God is so good, goes the beloved children’s refrain. Indeed, God’s gifts are precious, and freely given to those who believe. Read below a testimony of one such youth on whom God worked mightily and providentially. May God be given all praise!
A testimony of how my life was changed
I became addicted to computer games, especially during my schooling days. At first, I occasionally played but eventually, I got so addicted to the point that I saw no meaning in doing anything other than playing computer games. During my first year in NS, by God’s grace, I managed to secure a place in NTU (which is where I am studying now). To me, I felt that my final goal of schooling is achieved: which is to study till we get a place in a local university and finish with a degree. As such, I felt as if NS was wasting my time because I have to wait for 2 years before I start my studies in university but I had to go through it. However, during these days, I felt a sense of freedom as an adult to really do anything I wanted. There were no teachers to nag at me, there were no exams to study for. Also, some of my army friends have their own cars to drive and so, I joined them in ‘outings’ to many places. We would explore many places in Singapore to eat, play and have fun. By God’s grace, I didn’t join them when they wanted to go drinking or go to sleazy places. During my weekends, some of the things I would do is to play computer games, card games with friends, play pool, watch movies, go to karaoke and sing, play bowling or swim. During those days, I was really enjoying a fun-filled life and I was happy with the way things were at that time.
However, towards the end of my NS life, as I was about to ORD, I started to realise all these fun is coming to an end. As I started to look back and think of what I truly accomplished in these two years, I realised there is nothing. Although to my army friends and to my superiors, I was a ‘good soldier’ who fulfilled all my NS responsibilities well. However, deep inside me, I felt I was a very lousy person. I felt an emptiness inside me which made me realise that I lived a life without God. My life of addictions to many things resulted in me becoming trapped in a vicious cycle. Time after time I have failed to quit my bad habit of gaming. Eventually I felt powerless to quit these addictions and it felt as if I was on a downhill path of no return.
One day, the pastor of our church approached me and spoke to me and ask if I would like join a church retreat in Malaysia. I agreed and I went for the retreat. It was a 3 days 2 nights retreat. During the retreat, pastor spoke on the topic “I have somewhat against thee”. This topic was actually Jesus’ own words against disobedient ones. It was a rebuke to me for I was in sin. I realised that I have to give account to God for all the things I did in my life. As I was thinking of all the things I did in my life, especially so for the past 2 years where I just had fun without giving any thought to whether it’s good or not, I realised that I am very unrepentant of my sins. My behaviour was also not good at home, and I gave lots of trouble to my parents. I realised that if I continued to succumb to these addictions in my life, it is not good for me and there is a judgment waiting for me. I also realised that though I thought I am Christian, yet I lived a life that is no different from a person who does not believe in Jesus. As such, I knew that if I were to continue living such a life, though it may be comfortable without worries, it is a life filled with sin and it will be displeasing to God. I realise that I will have to pay a price for sins which I have done. And the price I have to pay would be eternal death. This can be seen from Romans 6:23(a) “For the wages of sin is death;” For all the things I’ve done, I only deserve hell. I started to come clean with God. I also shared with pastor my problems. I was prepared to accept any rebuke that will come and learn from it because I don’t want to be condemned to hell. However, pastor gently dealt with me and he prayed for me. He knew I am really sorry over all the things that I’ve done. He then advised me to speak to some brothers in the church from the Gethsemane care ministry. These people used to be drug addicts and some were ex-offenders and they came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and their lives are transformed. So they can share their testimony of how the Lord Jesus Christ help them to come out of their lives of sin and I did so. Then one day, Uncle Arnold, our church staff told me to start listening to more sermons from pastor and to take them seriously.
I decided to take his advice and by God’s grace, I attended the youth camp this year April where pastor spoke on the topic of ‘spiritual hypocrisy’. Pastor explained to us what hypocrisy is and what consequence will come out of hypocrites. Of the many consequences mentioned, one that stands out to me is taken from 1 Timothy 4:2 “speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”. After skin is seared with a hot iron, there will be a hardened patch of skin covering it. And the result is that the area will not be able to feel anything. And that’s what happens to our conscience when we live in hypocrisy. We won’t be able to feel right or wrong. That is what sin does to our conscience, it makes us numb to the severity of committing sin. And that’s a really terrible state to be in. I realise I have been living a life filled with hypocrisy, it was so bad that I couldn’t even trust myself. As such, I don’t have the confidence whether I can keep my own promises to myself.
However, I learnt that there is a hope. Though my conscience was like seared with hot iron, the Lord Jesus is able to restore this conscience to be able to feel again. I had this resolve to quit all my addictions and bad habits. I know it’s very difficult to keep this resolve so I started by taking small steps to change the things I do in my life such that it is pleasing to God. The simplest way is to be more active in spiritual matters, and in church activities. I thank God that with this resolve and change in mind-set, I saw more meaning in going to church. As I listened to more sermons I could tell that these sermons are divine counsels. I learnt that all these sermons preached to us have a common purpose of drawing us closer to God. I’m glad I took that advice from Uncle Arnold because by listening to more sermons, I listen more to God’s word and these are messages that God have for me. Also, the more I occupy myself with God’s word and truth, the less time I will have for all these addictions which are bad for me. I slowly began to realise what it really meant that “only the Lord Jesus Christ can save us from our sins”. Slowly, as the days pass, my desire to play computer games, or watch movies fade away. Indeed, listening to the sermons regularly helped me to learn how to overcome my bad habits and to grow in faith and love for God.
And so, this is my testimony of how I was saved by grace. It began with a realisation that I am doomed to eternal hell for all the things I’ve done in my life because it’s displeasing to God. I hope to show the message that we all need a saviour for our sins. I hope my testimony can show what it is to let Jesus Christ come into your heart and that it is possible to live a life free from sin by the power of Christ. If we are sincere and repentant, God will help us and save us from our sins. My name: Zacharias, originates from the Hebrew word Zakar-Yah, which means “the LORD remembers”. I am truly thankful to God for remembering me throughout my life and for using me to bear a testimony for his name. Just as he remembers me, he will also not forget you if you trust him. Amen.