Many people’s testimonies recall their experience when God called them to salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. As is typically the case, due to the life changing results of their experience, they can readily recall the date, time, and what they were doing. For a long time, this troubled me greatly; because, I had no such recollection.
My family was living in Oscoda, Michigan, and we attended the base chapel at Wurtsmith, AFB, when God called me to salvation at a very young age, in the late 1960s, early 1970s. I was baptized, by immersion, in Lake Huron.
Because I cannot narrow the time down any better than that, I began to think there was something wrong with my testimony. That perhaps I did not have a true salvation experience after all, for if I did, surely I would remember every detail of the event.
Then, in late 1999 – early 2000, God revealed to me that not only was my call to salvation real; but, not everyone’s testimony is about salvation. More importantly, He revealed to me that we do not pick our testimonies, He does. My testimony was to be about restoring Him as the top priority in my life, relying and trusting in Him for everything, and realizing that all I have I owe to Him.
As I was growing up, the Lord blessed me in many ways. He gave me a strong sense of right and wrong (although, as my parents will attest, like other kids, I did not always follow that sense). He gave me an almost intuitive understanding of math, science, and computers. And shortly after graduation from high school, placed me in a highly technical position at Electronic Data Systems, even though I had not attended university yet.
My career had an almost meteoric rise to it. I became known as a whiz kid, a computer guru. Everything seemed to always fall in place for me with almost perfect timing.
Everyone is familiar with the old saying, “give him an inch and he will take a mile”; well, Satan does not work that way. Give Satan an inch, and he will take another inch. He moves slowly, taking his time, until one day, you realize you are thousands of miles off course, and you do not know if you will ever make it back to the right road.
That is what happened to me. I began to forget where my blessings were coming from. I started taking credit for every decision, every opportunity, every success. My self reliance and self appreciation began outpacing the successes in my personal and professional life.
The more I began trusting and relying upon myself, the less I trusted and relied upon God. And to my eternal shame, this transfer of trust and reliance continued until I reached a point where I even began questioning God’s existence. I began to think that trusting and relying upon Him was a weakness. Oh how Satan must have been rejoicing.
I still had my strong sense of right and wrong; but, my belief system, my values, had decayed to the following set of rules:
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- You have the right to do anything you want as long as it does not violate rule #1 or prevent others from exercising their same right.
- Take responsibility for your own actions.
At first, those rules sound good and Satan would be there patting me on the back saying, “You are a good guy Chris. You are taking other’s feelings into account. What a great set of rules to live by.” Therein lies another of his deceptions. The rules may be good rules; but, there is one very important problem. God has been completely removed from the picture. Again, how Satan must have rejoiced.
As with all things however, God will only put up with disobedience and unrighteousness for so long. Suddenly, my life was turning upside down. My personal and professional life was in flames and burning out from underneath me. No matter what plans I made, what actions I took, everything seemed to fail. I remember saying to my wife, Stefanie, on many occasions, while we were at the height of all this turmoil, that as smart as I was, I was not smart enough to figure it all out.
During this time, my sister, Kathey, said something to me I will never, ever forget. We were standing at the end of her driveway, looking off into the distance, and talking about all that was going on in my life. That is when she turned to me and said, “Sometimes, God has to bring us to our knees to remind us to look up.”
I could not speak. The truth pierced me with an accuracy unmatched by anything any man or woman had ever said to me before. As tears welled up in my eyes, I knew God had just spoken to me through my little sister, the one I used to give advice to.
If it were not for the love God blessed me with through Stefanie, my parents, Kathey, the rest of my family, and the members of Double Springs Baptist Church in Maben, Mississippi, there is no telling how far off track Satan would have continued to lead me. I determined I needed to get right with God again and I began studying my Bible daily.
Some may think that is the end of my story, the end of my testimony; but, it is not. Yes, I studied my Bible. I talked with some of the deacons. I talked with my pastor. I began learning a lot. But, that is Satan’s other great deception: the acquisition of knowledge.
Knowledge vs. Wisdom
Knowledge, by itself, is worthless. It is not until knowledge is put to action that it has value. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is the action. You can know everything there is to know; but, unless you put it into action, unless you apply it everyday, it has no value to you or anyone else. Satan would prefer we know nothing; nonetheless, he is perfectly content for us to know everything as long as we do not do anything with it.
While I was first attending Double Springs Baptist Church, I was reluctant to get involved in anything. I would attend the morning service; but that was all. I did not even participate in the choir although I loved to sing. I was unemployed at the time and although I was concentrating my search efforts to the Maben – Starkville area of Mississippi, I had no idea where I would end up, much less, if it would even be in Mississippi. I thought to myself, what if I am only around another three weeks?
Then, in the midst of my mental struggle, in the midst of my prayers for guidance, God reminded me that yet again, I was still trying to control everything. He had just spent months demonstrating and revealing to me that the control I always thought I had was just an illusion, that He is the one that had always been in control, that all blessings come from Him. Yet, here I was again, trying to take charge instead of putting Him first and trusting in Him.
At that very moment, I rededicated myself to Him, not just in study, but in action. I placed all my trust in Him and believed with all my heart that no matter what happened, He was always in control and because of His love for me, always had my best interests in mind.
Romans 8:28 (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
I decided that I was going to actively participate in the church, in the things God called me to do and trust that even if He saw fit to place me in a different state in three weeks, at least that would be three weeks I was contributing to His kingdom and I would continue those contributions wherever He placed me. That Sunday, I stepped forward at the end of the service and publicly rededicated my life to God and asked for membership in the church.
As with so many things in life, God was waiting for me to put my trust completely in Him and to obey His calling. Once I did that, He immediately made known to me the blessing He had in store for me. The next day, early Monday morning, I received a phone call from a company in Kosciusko, Mississippi. After a brief phone interview, I was scheduled to go to Kosciusko on Wednesday, for a face-to-face interview. Friday, I was asked to return to meet and interview with other executives of the company. At the conclusion of that interview, I was asked to return Monday as their new Information Technology Manager.
God waited for me to prove to Him I would trust and rely upon Him instead of myself. Once I did, He immediately revealed His plan to place me in a Christian company, full of fellow believers, allowing me to remain in the Maben – Starkville community, with my new church family, so that I could continue to learn and grow in Him every day.
I praise Him and glorify His name for teaching me this valuable lesson in the manner He did. I will always remember it and take every opportunity to share it with others so they will hopefully avoid the mistakes I made.
Proverbs 3:5-7 (NASB)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Have Faith In God 405:4 (1991 Baptist Hymnal)
Have faith in God, tho’ all else fail about you.
Have faith in God, He provides for His own.
He cannot fail tho’ all kingdoms shall perish.
He rules, He reigns upon His throne.
Have faith in God, He’s on His throne.
Have faith in God, He watches o’er His own.
He cannot fail, He must prevail.
Have faith in God, have faith in God.
Trust, Try, and Prove Me 616:2 (1991 Baptist Hymnal)
When my wav’ring faith in trials falters.
When His guiding hand I cannot see.
Then in wondrous love and tender mercy,
Thro’ His Word He says to me, My child just…
Trust Me, try Me.
Prove Me saith the Lord of hosts and see
If a blessing, unmeasured blessing, I will not pour out on thee.
Only Trust Him 316:3 (1991 Baptist Hymnal)
Yes, Jesus is the truth the way, that leads you into rest.
Believe in Him without delay and you are fully blest.
Only trust Him, only trust Him. Only trust Him now.
He will save you, He will save you. He will save you now.
Matthew 6:25-33 (NASB)
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the work You have done and continue to do in my life. Thank You for the opportunity to share this testimony with others that You might be honored and glorified. I pray that through this testimony others may learn, as I have, to keep You first in their life, to trust and rely upon You for everything, to study Your Word and pray for the revelation of Your will in our lives, to understand that wisdom is not the acquisition of knowledge, it is the application of it. Please forgive me of my sins and the many times I have failed You. I ask these things in Your holy name and the precious, holy name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:
James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.
John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
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1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
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Praise the Lord.
- In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:
Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
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Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
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James 5:16 (NASB)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
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