‘True Liberty is not the power to live as we please, but to live as we ought!’
Before coming to Christ
I grew up in a loving Christian home. Through my childhood, we went to church just about any time the doors were open, had regular family prayers at night and memorised the scripture. I always assumed I was a Christian but rarely stopped to ponder if I really was.
Around my teenage years, I strayed from the traditional Christian beliefs I was brought up with and moved towards a mystical view of God where I became obsessed with the idea of receiving gifts from him; I was also intent on finding out the calling for my life. I was seeking the things of Christ and not Christ himself.
By the time I was at university, the feeling of powerlessness against sin had so overcome me, I stopped having any semblance of a relationship with God-I quit going to church, reading the Bible and I was not accountable to anyone. There was a feeling of dejection and utter helplessness that underlined my days no matter what I was doing. I felt like I had no purpose or identity.
When I returned home after graduation, By God’s mercy, things started to change as I had more conversations with my siblings (who were both converted before me) as they gently but persistently challenged my faith. I also started to attend the local church (GCW) where I saw the Bible in a new light, as having full and complete authority.
How I came to Christ
To the outside world, and to an extent, my family, I was ostensibly a nice, Christian girl who had her life together but inside, I experienced the hellish reality of emptiness, turmoil, and endless hopelessness because I could not live out what I believed to be true. I lived a life exactly like the person described in 2 Tim 3:5 – like a wicked person known for putting on the “window dressing” of faith in God but rejecting the actual power of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, God showed me two things - I was naturally rebellious and disobedient since birth and headed to hell and I was completely and utterly helpless against sin. I knew I was also fully responsible for my actions because God never forced me to sin; the problem was I had no inclination or power to do anything about it.
After coming to faith in Christ
What is impossible with man is totally possible for God. At a time when I wasn’t seeking him or had the strength to even look for him, God enabled me to put my faith in Jesus Christ, gave me a new heart that wasn’t enslaved to sin and a heart that loved God. The only right response was to repent completely and change the direction of my life.
The biggest treasure of all is that I can now have a personal, real relationship with God without shame or fear because I’ve been reconciled to him through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus who died for my sins and bore my punishments for me. I could never have paid for my wrongs against a perfect, holy God; no amount of good works on my part would have sufficed.
So, does this mean that I have never struggled with sin this past year? Absolutely not. I struggle with many weaknesses and sinful habits even as I’m writing this but there’s a difference: I am not a slave to sin anymore! When I do sin, I can run to the Father for forgiveness knowing that he is faithful and just to restore me. I don’t need to wonder if my place in heaven is ever-changing because my assurance of eternal life is as a result of Christ’s finished work at the cross; not on how well I'm performing as a Christian.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
I’d summarise this new life in Christ by this quote from a book I read recently, ‘True Liberty is not the power to live as we please, but to live as we ought!’ (Sovereignty of God, A.W Pink).
Before I was saved, I had no deep desire to follow God’s Word or yield to his rule over my life. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I readily indulged in sin, and my old self was completely at ease with it. I know I am a new creation now because of my hatred for the wicked things I loved-This is the work of the precious Holy Spirit who is given to every born-again believer that belongs to Christ. I’m filled with gratitude to Him for everyday convicting me when I’m drifting away; strengthening me to overcome temptations when old sins start to resurface and empowering me to live a life, pleasing to God.
So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Esther - a member at GCW