For years now I have considered my testimony of how I became a true Christian to be somewhat unexciting. I still think so. It’s not like I was at my deepest and most broken moment. It wasn’t like I was doing drugs or going around robbing banks and going to prison. I wasn’t even bullied at school or feeling all alone and such.
I’ve heard of great people who went through a lot. Angus Buchan was losing his family and working himself to death (watch the film Faith Like Potatoes or look for MMC videos). David Wood was a literal psychopath who didn’t have any feelings and even beat the hell out of his own father’s head with a tool (look for How I became a Christian David Wood on YouTube). Those are just two. But here’s mine.
I grew up in a Christian family. A true one. My mother was saved when she was at school and she in turn got my grandparents saved. That was long before I was born. The fact is my family were truly Christians. They weren’t the missionary type. They are more the kind who tries to live an example, though I think for a few years my mother was straying from the path, though always Christian.
I was not baptised as an infant. In the NG Church, a very prominent church in South Africa, people are baptised as babies. I wasn’t. There was some confusing about my father who was never accepted into church and all that.
When I was 7 I wanted to be baptised. I did it entirely out of my own will with no influence from any one else whatsoever.
In primary school (basically from age 7 to 13) I was a believer. I read my bible at times, even in class. I was always the obedient, smart, reserved, shy boy. I think it was at the start of my teens that things started to go a bit awry. I remember vaguely being a bit too harsh on a guy at school when I was 13.
The next year I went to High School (age 14 to 18). I guess because I became a teen I became extremely interested in sex, though privately. I frequently fantasized, and worse, I started watching porn. I watched it on and off for a year and a half. At one stage it became rather consuming, but it was never an all encompassing addiction, though an addiction it definitely was.
I was still a “christian” in these times. I knew it was wrong and I felt bad for a long while everytime I watched it. Or for a while I felt bad. There was a time where for I would go for days without praying.
But with God’s help, I prayed, I defeated it at the end of Grade 9 (when I was 15). Admittedly there were times afterwards where I fell back, it was never an addiction again. But the devil always has something else up his sleeves.
At the start of Grade 10 (age 16) I became incredibly intellectual for my age. I became interested in all kinds of debates. One in particular started gnawing at my faith: Ancient Astronaut theory. I watched the show Ancient Aliens and later I bought a book which I still have, Temples of the African Gods. Though actually a bad book, I started to question the stories in the Bible. Perhaps aliens explain the “miracles” in the Bible better than some unlikely, benevolent father figure.
At that age I also started having trouble praying. Each and every time the moment I closed my eyes to pray I would get these sinful, sexual, images in my head. I couldn’t pray.
Then came Easter. On Easter Monday we went to a church (not ours) to watch a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ. Afterwards they gave opportunity for people to give their lives to Christ. We just had to raise our hands while we pray as we sat for someone to come to us. I remember how difficult it was for myself to raise my hand. Especially in front of my family.
We then had to walk all the way to the center of the church. It’s a HUGE church. There we prayed a type of sinners prayer. I remember when I prayed I could literally feel those sinful thoughts trying desperately to cloud my mind with their nonsense again. I could feel whatever it was trying to block out my prayer. But it couldn’t. I gave my life to Christ that day. It was an awesome clean, relieved feeling.
Looking back it didn’t change me much immediately. Like I said, it’s not like I suddenly got over a drug addiction. I was simply reborn. I didn’t really tell my friends. Only last year did I realise how I actually changed. It was a slow process. None of the things I changed of myself did I do “because now I’m a Christian”. All the things I stopped doing was simply because I didn’t want to do it anymore.
Looking back I see how that was Christ working in me, without me knowing. In the same year I gradually quit swearing. In that same year I grew more patient. In that same year I quit a hobby of mine which I’ve had since I was 5: gaming. I gave all my games away. It was such a big part of my life. I’m not saying gaming is sinful, I’m just saying that it didn’t matter to me anymore.
That’s basically it.
To come back to the introduction I’d like to say this: it feels as though God always kept a protecting hand over me. He didn’t wait for me to start having sex. He didn’t wait for me to do drugs. He didn’t wait for me to become an atheist. He simply snatched me away before I fell into any of those pits.
This is something I’ve noticed for years, on smaller or lesser scales. Like my friends, I shouldn’t have them. I was born with a cleft-lip and palate. I’m not handsome and I really struggled to speak, yet I had good friends. I was rarely made fun of. I was protected.
Though some might call this irrelevant, I’d like to point out this short story. One day at school in a cold winter morning I was standing, like everyone else, in attention area (the place we all stand to hear the announcements). Someone threw a water balloon. It hit me hart against my shoulder, but it didn’t break. I just thought, “Thanks, Lord.”. If it broke I would’ve been humiliated, wet and simply have had a bad day.
These small things happen way too often. At times I feel as though God treats me differently from the rest. As though he protects me more.