My mother was already a born-again Christian, who had made Jesus Christ her Lord and Saviour when I was born on the 7th of May 1975.
I was thus exposed to the clear preaching of the Gospel of the salvation that God offers man through Jesus Christ from my very tender age. At the age of five I went to my mother and told her that I wanted to become a child of God. She preached to me the gospel of Jesus Christ telling me that because of my sins I was separated from God and that I was going to perish in the lake of fire. She told me about how bad sin was and asked me to confess my sins. I confessed to her my sin of theft of carrots from her fridge and the she led me to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my heart as my Lord and Saviour. From the little remembrance I have of that period, Jesus Christ was all to me. I just loved Him. I walked with Him and, even though I was a normal child with all the pranks of a child, I loved Jesus. Academically I did well at school and was often at the top of my class. Our spiritual leader adopted me as his son and gave me the rights as his blood children. This was because my blood father was living in another country and we had had no word from him and did not know his whereabouts. I eventually went to live with him and thus entered a near ideal setting for my spiritual progress.
I went on to college. In form one I won a scholarship of 10 000 FCFA and immediately I brought it to my father and he lifted it up and gave it to God. Spiritually, I was healthy and academically, I was doing well. In form four I was at the top of my class for two terms and was second of my class in one term. It was then that I backslid in my heart. I began to lust for the type of life that I saw my school mates were living. In my heart I began to desire sin. I began to desire to experience illicit sex. I wanted to have a girl friend like my mates had. I began to desire to be rich and I began to desire popularity with my schoolmates. I backslid in my relationship with God. I realised that the company of certain type of people began to trouble me. Those people who loved God totally and radically began to trouble me by their presence. I began to fear my father's presence and of course avoided all contacts with him except where it was not possible to escape. I changed my company. I remember one of my friends who was not a born-again believer but admired me for my stand for God and my zeal for God told me that he does not like what I am becoming and right there and then the new friend I had began to make said he liked what I was becoming. This troubled me but my heart had already strayed from God and I preferred the company of this friend who approved of what I was becoming. I finally asked to leave my father's home and wanted to live where I would be free to indulge in a life far from God because it was not possible to actively live in sin and be with my father. I asked my mother that I wanted to leave my adoptive father's home. I actually demanded it and left. I began to set plans to get money. Because I knew that you could not belong partially to God and to this world I totally abandoned everything that was of God. I set new goals where my goals had been to do all for God I now set goals in making money by any means possible. I knew that little religiosity will end me in hell still. I decided that I would pursue money with all of my might. I decided that would not try to pretend with any form of being good. I knew only too well that apart from a total Lordship and abandon to Jesus Christ fully I was going to the lake of fire. I set a goal that I would be a rich man by the age of twenty-two. I was then sixteen. I wanted to do drugs and anything that would get me rich. I began to sink spiritually, academically and morally. I became a very troublesome student at school and that same year I was taken to the disciplinary council of the school for rebellious conduct. My performance dropped drastically. My mother gave me money to register for ten papers at the O'levels. I went to register and instead registered for eight and spent the rest of the money. In my lust for money I began to gamble.
By the grace of God I passed the O'levels with 07 papers. I went to high school and sunk deeper into sin. I began to desire to experience what it was to have a girl friend and to sleep with women. I was scared because I feared the consequences of unwanted pregnancies, veneral diseases and death eventually. I sunk deeper into gambling. We would gamble for twelve hours non-stop forgetting to eat and drink. It soon became a bondage to me I could not help but gamble. I began to steal from my mother and anywhere I could without getting caught. Once when she realised that I was no longer trust worthy she started locking up her room. I broke the ceiling of the house and entered her room and stole money. This was to be able to finance my sin habits. I lied to girls especially promising marriage so as to be able to have them as my girl friends. I became a troublesome student at school and ended up in the disciplinary council for the second time in two years. I had become so terrible that the principal said to me “We will not beat you. Your parents are Christians go that they should pray for you because only prayer can help you now.” I was helpless and frightened about what I had become over the years.
By the mercies of God, I passed into upper sixths. At this point I must admit I was getting deeply disappointed inside and was totally miserable. Academically of course I had dropped. I was just barely promoted to upper sixths. I barely passed. Due to my frustration I sunk deeper into gambling.
I acquired the courage to kiss girls and fondle their bodies yet was frightened of going further. I tried drinking alcohol and found it bitter and bad tasting so I abandoned it. I got into drinking whisky and was bound by it for a time but it did not satisfy. I tried smoking but was too conscious of its health risks and had to abandon it. I continued to cheat and to lie and to gamble. I spent massive amounts in gambling so as not to concentrate on the fact that I was perishing. I still pursued my goal of getting money by any means and now desired to start trafficking drugs but never got anywhere. In upper sixths I was again taken to the disciplinary council for gambling on school premises and the Principal gave me a five day suspension and told me to come back after five days with my parents. I went with my mother and a brother in church who was a teacher in the school. And the principal insulted my mother saying she should take her son away and bring him back when he has decided to stop gambling. This was because the principal had asked us at the disciplinary council if we were ready to stop gambling and I said that I could not stop because it was like drugs in my blood. My mother burst into tears and I got up from the principal's office and ran away. I did not go back home that night and went instead gambling right till 02.00 am. My mother called my father and told him. I was terrified. It was as if she had shot a bullet through me when she told me that he was coming to see me. I was frightened because I knew he had God. He came and told me to write a letter of apology to the principal. At this point I was no more in control. Gambling had taken possession of me. I could not help but gamble. I wrote the letter and by the mercies of God was readmitted into the school. We took our gambling now into the bush. I stopped attending classes in upper sixths and in all attended about twenty lectures for the whole year. About one month to the Advance levels I decided I could find some peace and calm for my troubled soul in dancing. I went to a night club and decided to dance. I danced for five hours non stop. I danced and danced and danced and danced. Every type of music that was played found me dancing on the dance floor. After that I went home. As I lay on my bed I realised that I was empty frustrated and miserable. And a quiet voice asked me “Is that all?” I knew it was the Holy Spirit. Frustrated helpless and bound by sin I went to my mother and told her that I wanted to return to home to my father. She quickly went and told him. At the family devotion he asked my brothers and sisters that I wanted to come home. They gladly accepted. I came back home but had not yet repented. I was about three weeks away from the A'levels and I had no books, I had attended no lectures and was ignorant about what was to happen in the exams. Daddy sent us to an aunt's home which was quiet for us to prepare for the A'levels. I had lost hope in a possibility of passing. He told me that God was saying to me that give me your heart and I would give you the A 'levels. In this state I still was hesitant about abandoning the life I had lived because somewhere I understood fully that I could not come ack to Jesus without returning to a total wholehearted obedience to him in all things as a daily matter. So I hesitated about giving my heart back to God. I tried to look for a midway where I would have some say in the choices of my life but I knew deep inside that such had no place in the kingdom of God. I knew only too well the story of the Rich young ruler. My mother helped me to study along with my junior brother who was in the same class with me. They got me to answer past questions in abundance using my brother's notes. We wrote the A' levels and began waiting for the results. Some where during the wait I could help myself no more and I told God, “I give you my heart oh God! In mercy give me the A' Levels.” I told my mother that I wanted to repent. She gave me a book titled “TRUE REPENTANCE” I read the book a total of four times. In the book the author defined the way back to God. For clarity sake I would describe each step as I read it and how it affected me.
In the book the author outlined seven steps to true repentance as opposed to false repentance which brought about no change.
- He said there must be a godly knowledge of sin. That is sin must be seen and know for what God knows it to be. Then he went on to describe what sin was. Two points here stabbed my heart. The first was that I realised that all sin was primarily and foremost against God. And that God was the prime sufferer for all the sin I had committed. He said sin was a knife into the heart of God. It hit me hard. For some reason I saw at least in part the horror of what I had done to God by my sexual immorality, my theft, my cheating, my lying, gambling, rebellion, love of the world, love of the things of this world, and my bondage to a life of trying to gratify myself. It caused me deep grief inside and I wept bitterly before God for my sins.
- He said there must be godly sorrow for sin committed. Having be given a glimpse of what sin did to God I was deeply sorrowful about what I had done to God and to man. It caused me to weep bitterly.
- He said that sin must be confessed to God in detail as God know it to be and that godly confession of sin meant that you confessed your sins as God knew them to be without trying to hide any facts. I began to confess my sins to God. I wrote down in a book all the acts of sin that I could remember. I wrote to my father and confessed to him the sins that I had committed. After some time I remembered more sins that I had committed and went again to him and confessed them. Later on I gain went to him in greater details to confess more sins after I had confessed them to God. I kept confessing the sins as I remembered and as they came to me. Then I confessed my sins to those against whom I had committed them. I confessed to my mother the things I had stolen from her. Bed sheets, curtains, electrical appliances, and money. I confessed the lies that I had told to her and the immoralities of my life. I confessed to my uncles and aunties from whom I had stolen. I confessed to my brothers and sisters my thefts from them and my other sin against them.
- Then he said there must be a godly forsaking of sin. There must be separation from all the acts, company, places of sin. I immediately wrote to the girls whom I called my “girl friends” and said, “Dear enemy, the life we have been living has been one of sin against God and it is ended to day. Please forgive me for it has been sin against you too. The relationship is ended as of now. I exhort you to do what I have done and get right with God.” I separated from the friends with whom I used to gamble and never went again near where I used to gamble. The friends with whom I used to visit night clubs, I separated from totally and stopped meeting with them. I made new friends who walked with God.
- He said there must be restitution for sins committed. He said the person who wanted to truly repent must put right that we he had put wrong as much as was humanly possible. I made a list of the people from whom I had stolen and whom I had defrauded and the amounts that I had stolen. I confessed to those whom I had wronged and paid back to those who I had wronged. From some I multiplied the sum by four and paid back. Up till now I have not yet fully restituted. I still have the list and continue to pray for it that God will provide me with the means necessary to fully restitute. As I was confessing to my mother and restituting, I told her that it was painful. She said that those whom I had wronged were equally pained when I wronged them. I begged the girls whom I had promised marriage that they should forgive me and release me. I prayed for them continually that they would be married and by the mercies of God they are all married.
- Then he said that we were to seek forgiveness from God. I then asked the Lord to forgive and He did.
- Then he said that we were to seek restoration into the heart of God. I asked the Lord to restore me toHis heart. I knew God was under no obligation to either forgive me or restore me to His heart. I pleaded with Him to forgive me and to cleanse me and restore me. After that I had assurance that I was forgiven and restored.
I began to walk with God once again. I was blessed by God with a wonderful wife. This is how I came to know Jesus. Slowly I am coming into a joy that that is beyond the external impulse. That is how I came to know Jesus Christ.
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