I was born and brought up in a Christian home by a godly Christian parent. Though this is true, there is also another truth that took me a long time to know and understand, and that is that I was conceived in sin in my mother’s womb. I was born a sinner in a Christian home. The way I was brought up by my parent and the kind of atmosphere where I grew up always made me think of myself as Christian. Since my childhood, my parent taught me about God. Christian songs were my daily lullaby. Every night, Dad and Mom told us Bible stories, taught us hymns and songs, Bible verses, counsel every day, and prays for us every day. They taught me to fear God more than them for which I am grateful till today. I grew up being different from other children of my age. I considered myself as one who was devoted to God as I read the Bible every day, prayed every day, and scored good marks in Sunday School’s annual exams. All of these external things made me think of myself as a Christian and I used to take pride in it. That was me, how my parents and others around me saw me externally, but never did I realized that I was a first-rate sinner! I didn’t realize the truth that I am a sinner and so, pride grew in such a level that I couldn’t see any sin in my life! My assurance of salvation hinged on how much prayers I prayed, how many times I read the Bible, and how active I was in the church’s activities. I was living in a continuously self-deceived life of self-righteousness. I lied, I stole money from my parent’s pocket, and I used to fight with friends. But all of those things were justifiable because I was a Christian boy who was loved and accepted by many. Neither did I realize that I was very far from God, even though I was very close to the fellowship of His people. Pride overtook me and it ruined my life. I tried my best to please God, thinking that I deserve heaven because of all the good things that I have done!
By the grace of God, I listened to the preaching of the Gospel for the first time at a church which is at Imphal. But I was ignorant, stubborn, and stiff-necked, thinking myself that I was a believer. I used to listen to gospel seminars for my knowledge’s sake because the content of the seminar was so good and mind-blowing. I was then asked by an evangelist to share my testimony. After hearing my testimony, he told me that if I am putting my trust in my good works for my salvation, and that I will not inherit God’s kingdom, and hell would be my destiny! I was shocked to hear those words from him. I was angry because he told me those words in front of my friends, who were new believers, and whom I thought were baby Christians. It was my pride that was on display and my sin that not only consumed me but also controlled my whole being! That day, I grumbled in my mind. How dare he judge me. I read the Bible every day, do evangelism, fast and pray, lead a group of people in a ministry, and also preached! Looking back, I am ashamed of myself. I realized after being saved, that evangelist was telling me the truth out of love, to examine myself to know whether I am in the faith or not. My pride hardened my heart, and I gave no ear to the gracious warning of my Savior to come to Him!
It was on one Sunday service that broke my trust in my self-righteousness when the pastor asked this simple question – Have you ever asked God to grant you salvation? From that day I started examining my faith and life with the Word of God and found myself a helpless, hopeless, strengthless, vile, and a wretched sinner in the hands of the God who is holy, righteous, and just. I was a poor creature in need of a great Savior. God put in me the desire for His Word and I prayed that He would grant me the grace to listen to the preaching of His Gospel and believe Him as my Savior and Lord. Soon, a brother from the church started a Bible study. This time, I was prepared with much eagerness for the word. One night after the bible study, I was reading the Bible in my room, and it was when I read Hebrews 9:12, I could see Jesus’s redeeming work for my sin. Seeing that, I experienced the forgiveness of sin. It was as if a huge sack of heavy sin just rolled away from the back as we see in Pilgrim’s Progress when he saw the cross. I felt like Luther, who once said, “the gate of Heaven swung open.” The joy of forgiveness and assurance of my salvation was experienced on that night. On the next day, during the Sunday worship, I sang the hymn, “Happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away” as if I have never sung that song before. It was such a delight in my soul that it seemed as I was singing that song with flying wings! What a joy!
Since then, my life has never been the same. Real struggles and fights against the world, the flesh, and the devil have begun from that day. God has worked in me in such a way that my affection and love for Him and His word grows daily. The sin that once satisfied me is now my enemy. The friends who once were with me, left me, as I was now a burden to them. The love for His people is growing gradually. He also helped me fight sin and have victory over it through Christ. The purpose of my life has now changed!
Till this date, God is working in me to live a heavenward life, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. I am relying on Christ for my salvation and Him alone for my daily sanctification, imitating Him and growing in holiness. I praise God for His undeserved favor upon me- a wretched sinner- that He would save me and make me according to His will, and for His glory. He owns me twice. He created me, but I was lost. He sought me, and found me, and redeemed me in Christ – I am twice His! So I have but one reason to live – for His glory. And I believe that as my Redeemer lives, He will be by my side, helping me, walking with me, working in me, and helping me to reflect Him through my poor life –salt and light of the world to the glory of God!