Sharable – Testimony
Pastor Trevor Cole
Nearly from the moment I was born, my parents began taking me to church. At that time, most churches had services on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night and we were at each one, every week. I had three brothers and no matter how much we complained or gave excuses; we knew where would end up on those days, it might just hurt to sit down more if we complained too much. So you could say that I grew pretty familiar with the routine.
Something changed in that routine one week when I was around five years old. Our pastor painted a vivid picture of the pain and separation from God that would happen to those who do not put their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. I still remember that fear and how it brought me to my dad that night. I went to him and asked him if our pastor was telling the truth, and he showed me in the Bible that he was not lying. My dad led me in a simple prayer where I told God I believed that Jesus died for my sins and I asked for God’s forgiveness.
I wish I could tell you that I never told another lie, never disobeyed my parents again, but that would be another lie on the list. I do believe that it started me on a journey of change, though. Throughout those formative years, I remember multiple times where I lost my way and started living for myself instead of God. It made me question whether I believed in this Jesus that I gave my life to and whether or not those memories of praying with my father were real. But every time I humbled myself and asked for His forgiveness, God drew me back to Him.
It is my belief that too many people want to point at a date when they prayed a prayer or walked down a church aisle as an assurance that they are all set in their relationship with God. In those times of struggle over the years I had to remind myself that even if my memory fails me and I ca not remember the details or the prayer I prayed, that is not what saves me. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” It is not “do I remember if I prayed a prayer” but “do I believe, TODAY, which Jesus died on the cross and rose again victorious over death to cover my sin? Am I seeing God change me from the inside out? Not that I am perfect or never make mistakes, but can I look back and see the difference He is making in me?”
No matter your personal journey or how long you have been a follower of Jesus, it can become just a routine. Along the way, you will be tempted to leave the path. Don not just point at a date as a golden ticket to Heaven and go off on your way. I hope that you will regularly examine your life and ask God to make your faith living and real.