Seventeen years ago I died. Well, not literally I don’t think. I have shared my testimony several times over the years. It’s a story of unknown brokenness—a college student doing “normal college student” things. It’s also a story filled with overwhelming grace—God giving me a chance I didn’t deserve. I’m shocked to see that my story has been shared over 10,000 times on Facebook.
The “Good Old” Days
I remember those college days. Living for the weekends. Hitting “the store” for a package or two. I still run into classmates who knew the old John. What happened, John? In college you were…
Jesus happened. And I’m not talking about in the “I heard a message that changed my life one day in Church” kind of way. I’m talking about the “going in a completely different direction and getting the wake-up call of my life” kind of way. It’s amazing that God uses both these methods to call us to Himself.
The Night I Died
Below, I wanted to reproduce the brief testimony I shared with a Christian website almost ten years ago as a reminder of God’s grace. Who knows, you might discover something new about my Pentecostal/Charismatic beginnings:
On Sept. 30 this year I was at home studying for a test, not knowing that this would be the night that I would die to self. I was preparing to go out that night when I started drinking. Afterward, my roommate came home and told me that he had some marijuana. I never smoked it in my life. This was my first time and would definitely be my last. After drinking and smoking, I started feeling weird sitting on my couch. All of a sudden I looked at my roommate and told him that I loved him and to tell everyone else that I loved them and that I was “gone.”
The sequence of events that happened afterward was horrific and I would wish them on no one. I fell to the floor and passed out. During this time, my sinful life was passing before my eyes. The music I listened to, the girls I messed over, the times I partied, the material things I cherished, as well as other sins that I rendered to be “little sins.” I felt as if I were going through eternal torment. I was a Christian, but at that moment I realized that I had backslid in a major way. I began to scream but nothing would come out. I called out to God. I said, “just let me go back and be a living testimony.” I want to change people’s lives.
At that moment I felt a rush come through my body that isn’t humanly explicable. He basically snatched me out of the gates of hell and picked me up off of the floor. I jumped up ran out of the door and went to a neighbors apartment. As soon as she opened the door, I walked in burst into tears and told her that we needed to change our lives and start living right. That’s just the beginning of a journey in which I’ve become on fire for the Lord and have learned to put full faith in Him. Since then, I’ve received my Spirit baptism. Some people don’t really know what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and seek that filling daily. I didn’t know before that the Holy Spirit is a Comforter and dwells within and helps you in your walk. I was trying to do it alone before and that’s where I made the mistake. I seek God’s will in my life diligently and wherever I’m led to go or whatever I’m led to do I’ll do it.
Today, I might have written it differently. But I appreciate reading the raw emotion I felt in recounting that event early in my Christian walk. It was the night I died to myself. And I’ve been a dead man walking ever since.