Anonymous testimony "Choosing To Make Jesus Lord" on 11/21/2011, 4:25pm...
This world, apart from God, offers cheap counterfeit illusions to satisfy man’s deepest cravings for meaning and purpose. I needed a standard, a system of values to build my life on. The enemy rejoiced when he convinced me there was godly wisdom in accepting nothing less than perfection, but when I looked in a mirror I found I too was flawed. I needed self worth to justify my existence, but my own standards condemned me. I needed grace, but lived under the demeaning power of guilt. I desperately needed hope but all evidence proved there would only be one disappointment and rejection after another. I was bound to an existence apart from the things I needed most.
I wanted to be a winner, but I saw myself as a loser. I began to turn my anger inward. My moral standards brought judgment on me, while my guilt demanded retribution. The anger and pain grew into depression and self-hate. I came to accept and justify that taking my own life was the only way out of the war that raged within. I was a walking dead man.
I needed a friend, but my heart knew it was completely alone. I hated the empty feeling of being alone and being a failure…OH; how I ached…my heart was so heavy…I wanted to die just to make the agony stop. I needed God. Through the witnessing of my first and last blind date I got saved just one to two weeks before going to Vietnam.
I married that blind date and by God’s grace we have been married 41 years. For a while there was temporary happiness, but over the next 10 years I drug my wife through all my misery. I slowly murdered her self esteem…crushed her spirit… and stretched her relationship with God.. As God’s faithful witness, she was in the direct line of fire when I vented my hostility toward God. Her own life was made miserable as my depression and perfectionism robbed her of life and joy. My willing participation and resultant addiction to pornography polluted and suffocated our relationship. My relentless argumentative spirit, negative attitude, utter selfishness and foul and poison tongue cut her spirit again and again. My unpredictable out burst of anger and moodiness made it not safe or desirable to be around me. I showed no restraint in front of our children and she constantly made excuses to them for my behavior. I terrorized my own house and shattered the very foundations of our marriage. Love almost died and even though my wife was counseled by many Christians to divorce me, my wife decided not to take the easy way out. Her love for the Lord led her to obedience I became her mission field and she became a living sacrifice for her husband. I finally saw and was pierced by the pain I caused her and the undeserved love she was giving but when I tried to repent and give her the love she deserved and needed. Though my heart was broken for her, apart from Jesus, I could not do it no matter how hard I tried.
I finally saw and was pierced by the pain I caused her and the undeserved love she was giving, but when I tried to repent and love her the way she deserved and needed… though my heart was broken for her... I found I didn’t know how and apart from Jesus, I could not accomplish it no matter how hard I tried.
Satan convinced me even God was a hypocrite and since God claimed to create every thing, that made Him alone responsible for all the ills I saw in the world and in my life. God, instead of being loving and caring only seemed interested in me as a play thing at best…I became bitterly angry with the “god” my experiences created…I hated Him…How well Satan did his job in making the truth appear to be a lie and the lies truth.
I lived in the unrealistic world of perfection and it was killing me. I could never live up to my own standards and expectations. Hell for me was just having to take another breath. My greatest wish was to be dead and end it all. Even though I had no real concept of the world of the dead, it still seemed better than the life I was living. I couldn’t bear it any longer. Death for me was a gamble and my tormentor convinced me I’d be better off dead. After twelve years of being a Christian, I finally told God, “If this is what being a Christian is, I CAN”T DO IT!!!” and for Him to get out of my life!
For 10 years my wife was faithfully praying and tried to point me back to the Lord, but I rejected her, just as I did Him. She began praying that if she wasn’t the person God would use to turn me around, that God would send someone else.
Two weeks after I told God to get out of my life, He sent a man, a complete stranger, who, in our very first conversation said, “I want to be your friend.” This man had his own painful story, but he loved God anyway. This man dared to reach out to me at a time when I rejected and condemned myself. He knew I had no faith and distrusted God, but he assured me he had enough faith for the both of us… and he did! He encouraged me, taught me how to laugh and held me accountable for taking my first baby steps back to God.
Because of my friend’s intervention, I decided to give God just…one…more…chance. What incredible arrogance and naivety on my part, but instead of giving me what I deserved God, Himself, came and personally visited me. It is hard to describe just what happened in that split second, but it was like I had spent a lifetime accumulating evidence that proved God was a “bad guy” and He came to set the record straight. But not vindictively, but more like a loving father would correct and guide His son. God so thoroughly proved His love for me that for the very first time I understood that not only was He real and alive, but also while I was accusing Him of being my worst enemy and hating Him, He was being my best friend and loving me. I was overwhelmed with my own guilt, but it was that very understanding that made the worth of His grace so clear. Then I began to understand why, even though I became a Christian 12 years earlier, that being a Christian in those years was so hard. When I first accepted Jesus’ offer of salvation, I only accepted “the offer.” I simply did not grasp “the offer” was the expression of God’s heart to develop a deep, personal relationship with me and that the relationship was the real substance of His offer. It wasn’t the things He could do for me, but it was to seek Him in love and gratitude for the things He’s already done… to seek Him for Himself and nothing else. The depth of this relationship and the resultant love and trust that develops is the very source of what enables me to willingly let Him be Lord over every part of my life, one revealed a part at a time.
As time moved forward, I began to experience the reality of the living God. My relationship wasn’t just second hand information or head knowledge anymore.
He chose to bring me to Himself and bathe me in His love. The shed blood of Jesus made it possible for God to say that He was not willing that I should perish. God proved those words were the very expression of His heart toward ME. I was lost, confused, beaten, rejected and was crusted and saturated in sin. In that dark place I lived the Holiest of Holies came anxiously searching for the wretch that was me. His wish for me was not death, but life. Not the miserable existence I previously knew as life, but “real life,” which was possible only through Him. His grace put my guilt in proper prospective. His love absorbed, conquered and transformed my anger and hate into peace. His death gave me “real life”. His truth exposed the lies and taught me how to live this life as he meant it to be. He adopted me and made me a joint heir with Jesus. He calls me one of His own. He gave me self worth and dignity. His faithfulness spawned trust in me. This trust dissipated my fear. His friendship overflowed my loneliness. His care, wisdom, and power mercifully killed the old sick me and caused me to be born again with a brand new heart, modeled after His own. He filled me with emotion and showed me the proper way to use it. He taught me how to love Him and respond to Him. He continues to develop and infuse His own character in me. He is my constant mentor and companion. His presence satisfies my deepest desire for good and is the source of the purpose and meaning for my existence. His voice brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. He listens to me and responds in the most loving and suitable ways. He delights when I call Him “Daddy.” He guides me from moment to moment. He is my strength. He continues to unravel my most complex inner problems and leads me to healing. Our relationship continues to deepen. He is showing me not only how to live in this sick and fallen world, but to grow in it.
I stand before you through no efforts of my own. The tremendous cost of where I am today was paid for by Jesus, but also by the long suffering of my wife as she daily continued to trust and love her Lord with no guarantees that I would ever change. Jesus’ work in me is still in progress and I still blow it more than I care to admit, but now, I both live and walk in the freedom of His grace. As of today Jesus is my Savior, Lord, Best Friend, Mentor, Role Model and Hero.
My testimony isn’t about just being saved. It is also about choosing to make Jesus Lord. Freedom and fulfillment both start and are sustained by pursing Jesus, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. He does all the rest.