I grew up believing that salvation is a result of doing good works. I delight in practicing human traditions because I thought this will make me right before the Lord.
I was still in grade-school when my family moved into a place where most of our neighbors are my relatives. During this time, I had a male cousin who was just few years older than me who molested me repeatedly. I was so innocent back then that I didn’t know that what he was doing is a form sexual harassment. What I do know was that I felt disgusted, unclean and ashamed. I felt so many emotions that just made me hate myself. I did not have the courage to tell any members of my family because I was so afraid of rejection. I was just blaming myself the whole time. I don’t exactly remember when did my cousin stopped abusing me however, because of that experience, my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects suffered deeply.
I felt unloved knowing that not even my parents were able to protect me. My parents both manages our business wherein they would wake up very early in the morning to go to our grocery store and would come very late in the evening. It also causes me to be exposed in watching movies with sexual content whenever I watch television in our house or in our neighborhoods. My mind was corrupted with lustful thoughts even at a very young age which leads me to commit sin against my body.
Though my parents were busy, they are the ones who taught us about Jesus. We learned how to pray from our father and my mother and I always went to church every Sunday.
However, even though I prayed to Jesus, there are times when I doubted His existence because of His silence from all my sufferings.
Apart from having a unpleasant childhood experience, I also suffered bullying from my grade-school classmates. I had a severe mosquito allergies that causes my skin to get swelling and redness then became dark circular scars all over my legs and arms. My classmates would make fun of me by calling names and send nasty messages towards me. I kept all the painful emotions to myself because I thought no one would really care and understand me. I became more unhappy, anxious, insecure and over sensitive because of these.
At a very young age, I felt the need to be liked and accepted. That’s why I studied very hard and was a consistent honor student during gradeschool and was one of the selected aspirant students in the top class section during my entire highschool years.
I also became very active in serving our local Church and I was the only one who was awarded as a Lector of the Year when I graduated in Highschool. This award was given to a chosen student who consistently serve the church by reading the Liturgy (word of God) during Sunday Masses. I thought I was pleasing God wholeheartedly but later did I realize that I also had a selfish motive which was to impress the people around me. I became self-righteous and proud.
I read the Bible only when I am infront of the crowd but in realilty, I did not make time to understand the word of God when I am left alone in my room with Him. Hence, I value impressing other people than having a personal relationship with Christ.
It was during college that God started to plant seeds in my heart. I met a friend who is a genuine follower of Christ. I recognized how she really love God the way she loves the people around her. She was kind, gentle, patient and would share verses from the Bible. That was the time that I started to seek God.
After I graduated in college, I move to Cebu to start earning money and to be independent from my parents. In 2015, two years after I started working, I was so worried about my direction in life and I prayed to God to reveal my life’s purpose.
My prayers were answered when a friend invited me to a Sunday CCF service. I was drawn and keep coming back every Sunday because I learned a lot from the messages that were preached. I eventually joined a dgroup (discipleship group) in the same year to help me grow spiritually. In one of our dgroup session, our leader explained to us the consequence of sinning against God and the solution on how one can be truly saved.
In Romans 3:23, it says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And in Ephesians 2:8-9 it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
God revealed to me the magnitude of my sins that separates me from His presence. I learned that having a religion and doing good works are not the means to salvation or not an assurance of going to heaven. We are saved only by believing in Him. Doing good works are just an overflow of our love for Him and the evidences of our salvation. We don’t need to serve to be saved. Rather, we are saved to serve. And the purpose of our life is to give glory to God.
I then declared Jesus as my Lord and Savior and committed to follow Him. Or so I thought.
In 2017, my fellowship with God drifted when I entered into an relationship with a non-believer. He was the first guy who persistently pursued me and even though I know I was disobeying God, I did not stop communicating with him until he became my first boyfriend. When we were together, I struggled in the area of purity. I gave my heart, emotions, and even pieces of my physical purity. I was telling myself all the while that I was still “pure” because I hadn’t fallen off the cliff. But deep within my heart, I knew that I was not pleasing God.
This made me had a double life. I would go to church every Sunday, still active in our ministry and attend our discipleship Bible study but I continue falling into sin willingly. I neglected the truth that if you refuse Jesus as Lord, you cannot have Him as Savior.
There are nights that I doubted my salvation because of my disobedience. This was the lowest point of life. I was so anxious until I cried out to the Lord to rescue me from my sinful flesh so that I will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
God gave me the courage to finally let go of that relationship and ask the Lord for His forgiveness. In 1 John 1:9, it says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. “
I recommitted myself to declare Jesus not only as a Savior but as the Lord of my life. I can’t thank Him enough for rescuing me and I praise Him because I was able to preserve myself for my future spouse.
Indeed, God refined the area of purity in my life. Spending time with Him, being part of a dgroup, and watching online Christian videos helped me to heal from my brokenness.
Obeying God brings so much blessings in my life. He gave me opportunities to share the gospel to my parents and directed me to lead my own dgroup with single ladies. I am also able to pray, care and share God’s love to my friends and even to strangers. God also helped me forgive the people that hurt me in the past. In Ephesians 4:32, Apostle Paul says “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
As I look back, I cannot fathom how God was so patient with me and love me unconditionally.
In Romans 8:28 it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
And in James 1:12, Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
But God is not finish with me yet. I am still a work in progress. There are still times when I fall into subtle sins like worldliness and sins of the tongue. Christianity is perfect but Christians are not. It is impossible to fully live the life pleasing to Him, but God promised us in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.
I am Jean Lopina, once empty, insecure, and lost but now found by Jesus Christ our Lord and filled with the fullness of His unconditional love.
To Him be all the glory and honor and praise. 🌹🌹🌹💖
🍂p.s. If God has spoken to you as you read this, and you feel that you have not experienced a real encounter with Jesus nor you are not sure that you are saved and will go to heaven, humble yourself and place your faith in Jesus Christ to save you by accepting His free gift of eternal life. You are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Good works are not the means to salvation, rather they are the evidences or by-products of your salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
You can pray this simple prayer to express your faith in Jesus Christ and receive Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior. You only have to pray this prayer once but with sincerity, because when He enters your life, He will never leave you.
“Lord Jesus, thank you so much for loving me. I confess that I am sinner and worthy of eternal punishment. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sins. With Your help, I am turning away from all my sins. Today, I put my trust in You as my Lord and Savior and I receive you into my heart. Thank you for forgiving me my sins and for coming in to my heart. I accept your free gift of eternal life. Thank you that one day, I will go home to be with you in heaven. From this day on, I will follow and obey You. Amen. “
If you have trusted Jesus to save you and express that trust by asking Him to come into your heart, then the following things happens to you:
- You have eternal life. -1 John 5:11-13
- All of your sins are paid and forgiven. (Past and present sins) – Colossians 1:13-14.
- You are a new person in God’s eyes. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
- You became a child of God. – John1:12
You’ll be in my prayers
God bless. ♡