused.
A month more, I am already a secretly full-blown believer but with a lot of questions. I still have a hold of the Atheist side of me. My wife is still an Atheist and I’m not sharing it to her yet. I am still confused and I don’t have the confidence to tell her. I know she’d just laugh at it and ignore the matter, and that is something I don’t want to happen. I fear that she would just reject the idea. I fear that I might just produce aloofness in our relationship.
I’m still listening and reading the Bible scholars’ works and eventually have come across “The Doctrine of Salvation.” This is the very turning point of my life. This particular event had a polarizing effect on me. This is when I got confirmation of my faith and felt God’s undying love for me. There are particular verses where great truths came off from it that I literally burst with joy and worship and praise. It made me absolutely ecstatic that I poured out praise and worship to God. Let me give you just a handful of some of these verses and also explaining how I went through them.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, the apostle Paul says
"God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation."
At first, when I heard this, it does not have any weight on me. It tells me something I vaguely understand but mystically I knew I got a little grasp of a hint.
Then, In Ephesians 1:4-5,11 we read
"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will ... also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."
This particular text tells me that I was predestined but this still does not make sense to me. It really just does not make sense. What is he talking about? I'm trying to understand what Paul really is saying here and I'm captivated by the thought of it so I carried on searching for more knowledge and discernment of His words.
In Ephesians 2:1-3 we read
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
The first phrase in these verses caught my attention. It talks about me being dead. I am dead in trespasses and sins. I have learned that the Apostle Paul was talking about the deadness of my spiritual life. I was spiritually dead and that there is no way a dead person can respond. A dead man can never by himself respond unless he was made alive again. At this point, I became frightened because a sinner can never have salvation if he is spiritually dead in sin. It seemed impossible. Yet, at that time of hearing this, I admittedly believed it is so.
In Romans 6:23, we read
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
There is salvation. Salvation comes in Christ our Lord but a spiritually dead man will just ignore Christ and will never and can never respond. I know this is true. I know I will not respond. As a convinced Atheist, I really knew I could have never responded. I’m totally confused at this point. There was a part of me that believes and a part that don’t, but the part that does dominate. I can feel God’s presence in me yet my mind tells me “No, you don’t!”
Then, I was shocked by what the Apostle Paul had said in Ephesians 2:8
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. AND THIS IS NOT YOUR OWN DOING; it is the gift of God,"
I was even more shocked by what our Lord Jesus Christ had said in John 6:44
"No one can come to me UNLESS THE FATHER WHO SENT ME DRAWS HIM. And I will raise him up on the last day."
The man inside me fell on his knees and knelt out of tremendous unspeakable emotion. An emotion I don't know what is. I was broken into pieces. I was like a paper being torn apart. I cried inside. Inside, I was shouting, screaming though not having any words to say. I wept. Oh, I wept all day. I'd sneak in the bathroom just to cry it out. The Lord's words "unless the Father draws him" just kept on reiterating on my mind and it kept on piercing my heart. Oh those words were real; they were so real to me. I knew I didn't play any part acquiring my faith. I knew myself and I knew I could have never responded to God in any way. And yet, I did. But How? By the grace of God. He’s given me faith, a gift I cannot resist even if I wanted to. It’s a gift given that required nothing from me.
While in the car driving, I'm still crying and kept on asking Him "Why me? Why choose me? Why me, Lord? Why me?" My chest was tight. My throat was in pain while I swallow my inner tears. I was hammering my chest to help me breathe. I knew I didn't deserve it. I didn’t deserve the grace granted upon me. He led me up to this stage and I played no part in it for it was all done outside of my will and desire. I carried this struggle the whole day, and the whole week. I couldn’t believe how gracious God is. It’s unbelievable.
That was the very first time I understood the word “Repentance.” The once apathetic word has now flourished and bloomed into its true meaning. I was born again in spirit. All those previous verses that I vaguely understood now make complete sense, and the more I read them, the more I become stronger in faith. I felt God’s love, the undeserved love, the undying love. Oh how great the message of salvation is. It can truly change lives and transform people into new beings.
These verses I’ve given here may not be easily understood and would seem unfair to some, but for someone who had just experienced the very words uttered by the Lord, he would burst into tears rejoicing in tremendous gratitude in an inexplicable way. If you’ve been a believer all your life, then this could still be ambiguous to you because the Father will have no need of drawing you from unbelief, you’ve already been drawn from the start. You haven’t experienced the process. And if you’re a non-believer, this equally won’t make sense because you still haven’t experienced being drawn by the Father. This will be a difficult thing to grasp, I know. This is more than a psychological process. You have to be drawn by the spirit to have complete discernment.
This is the most humbling experience of my life. I was humbled by God. He tamed the lion to become a sheep and cleansed it until there was no longer any blemish. He changed me from a self-righteous man to a penitent sinner.
Ever since my conversion, it has always been my greatest prayer to God to save my wife, my whole household. And indeed, God has blessed my whole family with His grace and together we’re so thankful about it. Truly, our God is great and He has great plans for us. My wife is very willing to support me serving the Lord. I have not imagined that all this would be possible. I am very fortunate.
Believe me brothers and sisters when I say that no matter how Atheistic you are, if God had drawn you to Him, you will be.
I continued on studying the word of God and I don’t know if this thirst will ever be quenched. I don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied.
Now that I have received Christ in me, there is no other desire in my heart stronger than to preach the gospel and spread the good news. I have never dreamed of becoming a servant, a pastor, or a preacher for God but it is now the dominating desire of my heart. Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to be someone famous, someone everybody would be envious of. Being a pastor to me back then appeared to be boring, unappealing, and such an undesirable career. That has now changed. I know I have a greater calling. I know I had to do it. It will be a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Lord, my Master and serve my brethren.
I asked our church if I could serve as a pastor. They were surprised by my eagerness but they told me it would take some trainings first before I ever become one. That didn’t discourage me. I would go for it no matter what. I was happy to know that they were very pleased by my announcement; they have been very supportive of me. I believe being here in HubPages would not be a bad start for my journey.
May God help me in this great task.
Now that I’m a Christian, what am I going to do now with the things I’ve learned? Am I just going to ignore them? Am I going to just abandon my reasoning and replace it with faith alone? Am I going to ignore science’s discoveries that claim to debunk Christianity? Am I going to just cover my ears when bashed by Atheists?
The answer is an emphatic NO. I was struggling on this when I’m still a new convert. I consulted to my seatmate and asked the same questions I had as an Atheist. Unfortunately, she doesn’t bother herself so much about it. Instead, she told me there is a field in Christian theology that aims to defend that the Christian faith is rational. It defends Christians from objections and it exposes the flaws of the world view perceived by many. That is Christian Apologetics.
The study of apologetics is however not a requirement for someone to be a Christian. It would somehow be beneficial though to arm ourselves with armor to block the attacks of the skeptics.
I’d love to discuss more on this in my upcoming hubs. Stay tuned.
I close with another quote from our Lord Jesus Christ assuring the eternal security of our salvation in John 10:28
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
I did not choose God. He chose me.
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