In September of 1985, I left home to enlist in the United States Air Force. I had no idea where I would end up or how God would direct my path. I didn’t have any reason to think He had a place in my life. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and God was not a part of our lives. Little did I know, He had a plan to work in my life and bring me to a place where I could hear the gospel and begin to understand my great need.
After basic training and technical school, I received my orders to Grand Forks Air Force Base. While living in the dorms, I was invited to attend Bible Baptist Church. The first time I went was a Wednesday night. I don’t remember what the message was about, but I left the church service knowing I didn’t have what those people had. I didn’t go back for a long time. I was comfortable, although miserable. I liked to party, and I didn’t want anyone telling me how to live my life.
The Lord was gracious and continued to draw me. When I observed the people at the church, I knew I wanted what they had. I had no peace in my heart. While I was visiting with a couple of friends from the church, they witnessed to me and I made what I later came to realize was a false profession of salvation. I remember the circumstances. I asked the Lord to save me, but my attitude was, “Okay, I’ll do this, but it’s still my life and no one is going to tell me what to do.” I had no understanding of Biblical repentance: a willingness to change my mind about my sin and yield to the Lord. I still wanted my sin. However, I started attending church regularly.
One of the first steps of obedience for a new Christian is baptism. It is an outward sign of what God has done in your heart. I had been asked several times if I wanted to be baptized. Of course, I didn’t. I knew it would make me a member of the church, and I didn’t want to give up my sin. It came to the point where I decided I had better do it, or people were going to start questioning my salvation.
Thankfully, I kept coming to church. After many more months of sitting under the preaching, I came to the point of admitting to myself that I had never been truly saved, and was still lost and in my sin! At that point my attitude was not, “I’m still going to do what I want to do,” but rather, “I need to be saved right now and I don’t care what I have to do!”
I immediately sought out my pastor’s wife. After talking to her, I knew what I needed to do. I knelt in their living room and asked for God’s forgiveness and salvation. Salvation is not in a prayer. I probably said all the “right” words the first time, but God was looking at my heart attitude. He knew that this time, I was surrendering all to Him. After I submitted to God, He gave me peace that I was saved, based on the promises in His word. Now I desired to be obedient to the Lord in scriptural baptism. I knew that there was something very different from my false profession.
As of this writing, it has been almost 24 years since the day I was saved. God has been such a good Father! He has changed me and given my life a purpose. I shudder when I think of where I would be if He had not worked in my life! So undeserving I was!
If you are not saved, realize that God has allowed you to read this testimony; He is seeking you. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are lost and without hope. Allow Him to speak to your heart and draw you to Jesus Christ and salvation. You will be eternally grateful you did!