I became a born-again Christian three years ago. But in 2011, I experienced severe oppression.
At that time, I was attending a Bible college and we were studying the gospels. Once, our teacher read us the scriptures concerning the “unpardonable sin” and a very negative thought entered my mind about the Holy Spirit at that moment. I felt like I had died on the inside and my mind was immediately bombarded with thoughts of “You’ve done it now! You’re finished! There is NO pardon or forgiveness for what you have just done!”
I felt short of breath and sick to my stomach. I wanted so much to just get up and run out of the class, but I managed to regain my composure and made it through the rest of class. Yet, all throughout the night, I couldn’t help but have these crazy condemning thoughts that I was no longer saved. Even the very first thoughts I had when I woke up the next morning were, “You’re going to hell. You had your chance to make it to heaven, but you blew it. It’s all your fault. You did this to yourself!”
A hurricane of emotions swirled on the inside of me and I had absolutely no control over it.
This began a six-month downward spiral of condemnation for me. It was the hardest time I have ever had to deal with. I couldn’t eat because I felt nauseated at the thought that I had lost my relationship with God. I also lost 15 pounds and I couldn’t function properly.
I tried everything—praying, crying, pleading, casting out and fasting. I was doing everything that I thought I should be doing. I remember telling my pastor at the time that I was constantly searching the Bible looking for something to obey because I was taught that my breakthrough and my blessing were contingent upon my obedience. I thought that since what I was going through was radical oppression, then only “radical obedience” could pull me out of it. However, that only brought on a string of dead works that did nothing for me.
During that period, I was even convinced that I was demon-possessed because I would have twisted and perverted thoughts about people that were around me. I would be around the teachers in the Bible school I was attending and have thoughts and feelings of hatred toward them out of nowhere.
I tried so hard to stop these thoughts, but the more I tried to stop them, the worse they became.
It was so upsetting because I was trying to believe that I was saved, but the enemy would counter them by putting doubts in my mind—“If you really were saved, would you be having these thoughts and feelings? No real Christian feels and thinks the way that you do.”
Every day, I would wake up with thoughts and even scriptures telling me that I was going to hell. I literally thought I was dying. It was as if I could feel my life slowly draining away day by day. I had to garner all the strength in me just to go to work and get through the day. Then I’d just come home and cry on my bed. I was so happy when I was born again, but during that time of oppression, I thought that I had lost everything.
I reached out for anything and everything I could find that was Christian. I’d changed my cable subscription and I was getting a new all-Christian TV channel so I decided to have it turned on in the mornings while I got ready for work. It was at that time when I caught Joseph Prince on the Destined To Reign program. In fact, God orchestrated to have the Destined To Reign broadcast at the exact time I was getting ready for work.
So I began to hear more and more sermons on grace—messages that I had never heard before!
As I listened to them, I began to feel alive on the inside with feelings of peace and joy, something I hadn’t felt since the early days of being born again.
I had no idea what was going on in me but I just knew that I had to have more of these grace messages.
However, even though I was greatly intrigued by Joseph Prince’s messages, I was also terrified of listening to false teachings. I prayed and asked the Lord to point out to me if the message of grace is wrong but since He didn’t, I continued watching. And the more I heard about right believing, the more alive on the inside I became.
I started to fall in love with this beautiful Jesus that Joseph Prince preached about, in ways that I had only dreamed about before! It was as if someone had come and poured “miracle growth” onto my spiritual life. My eyes were opened to revelations that I had NEVER seen before. I was starving for God’s grace and I was brought closer to God than I ever thought possible!
When I was trying to be a good Christian, I was only crawling along inch by inch, but now that I’ve got hold of grace, I am running in my relationship with God!
The condemning thoughts began to fade, and the thoughts of failure began to change to thoughts of God’s love for me. God is telling me things that I never would have dreamed of hearing before. He loves me more than I ever thought possible!
I want to thank you, Joseph Prince, for faithfully preaching God’s amazing grace. Never stop! There are so many people just like me that need to hear this life-changing message.
My life has been radically changed by God’s love!
In closing, I have this to say. It is in NO WAY true that too much grace will lead to licentiousness, because the more I learn about God’s amazing grace, the more I desperately want to give my life to glorify Him! Thank you so much and keep fighting the good fight of faith!
Ryan Gonzales | Michigan, US