My Testimony to the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ
by Lisa Brown
My prayer is that God would use this as a witness to His Truth and that He will be glorified.
When I was 12, during an invitation, I walked the aisle up to the pastor. The Sunday before, an 11-year-old boy had been saved and I didn’t like that he was only 11 and I was 12 and I hadn’t “done that yet”. I do remember knowing “Jesus died on the cross for me”. I didn’t understand what that meant, but since I had heard this all my life, I believed it. I don’t remember what I said or what the pastor said. I remember being told that I was saved and was baptized a few Sundays later. Nothing about me changed.
For the next 23 years I did whatever I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it without regard to whether or not it was pleasing to God, nor did I care. It didn’t matter to me how I lived my life as long as God forgave me at the end and I didn’t go to Hell. As I was in and out of churches, the false belief that I was saved was reinforced by the sermons I heard. I could name a time and place I had “made a decision for Christ”. I didn’t really understand what salvation was but I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t see myself as having sinned against a holy God. As far as I was concerned I had prayed the prayer and that was all I needed to do.
When I was 35, God caused me to see how sinful I was (I will spare you the details). For the first time I realized that my prayer as a kid did not save me. For the first time, I hated who I was and how I had been living my life. For the first time, I realized that how I was living my life hadn’t just hurt me, my friends and my family, but I had grieved God. For the first time I understood that salvation was not just about getting out of Hell. I finally understood what “Jesus died on the cross for me” meant. I finally understood how wretched I was and why Jesus had to die for me. It was at this time, that I truly wanted God to forgive me and save me and I knew then that I belonged to Him.
The Holy Spirit has taught me so much in the past 16 years and has grown me steadily at times and by great leaps and bounds at other times. The first 5 years He showed me how I was to live my life as a Christian. I wasn’t very good at it. I had no one to mentor/disciple me. But, as time went by, God taught me more and more through reading Scripture and my desire to obey Him grew. The next 9 years He showed me that because I desire to obey Him I would lose some close relationships and other friendships but that He is never going to leave me. He strengthened the godly friendships and brought strong Christians into my life, including moving me from one church to another so that I would be taught and understand the truth of His Sovereignty. He has also taught me even more to not depend on myself or other people but to completely depend on Him. He has taught me not to be afraid to ask Him to break me.
About 2 years ago God gave me a greater understanding that my relationship with Him is not about how obedient I am. Much of what I had believed since being saved was that I had to “be good” or God would not be pleased with me and not hear my prayers. I knew I was saved but thought that my day to day relationship with God was based on how good I was. I hadn’t prayed enough. I hadn’t read my Bible enough. I hadn’t shared the Gospel enough. I hadn’t given enough. I continually felt that God was not pleased with me most of the time and I needed to do better so God would hear my prayers. I thought that I was forgiven of my past sin but had to answer to God later for all these sins I was committing now and continually having to repent of.
When I was challenged by a friend to dig deeper into God’s Word I realized that when God forgave me, He not only forgave me of my past sins, but for ALL my sin. God is pleased with me because of Jesus, and not because I am meeting some standard. That correction in my thinking was a great burden lifted. Now, I live my life for God because he saved me and not because I don’t want God to regret that He saved me. What freedom! God’s grace to me is beyond my understanding and I can never be grateful enough for it and I can never love God the way He deserves to be loved, but I can obey His commands out of gratefulness and love and no longer out of fear of disapproval.
God continues to teach me and draw me closer to Him. He has put a love in my heart for fellow believers. This is a big deal because there were times that I didn’t think I was capable of loving anyone other than my children. He has brought a precious Christian friend into my life that truly cares about my relationship with God. She has mentored and discipled me and continually pushes me toward God with both her words and her example. I have grown more passionate for Scripture and my time alone with God. I am learning every day and falling in love with Jesus more and more.
I want the world to know God as righteous and holy and treat Him with respect and reverence; not in a casual manner as a buddy, or as merely a gift giver. I want everyone to understand that God is not only good when we get the things we desire, but that He is inherently good. I want my friends to be aware of the dangers of false teaching, so I warn them. I want others to understand who God is and the truth of His Word so I share the Gospel. I want others to truly understand how man’s standard for goodness compares to God’s so that they can see their own sin. I want the whole world to hear about God’s salvation, but my heart goes out mostly to those that sit in churches week after week like I did as a false convert.
Please pray for Lisa: Prayers would be appreciated. I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is the 2nd time. The first was 19 years ago. I had surgery last week and am now recovering. Doing this all with a broken foot. God is merciful and worthy of all my praise. I just want Christ to be glorified.
Update from Lisa (1/21/16): “Thank you to those that have been praying. I just learned yesterday that the cancer is not in my lymph nodes so I do not have to have chemo. And I have plenty of family and friends to help me while I recover from the cancer surgery with a broken foot. God is merciful!”
Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Private/direct message me on social media, e-mail me (MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com), or comment below. Try to be brief (3-4 paragraphs or less) if possible. I’ll select a few to share on the blog another time. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!