This was me exactly a year ago, the day I made a life changing commitment before God declared in such words: “Now, I belong to Jesus”. It hasn’t been a perfect year, nor have I become a perfect man, but everyday has been a challenging journey of becoming like Him, of constant surrender, of consistent consecration, desiring to be welcomed as a “Good and Faithful Servant”.
And below is an excerpt from my personal testimony during that miraculous day:
“I was in tears praying that God would touch me with His Mighty Fire. That I would literally feel His hand on me. That I would literally see my old self die and the dead weight in me shaken off my body. I didn’t. Instead, I felt really cold. Then, a phrase resonated through my heart all throughout the day: “If you want Me, you have to get Me.” It was as if God was saying, “You’ve been called a Christian for years, but you haven’t really wanted me more than yourself. This time, if you want My touch, you have to work hard for it.” Those were really hard words from my Father in Heaven, but I know that there’s a whole lot of truth in what He said. That day I decided to commit myself into a 50-day fast, much like what the Prophet Sadhu said: “Seek Him like never before!” – August 21, 2011
How it all began.
Baptisms. I never really understood the deeper significance of such public declarations until the 21st day of August 2011. As far as my memory tells me, I was first baptized during a JFA Teens Retreat in Nueva Vizcaya either on the years 2003 or 2004. I can say that that retreat is one of the “re-turning” points in my life, but back then I was too young to understand the significance of the baptism I just went through. For a moment, I understood the truth of dying to self, but that understanding didn’t last long. At 13, I was too young to grasp the implications of that decision.
Fast forward to Eight Years after, I was again faced with that decision. I never doubted that it’s about time to take on the responsibility of that step of faith I took eight years ago.
Prior to the actual Baptism, Tito Dan and Tita Tanette laid the foundational teachings of holiness, commitment, and consecration during our four-day camp. They shared to us that water baptism represents a funeral of our old self, that God intends for us to receive power thru the Holy Spirit, and that baptism by fire is an experience of sanctification and cleansing. “Before the sending is cleansing.” Right then and there I knew that I needed to be baptized, that I needed to die from my old self (habits, characters, and routines). I knew that I must be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I can live a selfless life. I knew that I must undergo the process of sanctification and cleansing to MOVE ON WITH MY SPIRITUAL LIFE.
You see, I made the decision to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour during the River of God Camp of 2002, BUT ever since that year, I had this feeling that I was stuck. I’ve been an eight-year old Christian, and in the spiritual sense, eight years is a long time to grow and mature in Christ. But all throughout those eight years I’ve been stuck in the roller coaster of life. The ups and downs of fleshly living. The unending cycle of sin and repentance. The GREAT WALL CALLED “ME”. I’ve been a hypocrite, a MASKED MAN. On the water, while waiting for my funeral service, I only had one prayer in my heart that cries to these words, “Father, I want OUT from this cycle of SIN, SELFISHNESS, and HYPOCRISY.”
Just before I went under water, I asked God to show me my old self buried right after I am lifted out from the water (just like those in the testimonies of Tito Dan), but I didn’t. I wasn’t able to control my tears. I wept and cried before God for everything that I’ve done in my life that displeased Him. I was ashamed of myself before God but as Tito Dan prayed for me, an inexplicable peace pacified my grieving spirit. That very moment I craved for a tangible sign from God.
“I was in tears praying that God would touch me with His Mighty Fire. That I would literally feel His hand on me. That I would literally see my old self die and the dead weight in me shaken off my body. I didn’t. Instead, I felt really cold.”
I really wanted to feel the warmth of God’s embrace that very moment or at least the warmth of His touch, but I didn’t. Instead, I felt a cold wind touched my already shaking body followed by a Still Small Voice, “If you want Me, you have to get Me.” It was as if God was saying,
“You’ve been called a Christian for years, but you haven’t really wanted me more than yourself. This time, if you want My touch, you have to seek hard for it.”
On to Maturity
That is not a question of salvation but of maturity. I know I am saved but it’s time to grow up.
Those were really hard words from my Father in Heaven, but I know that there’s a whole lot of truth in what He said. It was a challenge from God — that my Faith and my Spiritual life should not be based from “moments”, spiritual events, or extraordinary signs but on hard work (the idea of seeking for a treasure), constant surrender, consistent consecration, and the day-by-day decision to know Him. It was a reminder that a once turned life doesn’t need to be turned again. What it needs is growth and maturity brought about by daily hard work to seek Him. I don’t need to wait for another spiritual event such as camps or retreats to remind me of my allegiance to God or to help me grow. Everyday is an opportunity to grow and seek Him.
Well, to be honest, life after August 21, 2011 has not been perfect. Up until know, I am faced with the challenges and temptations of life, the daily struggles of Christian living, the deceptive lusts of the flesh, and the shadows of that ONCE masked man. I still sinned and failed a lot of times (and its nothing that I am proud of), but at the end of every day, I still go through that process of dying, anointing, and cleansing. I decide to always (and immediately) stand up from every fall because after that memorable day a year ago, I wasn’t promised a PERFECT LIFE, nor a COMFORTABLE LIFE but a NEW LIFE — one that is renewed everyday at the foot of the cross. A NEW MAN.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
Note: I just realized that what really prompted me to start this Blog is because of my miraculous experience on August 21, 2011. To uncover the masked man I used to be. To share the masks I used to wear.