Here is my personal testimony
I have always professed to be a Christian. I just never really felt right about my life and the way I was living. I never doubted that God existed or that God could do all things, I always believed that.
Now, I was raised a Lutheran. We were taught that we were acceptable in God's eyes as sinners by the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus. This is so very true but there is much more to the "whole" message of the Gospel of truth. I found there are responsibilities as servants to our Lord Jesus commonly ignored. Let me explain.
Deep down inside, all my life I struggled to accept my sinful behavior and the sins I was "intentionally" committing, the sins I became complacent with, therefore eventually accepting my "bondage to sin" because I could not beat them no matter how hard I tried. To make a long story short, I was simply living in sin and ignoring the message, testimony and instruction of our "One Shepherd" Jesus Christ.
As Lutherans we were taught that sin was sin no matter what. No matter how great a sin, it was no different than any other sin intentional or unintentional.
As I began to re read the bible, this time I asked for God's guidance. The Holy Spirit showed me and convicted me of my sin and how being complacent with my sin was leading me astray and away from God, I was enslaved.
So, how where my hypocritical actions affecting others? How could I effectively talk about the Lord when I was not walking in His light?
At one point, someone close to me, who did not believe in God called me a hypocrite. I kindly told him "I was not". I explained to him that I was forgiven and it was "well with my soul". After all, this is what I was taught, right? However, I was wrong, dead wrong. God's Word showed me otherwise.
So I found in scripture that there is a difference in unintentional and intentional sin.
Here are some examples of my intentional sins that were dragging me down, very bad language, trouble with my temper and talking bad about people, just to mention a few (there were others I assure you not mentioned here!). Keep in mind that I had attempted to change my shameful behavior many times in the past. I would repent and soon slide back into the same old traps of satan. At other times, I just didn't care or gave up trying. I said in my own mind "God knows we're only human and He just loves me as I am"... or... "o well, this is the best I can do and that's that!"
This last repentance was different! Why? I realized I had to change and I was walking in the dark.
As I began to feel drawn to read God's word, it was a calling from God. I was reading the gospel of Matthew one evening where Jesus makes it very plain and simple what is required of us. We are to turn from our sin or we are in trouble, BIG trouble. Well, this conflicts what I was taught in a way. I was deeply troubled and was beginning to feel a sense of hopelessness. I was a condemned man! I knew I MUST change my life, somehow. I wanted to do what was right in God's eyes. But I knew that I had tried so many times before and failed.
Reading on, I read the parable of the "Sower" in Mathew 13. This scared the pants of me. By now I knew my situation was looking very bleak. It was becoming very clear to me that the "seed" of God's "Word" had fallen on my "rocky soil". I knew how many times I had backslid and that I was trapped and imprisoned by sin and it's desires.
That night, as I lay in bed and prayed. I asked God to forgive me as I have done many many times in the past. But this time was different, this time I prayed to God, "I know you love me, but hate the sin in me. God, if you love me, would you change my "rocky soil" to fertile ground, I know you can do all things and you can do this for me". I said, "How can I witness to others and serve You when I am living under the control of sin and am no different than the people of the world". The prayer was much longer and more in depth. I was feeling a deep sense of guild for not living up to the standard Jesus had required and taught. I had given up the "good fight" so many times before. (this was Contrary to what we were taught as Lutherans, there was NO need to change our walk and be different from the world). This time I asked God to help me do what I could not do on my own. I was desperate.
I slept well that night and when I got up, I felt a sense of newness and peace about me. Like a burden had been lifted from me. I had lost that desire to use bad language and the temptations of other "sins" that I had been enslaved by were gone. I realized how terrible sin is in God's eyes when we accept and condone wrong. As time went on, temptations did come back, but I had Christ as the "strong Man" in my "house" to keep the evil from ruling over me.
Don't get me wrong, I am still a sinner, and will always need the Lord Jesus to help me in my walk. With Jesus on our side, He will lift us up when we fall, help us fight temptations, and cover our sins, past present and future as we make them known to Him and "Keep in repentance".
On that night, God changed my life. The burden was lifted from
me by Him. I was set free.
Praise the Lord God our Father and Honor to His Son Jesus Christ
for His love for us! God bless you,