Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Testimony

    I have always thought it would be humorous to get up in church to tell my testimony and begin by saying "Well, I've always been saved. I'm just that amazing!" It'd be fun to watch some of the reactions!

    In reality, my testimony cannot begin that way. My family has been a Christian family since long before I was born. I've been blessed to have been familiar with Christian principles my whole life. I've been attending church for as long as I can remember. My family is pretty conservative Baptist, so the churches I've grown up in were always strongly conservative.

    None of what I say next is said with pride, believe me. It is only to prove that I was an expert hypocrite, though unintentionally so. When I was five years old, I prayed a prayer to accept Jesus into my heart. How much of the gospel I truly understood I don't know. I'm honestly not sure when I was saved, though I lean toward thinking I was probably not truly saved until much later.

    I was the "good" boy in the church. You know, the "yes ma'am, no sir, please, and thank you" kid? Yeah, that was me. I had all the right verses memorized, all the right words to use in all the right situations down. I was homeschooled and the apparently exemplary "Christian". All except for one thing.

   I was fifteen in 2013, when my big sister punched a big hole in my spiritual pride and hypocrisy. She gave my brother a copy of David Platt's book Radical, and recommended (with that recommendation that only a big sister can give: you know that one that sounds so sweet yet still leaves you feeling as if you have no choice but to obey?) that I read it. I don't think she had any idea of how that book would change my life.

    Suddenly, Christianity was not what I had lived for the past ten years. Christianity was no longer a set of creeds, ideas, and rules. It was a Person, a Person I had never known, a Person worth giving everything for, worth dying for. Suddenly, as a particular poem I like puts it, "My God– no more in black and white, in vivid colors, warmth and light."

    This particular phase of my life was like a blast of new information, information I should have known but had been blind to previously. During the next few months, I read voraciously, tackling books that brought my previous perception of God crashing down to the ground. The Cure by John Lynch (though I disagree with much of it, it was still a lifechanging book in regard to God's grace, a concept I had hardly even considered), Follow Me and Radical by David Platt, Christless Christianity by Michael Horton, and Finish the Mission by John Piper, Louis Giglio, Michael Oh, and David Platt all went down with shocking speed.

    It was like a little kid opening a phonix book for the first time. Oh, so all these letters make sounds? They form words? They connect into sentences? All these principles and verses form one gospel? They all point toward one Person? The one Person affects me?

    Suddenly, God was no longer a mysterious benefactor in the sky that granted me eternal life. He was now the incredible Judge of the world, who died in my place, to give me Himself, and He actually wanted a relationship with me. With me! It was a concept I'd never even considered!

    These two years since then have been life changing. I have changed immensely. The person I was two years ago could walk by me today with no recognition. I am not the same person. I no longer have it all together. I don't even try to keep up the facade of perfection anymore.

    Because the realization that I don't need a facade, that I am a child of God, has set me free. I am now free, free to follow Christ as Taylor, a saved sinner. Not the perfect homeschooler, not the intellectual Calvinist, but the rebel who God overcame with the "reckless raging fury that they call the love of God" as Rich Mullins aptly described it.

    Today, I am finally aware of the beautiful thing that is the grace of God. Where God's grace is, there is no need for a charade or pretended perfection. Where God's grace is, my status is not based on giving all the right answers. It's based on the righteousness God has granted to cover me, to drown out my sin.

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Your testimony sounds a lot like mine! I also prayed a prayer when I was little, lived in a Christian family, grew up doing bible clubs, VBS children's institute, ect... But back then, I also didn't quite grasp the concept of Jesus wanting a relationship with me, not really seeing him as a person. I'm not sure when exactly I got saved, but I know when I finally started To change in my spiritual walk, to get that Jesus really WANTED ME, was around when I went to a week long retreat called " Journey to the heart " (june 2013) I think around that time was when I really started to understand, believe, and follow Him.

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    1. That's amazing! Coincidentally, June was the month I finished Radical and remember actually surrendering my life to Christ. It's really cool to know that I'm not the only one! Thanks for commenting!

      The transfer of head knowledge to heart knowledge it seems was the slow, hard part for both of us.

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