My Testimony

I’ll begin just by saying that I was baptized on Christmas Day of 2011. Naturally, I spent a lot of time beforehand pondering what baptism actually meant. I came to the conclusion that, although baptism was not required for my personal salvation to be accomplished, it was yet a declaration that I had chosen to devote my life to serving and glorifying Jesus Christ. Consequently, I also spent a good amount of time thinking and writing about my own salvation, or my testimony as it is called.  I would relate my testimony to my church body, the story of God’s amazing grace, love, forgiveness, and sovereignty as I have personally experienced it, before my baptism. The following is a copy of that testimony. I hope that it encourages all who read it.

My Testimony – A Sovereign, Loving, and Gracious Work of God 

It probably is not a surprise when I say that I have been raised in a Christian home for my entire life. I cannot begin to express what a blessing it is that God has allowed and is allowing me to grow up in a home where I am receiving constant Biblical instruction and teaching from my parents. I have not always accepted that instruction with joy and thanksgiving as a child of God. In fact, I recently came to the realization that I was not truly saved until I was about thirteen years old. Compare that to my former opinion, which was that I was saved when I was four years old, and you’ll get a pretty good picture of how God has humbled me during my walk with Him. Still, I am extremely thankful that God was gracious toward me to accept me into His family.

Before I surrendered my life to Christ, I was completely depraved, my heart was corrupted by sin, and I was an utter enemy of God. Romans 1:29-32 very justly describes my sinful state, saying,  “…being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful.”  I was by no means an exception to Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall of the glory of God.”Although I knew that I was a sinner, I probably would not have described myself in so many words. I was of the opinion that Jesus Christ was already “in my heart” and had been since I was four years old. Consequently, I did not often care to dwell on my sinful state. However, if I had had the discernment to examine the fruits in my life, or the lack thereof, I would have seen a stark contrast between myself and one who was truly saved by Jesus Christ.

For the first ten years of my life, my family lived in southern California. The church that I grew up in was unstable and did not teach the truth of God’s Word. As a result, it was easy for me to go through the motions, to look the part of the little Christian girl that I thought I was. At home, my siblings and I were home-schooled, which also meant that we were constantly under the teaching and instruction of my parents. But I did not take it to heart. I learned enough to know the rules and to keep from getting in trouble. I never imagined myself to be an angel child, and I secretly reveled in my rebellion. As the years continued, I nursed this rebellion and I became very adept in deception and manipulation. I would go to great and precise lengths to get what I wanted. This would eventually lead me to a point of desperation. Oddly enough, through all of this, I was still blinded by own sin, still thinking that I was a member of God’s family.

About a year after my family moved from our home in California to a new one in Tennessee, my sinful habits culminated into a period of time when I began to experience what real bondage to sin felt like. The first step was minor. I allowed myself to surreptitiously indulge in a specific area of sin which would slowly grow into an obsession.  Gradually, the sickly pleasure that I found in this sinful action grew until I anticipated it, planning when I could indulge my flesh.  But even as my fleshly lust for particular sin grew, so did its weight on my conscience. I could identify with Proverbs 5:22, which speaks of the sinner being held by the cords of his own sin. My sin plagued me and I was always haunted by the fear that my sin would be found out. I remember considering and even desiring to confess my sin to my parents, but the desires of my flesh made excuses, repeatedly reminding of the horrible consequences that would ensue. I felt chained to my sin, wanting to be rid of the guilt and the shame that I felt, but also not wanting to give up this source of fleshly satisfaction.

Thankfully, regardless my absolute hostility toward God, His Spirit was working in my heart to draw me to Himself. Several times the thought had occurred to me that a true believer in Christ would not be committing such a sin against God. And I think it was this that led me to realize that I truly was not a child of God. In my mind, this “big” sin was proof that my life was not truly surrendered to Christ. Rather suddenly, I confessed my sin to my mom one night, four years ago. My desire to be forgiven and reconciled had brought me to a point where I experienced, for the first time, true repentance and sorrow over my sin. I confessed my sins to God and pleaded for His forgiveness, and I clearly remember being overwhelmed by a feeling of relief and joy. Christ performed the redeeming work in my heart.

At the time, I was so overwhelmed by my sin, and I do not think that I fully thought through substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. I was well aware of the fact that Christ had offered up His perfect life as a sacrifice to receive the wrath of God in my place, and it was in this that I placed my trust. I was completely sure God would forgive me of my sin, although I did not logically consider that at the time. Regardless, Philippians 2:6-8, speaking of Christ, still rings true: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed the form of God, did not regard equality with a God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” The message is finished in Ephesians 1:7-8a, “In Him we have redemption through blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us.”

Since then, I believe that God has worked in my life and in my heart to develop a growing love for Him, for His Son, and for His Word. Whereas before I could only fulfill the desires of my flesh, I have now been enabled through the redeeming work of Christ to produce fruit for His glory. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away, new things have come.” I thank God that He has accepted me into His family, that He purified my heart and made me a new creature so that I might begin the journey of being conformed to Christ’s image and of spending my life glorifying Him.

God has taught me so much about His character during the time that I have been in His service. I have wondered at His marvelous love, His completely unmerited forgiveness and grace, His awesome sovereignty, and His incredible strength. More recently, however, He has taught me much about His faithfulness, particularly in the areas of forgiveness and prayer. Psalm 103:11-12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” I have been continually awed by the fact that God, despite the extent of my sin, regardless of the sinful condition of my heart, has never failed to remove my sins from me so that I am pure before Him once again. Not only that, but He is incredibly faithful to answer prayer. I am slowly learning to commit everything to my Savior, because He has shown Himself to be unchanging and unfailing.

During the years that I have been saved, 2 Corinthians 5:13-15 has become a kind of theme verse for me: “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” Not only does this speak of the sacrifice that Christ made so that we might live to serve Him, but it also describes the fervor with which I am to serve Him. From this passage, I know that I am to be beside myself, or “going crazy” for God, I am to be completely controlled and motivated by His love. This has encouraged me to spend every moment of my life pursuing and glorifying Christ with reckless abandon.

I am thankful that God has brought me to Himself, that I have been reconciled to Him through His Son, that I am eternally able to reap the rewards of serving and glorifying Jesus Christ. God has blessed me in so many ways, and my prayer is that He will receive all of the glory in my life.

– Sierra, author of the Anchored Soul blog

9 Responses to “My Testimony”
  1. That was very encouraging Sierra. Christ has blessed you, shown you His mercy, and does so daily. The only response we can have to this grace and mercy is to praise God, and tell others about Him and His work, “for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”(Psalm 136) The Lord has blessed me greatly to know you and be friends with you, and I thank Him for this consistently. We are nothing without Him, and I am constantly being reminded of this. Life without Christ is not life at all. We have been given this gift which no words can truly describe, this amazing grace, so we are to spread it. We are to devote the entirety of our lives to Christ, excepting nothing. We are to scream His Word at the top of our lungs, and with every action of our lives, under the persevering hope, knowledge, and faith in His return, to set us free. I thank you for sharing, but more so I thank God for His work that you and I might share it with the world, for the glory of our King.

  2. Robin Claire says:

    Hi Sierra,
    I can see that you’ve already written your testimony on your blog. I would like to “borrow” it if you don’t object. I have started compiling testimonies that I’m putting in a special place on my blog [it’s under “Testimonies” at the top]. I would need to copy and paste it so as to have a strong effect on my readers.
    Thank you,
    robin claire

    • Sierra says:

      Robin Claire,
      I would be honored if you would post my testimony on your blog. I am so glad the Lord may use it to encourage others and to bring glory to His name! Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

  3. I love reading about how God takes sinful people, clothed in rags, and adorns them with the righteous garments of Christ. Thank you for sharing your testimony! God is glorified in your words!

  4. MJ Bryson says:

    Dear Sister, What a joy to find a young person devoted to the Lord! Take it from this 55 year old
    Seminary graduate Registered Nurse, finding this blog was like finding a diamond in a garbage can! With 3 Seminary degrees, I want to serve the Lord in the Philippines as a missionary, but no funds to do so as yet. Pray for me and I will pray for your hands to serve the Lord in words, pictures, and music. MJB

    • Sierra says:

      Thank you so much, MJ! I think it is a wonderful desire that you have to minister for the Gospel in the Philippines. I’m sure that if it is the Lord’s will for you to evangelize there, then He will provide all of your needs and bring you there in His perfect timing. I will definitely be praying for you as you seek to do His will!

  5. Dexter says:

    I am so glad you have started writing this blog. I found it by accident when I googled something unrelated, but I have been looking for someone like this for a while.

    I keep trying to move away from sin but I keep being drawn back to it in bouts of apathy. I know that I need to convert to Christianity to be free from it (or at least reduce it). There is a complex series of events that I have led me to that conclusion, but I confident that is the right decision. I have tried to convert by reading a prayer or reading passages of the bible, but that hasn’t helped. The main problem is that I haven’t told another human being. Part of me feels so ashamed. I would never admit to my family that I have made this decision. To them religion is almost a bad word, a divisive subject that should be abandoned. Other times I doubt if I could really accept everything in the bible as absolute truth. I haven’t told another person about this decision, and even if I point blank asked if I am religious I will respond with a complete denial of my faith.

    I wasn’t raised with any religion. It feels really alien to me. I also see how my family members live and I want to get away from that. At the moment I am at a good school studying engineering and that requires a lot of discipline. Sin continually distracts me.
    I have tried to find something online talking about sin, but most of the stuff I have found almost supports sin. A lot of christian websites seems filled with the nonsense that sin is okay. I know it is not. I think you know it is not okay either.

    I am just looking for a way out. I need some guidance. Do you have any advice as to where I can turn?

    • Sierra says:

      Dexter, I am amazed that the Lord would bring you here in what seems to be a “random” way, but is really His sovereignty and love and grace! And I am so thankful that you were willing to be honest about where you are and to ask for help.

      First, there is something that I’d like to ask you. Do you have your own copy of the Bible? The first thing that I could not encourage you enough to do is to begin reading God’s Word. Begin in the Gospel of John, and simply read through that book. Also read through Romans and First John. If you do not have your own copy, then there are many websites that you can use. I frequently use I read and recommend the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and that is the version that I quote on this blog.

      I know you mentioned that you are not sure that the Bible is absolute truth. Let me share my initial thoughts with you… I firmly believe that God’s Word is the whole truth and the only truth that we have on this earth. If anyone adds to, takes away from, denies, or warps what is said in Scripture, they are not speaking the truth. The Bible itself claims to be truth: Psalm 119:142, “Your law is truth.” Psalm 119:160, “The sum of Your word is truth.” Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Matthew 24:35, “My (Jesus’) words will not pass away”.

      I want to recommend a sermon for you to listen to. It is called “The Shocking Youth Message” by Paul Washer. Yes, it was originally intended for a high school age audience, however Paul Washer explains much of what you are describing – that sin is largely ignored, denied, or even accepted by modern American Christians. Washer exposes and condemns sin. But most importantly, he presents the entire truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And if there is one thing that I pray you will understand and receive, it is that very Gospel. Washer bases his sermon on the truth of the Word, and although he makes statements that make many balk (hence the name of the sermon), his words are no less true.

      Finally, I want to caution you. As you read Scripture and listen to this sermon, I pray that you will be soberly examining your own heart. Be careful that you do not compare yourself to others, to Christians or to non-Christians, in order to know if you are truly saved. The standard is God’s Word. How does the Bible describe the non-Christian? Read Romans 3:10-26, Ephesians 2:1-3. Galatians 5:19-21. How does the Bible describe the Christian, the true believer in Christ? Read Romans 8, Ephesians 2:4-10, and Galatians 5:22-25. The Bible says to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

      Dexter, I will be praying for you! Please, if you have anymore thoughts or questions, I really would love to hear them and continue to discuss these things with you.

      • Dexter says:

        Thank you so much for your long and thoughtful response. I really appreciate you taking the time to write it. I am sorry I did not respond to you earlier.I didn’t notice that you had posted this until a few days ago.

        I like your idea of reading through the bible from start to finish. I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to be to do that yet. I will start on that task as soon as possible.

        I know you believe that the bible is absolute truth. I view your faith with what I can only describe as admiration. I hope that I can one day feel as confident as you do.

        I enjoyed listening to the sermon you posted. It is nice to hear someone preach against sin. I realize that I need to improve who I am so the message felt spot on. I think it might bother someone who considers themselves a good christian. (I also feel some sympathy for the christian rock band that had to follow him)

        If I posted any other comments on your blog it was to try to generate a response because I didn’t realize you had posted here. I didn’t mean to be bothersome.

        I was under the most amount of stress I had ever been in my life over the last few months. Everything eventually worked out better than I expected, but there were several movements where I doubted everything about the life path I am taking.
        I am exhausted right now and need to get some sleep.

        I will update you in a while (~4 months) when I get far into the bible, or if I have any questions. Thank you again.

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