(Lee Delbridge’s Personal Testimony)
Recently I dreamed that I was taking a college-level course and was given an assignment to write a paper. The topic was something that had happened to me and how it affected me. I decided to write about my entire Christian experience. There are three parts: (1) What happens to me when I die; (2) What I should do while I am alive and still in fairly good health; and (3) What I should do if I become unable to do what I want to do because of my health.
When I Die
A person is not ready to live until he is ready to die (Hebrews 9:27). I realize that I am a sinner (Romans 3:23) and that my sins separate me from God. The wages of sin is death and separation from God (Romans 6:23a; Isaiah 59:2). Even though I am a sinner, God loves me and Jesus died for me (Romans 5:8). Jesus took the punishment for my sins upon Himself when He died on the cross (Isaiah 53:6). When I accepted Jesus as my Savior by faith in Jesus, repented of my sins, confessed Jesus publicly, and was baptized by immersion into Him (Romans 6:23, 10:9; Acts 2:38), the payment Jesus made on the cross was applied to my account. My sins were punished on Him and I received His righteousness (Philippians 3:9). Jesus paid it all. I accepted His offer of free salvation, but I did not add any value or merit to the transaction. I am going to heaven totally because of Jesus!!! My “ticket” to heaven is Jesus. It is not Jesus and Lee – just Jesus. I have assurance of salvation because I am trusting in Jesus alone (I John 5:11-13). It took several years after becoming a Christian before I understood the fact that Jesus took the punishment for my sins. Thank you Jesus for the free gift of eternal life.
While I Am Alive and Still in Fairly Good Health
I believe God wants me to grow spiritually and become more like Jesus (I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18a). According to Acts 2:42 there are four activities involved in spiritual growth: (1) Bible study, (2) fellowship with other Christians, (3) partaking of the Lord Supper regularly and (4) prayer. No one is perfect and we all continue to sin, but my intention is to be like Jesus. I fail miserably and am ashamed of my sins. In the Bible we are taught how to deal with sin. There are three steps: (1) Recognize sin as sin. (2) Repent of that sin. (3) Replace that sin with the Holy Spirit’s opposite equivalent. It is a sin when I violate a Biblical principle (I John 3:4; James 4:17; Romans 14:23). When I became a Christian I received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). With His help I should be able to live a more Christ-like life. I am disappointed in myself that I often fail in this area. Nine opposite equivalents, called the fruit of the Spirit, are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. After I repent of my sin, I should allow the Holy Spirit to replace that sin with the opposite equivalent – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and/or self-control. This battle against sin is a lifelong battle. I will never be totally like Jesus, but I should die trying.
If I Become Unable to Do What I Want to Do Because of My Health
My hope is that God will take me home while I am still able to do what I love doing (studying and teaching His Word); but if not, it is OK. Because of the curse of sin, we all get older and our health deteriorates. Like most people, I don’t like the fact that I am “going downhill” and am not able to do the things I used to do. My body is not as young as it used to be. My memory is not as good as it used to be. I love memorizing Bible verses and preaching without notes, but both of those things are getting more difficult. The Bible teaches that God will not allow anything to happen to me that He and I together cannot handle (I Corinthians 10:13). The Bible also teaches that God will eventually work all things out for my benefit (Romans 8:28) – all things, the good and the bad. God is in charge as to when I will die. I trust Him to do what is best for all concerned in all stages of my life.
I believe God has gifted me and has called me to teach His Word to as many people as possible. God created everything and everybody with and for a purpose – and gifted them so they could accomplish that purpose (Proverbs 16:4; I Peter 4:10-11). I love to study the Bible and teach it to other people. I believe that my primary gift is teaching. That is my passion. I believe that passion was put there by God and He expects me to do that as long as He grants me good health.
This has been a personal testimony, so it’s been about me. But what is true about me is also true about you. You too are a lost sinner in need of Jesus as your Savior. You too must accept Jesus as your Savior if you expect to go to heaven when you die. You, like me, were created with and for a purpose. God wants you to be saved, sanctified, and serving. Jesus died for you; and if you accept Him in the way the Bible teaches, you will have eternal, God-quality life. The Bible teaches that once you are saved you should grow spiritually, becoming more and more like Jesus. The Bible also teaches that God gave you service gifts that can be used to glorify Him and serve people. So, you have a purpose for living and assurance that when you die you will go to heaven to be with God. It is a win-win situation! If you live, you use your God-given giftedness to glorify Him and serve people. If you die, you go and spend eternity with Him. Paul taught this idea in Philippians 1:21-24. You should evaluate your life to determine where you are. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that is the first and most important thing to do. Do it now. If you have already accepted Jesus as your Savior, then you should make sure you are growing spiritually and becoming more and more like Him. This growth process is an ongoing lifelong struggle. You should also discover your God-given giftedness and how you can use it to glorify Him and serve people. If your health is failing and you are no longer able to do the things you love to do, you need to accept that fact and trust God – knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). This is true even in a sin-cursed world.
Let’s Review One More Time As It Applies to You
1. You are a sinner and sin separates you from God. The first and most important thing you should do is to receive Jesus as your personal Savior (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9; Acts 2:38, 2:42).
2. After you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, you should begin a lifelong process of spiritual growth (Acts 2:42; I Peter 2:2; II Peter 3:18a). Four elements in that growth are Bible study, fellowship with other Christians, partaking of the Lord’s Supper regularly and prayer (Acts 2:42). Your goal is to become more like Jesus.
3. You should discover your own God-given giftedness and find out where and how you can use that giftedness to glorify God and serve people (I Peter 4:10-11). You should live a purpose-driven life.
4. As you grow older, continue to do what you can do – but accept your own limitations with complete faith in God. Trust God to work it all out. He is God in the good times and in the bad times. He is God when you are young and healthy; and He is God when you are old and unhealthy.