Transformed By the Spirit
Testimony By Benjamin Yang—Irvine, California, USA
In the struggle between good and evil, I’ve come to realize that through prayer and God s grace, we can overcome the world. I truly thank the Lord for His guidance in my life. He has really opened my eyes to His miraculous ways. I’d like to share my testimony to help others overcome their own struggles with good and evil.
FIGHTING SIN WITHOUT SPIRITUAL POWER
For the past few months, I’ve been trying to draw myself closer to God. I would tell myself to come to service even though I did not feel like it. I read the Bible and other church publications. I would often meditate on God and ask Him to forgive my sins and give me more faith.
Throughout this time, I came to realize how spiritually weak I was and that I sinned whenever I went out with a group of my non-believing friends. Even though I resisted temptation and did not go out with them, I knew I was still weak in faith.
One night, I succumbed and went out with the same group of friends but, thank God, He kept me from sinning against Him. When I arrived home in the early morning hours, I felt a deep sense of emptiness. As I got out of the car and was about to open the door to my house, part of me was reluctant to go in. For some unknown reason, I was compelled to go to church instead.
When I arrived at church, I went up to the second floor, above the chapel. As I sat there, I thought about all the sins of my life.
ENCOURAGED BY THE LOVE OF A SISTER
While I was thinking about the things I had done a few hours earlier, I heard the sound of prayer coming from the chapel. I went to see who it was and there I saw a sister praying. A while back, she encouraged me to pray for the Holy Spirit. She even offered to pray with me, saying that she came to church every day at 8:00 a.m. to pray. I said I might join her, but I never intended on doing so.
When I saw her praying there, I felt ashamed for not joining her. I knew that she had probably seen my car in the church parking lot and would have wanted me to pray with her. So I went and joined her. As I knelt down in prayer, I was moved to tears. I started to repent of all my sins and asked God to forgive me. I made a resolution to stay at church that day until I received the Holy Spirit. But realizing there was a truth seekers Bible study that morning, I left church for home at 10:00 a.m.
Around noontime, before I was about to go to sleep, I felt compelled to write down all the shortcomings I wanted to get rid of. I had this burning desire to change myself, so I wrote down my weaknesses: PRIDE, SELFISHNESS, UNKINDNESS, IMPATIENCE, and LAZINESS.
Lying there on my bed, I pondered how I needed to be more at peace and to have more love toward church members. Suddenly, I had an overriding urge to get up and pray. For reasons I couldn t explain, I immediately felt the need for God, so I got up and started to pray. As soon as I knelt down, tears poured down my face. I felt a deep sense of sorrow and pain within as I thought about my life of sin up to that point. I am not the type of person that cries often but during that prayer I cried like a child.
RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
During that prayer, my “Hallelujah” were getting louder, and I began to wonder whether I was disturbing my neighbors. At the same time, I started to think about King David. Despite being a king, David was unashamed to offer praise to God in front of others. Even though he seemed very foolish to the people, he humbled himself before God and disregarded what others thought about him.
Just then, I realized how I cared too much about what people thought about me. What was truly important was what God thought about me. So I determined to disregard man s acceptance and seek after God fully in prayer. Once I disregarded my face and focused on God, my hands began to tingle and my arms began to shake. But I started to doubt if this was the Holy Spirit. I thought, Why would God still love and forgive a sinner like me?
Whenever I doubted, the Holy Spirit s movement went away and I would ask God for more faith and the strength to not doubt Him. I truly felt like I was in a spiritual tug-of-war. As I struggled with my faith, I also asked God to help me and forgive me. Suddenly I felt my hands shake. There was tingling and heat on my head. I began speaking in tongues. God wanted me to have complete faith in Him, without any form of doubt.
In that prayer, I felt as if I was nothing and wondered why I was so proud before. I used to think it was okay to be proud, as long as I did not act proud. Now, I understand that God does not like any form of pride within our hearts.
I had to bow and worship God with my face to the ground because I couldn’t face Him directly. I was filled with so much joy because God still loved a great sinner like me. I asked God to never let me forget my iniquities and to always let me remember His wonderful grace.
I can t explain it, but I truly grasped the full height, depth, width, and length of God’s great love. How great and awesome is God! In the past, I often heard the words of the Bible, but I never felt like I understood or truly grasped them until I experienced God for myself. He opened up my spiritual eyesight and many things in the Bible suddenly made sense and came alive for me. It became very clear to me that nothing in this world is more important than God.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
I truly feel that every prayer to God, every thought of Him, and every utterance of Hallelujah add up. As long as we put forth the effort, He will see our heart and help us through our dark days. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (Jas 4:8).
Before I received the Holy Spirit, I had been trying for months to be good. But at the lowest point of my spiritual life, I felt like God uplifted me.
I used to constantly think about my stock investments, driving a nice car, and getting married. When I received the Holy Spirit, all the things of this world became unimportant to me.
All I want to do now is to abide in God s will. I know it will be a constant struggle, for there is constant spiritual warfare within us. I pray that God will protect me from returning to my life of sin and will remind me of His wonderful mercy and grace.
Through my experience, I hope to encourage you that experiencing God in prayer will spiritually empower you in your Christian walk. It will uplift your spiritual life and renew your faith in Him. May all the praise be given to our merciful and loving God. Amen.