- Religion and Philosophy
My Life Testimony: The Triumph of the "LIGHT of CHRIST"
“THE TRIUMPH OF THE LIGHT OF CHRIST”
(by: Cristy Santander)
“CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT”
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wiseman boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me; that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
I was once a person who was naturally a very proud person. As young as I was, I desire to have the best for myself, that’s why I worked hard to be the best among the rest.
Graduating as one of the top five of batch 79 of Justo Lukban Elementary School started to puff up my mind. My mind was even more puffed up when I was able to enter the most prestigious high school in Manila, Manila Science High School and was able to enter the honor class or star section in the second year. I was aiming again to graduate as a medalist in high school, when suddenly I experienced nervous breakdown or depression at the beginning of school year 1982-1983. I was not able to graduate that school year. I graduated from high school the next school year, March of 1984. I was humbled for being a proud person.
It was in academic excellence, I sought my fulfillment, because it gave me much glory. For being a proud person, I always desired self-glory. This is just natural for a person living in darkness, outside the Kingdom of God.
I remained walking in pride for the succeeding years, until the day that I was humbled, the day that I have a spiritual encounter with the living Christ. The year was 1991, particularly the Christmas season of 1991. That was the time I received the mighty in filling of the Holy Spirit.
During one of those cold nights of December, 1991, I was invited to have an evangelistic bible study services by a certain lovely lady named Chickee, who was from a certain Christian church in Makati City. I gave in to her invitation and sit with her for several nights at Greenbelt Park, Makati City.
As we went deeper into our study, I could sense that the Word of God was becoming more alive each passing night. My heart was being warmed. When we reached the session called as “Light and Darkness, I was really struck by the power of the Word of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 revealed so much about my carnal nature.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions’, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Even though I professed to receive Christ seven years earlier, I remained walking with prideful heart. Selfish ambitions still rule my heart and I still struggle with my fleshly desires, hatred, obsessions or ‘idols’ of the heart, envying, fits of rage. Though I professed Christianity in 1984, I lived as a carnal person. I have no power to live the supernatural life of a Christian as lived by the first century disciples of Christ. I was not victorious over sin, I lived a defeated life. I reformed in some ways but the big three, “the pride of life”, “lust of the flesh” and the “lust of the eyes" remained unseated.
Then I realized that I was no ordinary sinner, I was indeed a terrible sinner, and it broke my heart to realized that I have astrayed so far from the Great and Awesome God of the universe. It really crushed my spirit and I was shattered that night. I have fully realized I can receive forgiveness only through God’s mercy and grace. I saw the “Cross of Christ” as my only hope. For the first time, I beheld its beauty.
When I went home that night, while I was riding on a bus, tears I could not control started to fall on my cheeks. Then I felt an unspeakable joy that I could not explain nor describe something that I had never experienced before. I felt an abounding rivers of love flowing out of me and I felt love and compassion for every people I met. Then my heart was emptied from all hatred, earthly desires andselfish ambitions as I experienced His awesome presence. I have known deep inside my heart that I was finally in Him. From that moment on, the eternal kingdom of God began to dwell inside my heart.
It was indeed a face to face encounter with the “living Christ”. From that encounter, I have fully realized, my true condition before god. I’ve seen the depth of my sinfulness, the blackness of my heart and the filthiness of my soul. I will never be the same again. I have realized based on Galatians 5:19-21, with all my pride and selfish ambitions, I will never be a heir of the Kingdom of God. I repented of all my pride, filthiness and self-centeredness and surrendered my life completely to the Lord Jesus Christ. God has now become a living reality to me. He is not just a doctrine nor Theology. I have experienced Him.
I was utterly humbled by God after that experience, I ceased from dreaming great things for myself. My heart started to yearn for the things of heaven, where Christ is seated at the right of God the Father. I started to sing His praises and to declare His wonderful works who called me out of darkness into His marvelous Lights. For the first time, I had been a true worshipper of God in Spirit and in truth.
I consider this spiritual experience as God’s greatest blessing in my life for the past 50 years. The devil had planned in advance to destroy my life through my pride, but God is indeed powerful and sovereign. Not even a single plan of His can be thwarted. Though once, my life was almost ruined because of my pride, God has shown me great mercy and restored my life and made me whole again. Today, I declare that God is indeed AWESOME. He has been truly faithful to me for the past fifty years. Let His great NAME be praised forever!
That happened almost 25 years ago. Throughout those 25 years, I experienced hard blows in life but God never forsook me. He always lead me to victory. I experienced God as my Jehovah Jireh, (my God, my Provider) my Jehovah Rahpah (my God, my Healer) and Jehovah Shalom (my God, my Peace). Today He is now my sole provider, comforter and companion. I will always find my ultimate delight in His fellowship.
Let me say,
“The one thing that gives value and beauty to one’s life is the love of God.”
Let me also greet you,
“A Blessed Resurrection Day!”
The resurrection of Christ is the ultimate victory of life over death, and also the ultimate victory of light over darkness. Today as I celebrate my 50th birthday, I also celebrate the triumph of the “light of Christ” over the darkness in my life.
For God’s greatest glory.
Maria Cristina Aquino Santander