Erika Mendoza\'s Testimony

Erika Mendoza’s Testimony
Posted on Jul 3, 2016 in Devotions
ErikaThrough God’s grace, He saved me from worldly desires, false hopes, and myself—and the best part is that He gave me a new life because He forgave and loves me even though I’ve sinned.

I grew up going to a Catholic Church and school. We studied the Bible, performed the sacraments, and took tests in our workbook yet never did I truly grasp the importance of the Gospel. In fact, I believed in God as if it was just a religion or like any history course taught in school. Overtime, I became aware of my surroundings and what I’ve been doing. Most of the things I did “for” God were forced actions. I grew up believing that the people of God, who go to heaven, are people who believe in God, go to church, and does the sacraments/ charities. And I was so wrong.

Sometimes I thought… “Almost anyone can get into heaven then, right?” That’s when I started having doubts.  If God really talks to me like He does with the characters in the Bible, if I would go to heaven (because why would God let half-hearted “Christians” or “Catholics” into heaven?), and if God is real then why do I feel like an unchanged person even though I’ve heard the Gospel message thousands of times and read how the Truth changed the lives of some of the people in the Bible. Aside from already cheating, lying, and lusting, I began to look towards secular things to try to fill the emptiness in myself. I’ve experienced multiple low points in my life and realized that the first thing I would do is pray to God, despite putting Him as a secondary to no importance in my life.

However, slowly but surely, I began to notice my interest in God and His consistency of reaching out to me. When I attended GSBC’s first youth camp during the summer of 2011, I saw how God impacted the lives of His people. His people were broken, acknowledged sinners who love Him. I was in awe of how my best friends worshiped the Father and I noticed that they looked at God way differently than I or anyone else I knew did. They had a personal relationship with Him. I wanted what they had; I earnestly wanted a relationship with God.

I wanted to abandon my past self and desires and give Him my life… and I did. My relationship with Him is what saved me from myself, my sins, and the things this world offers.  To be a disciple of the Lord requires obedience–not obedience that is accepted in this world in which one gets to pick and choose which commands he or she wants to follow and when.

For five years, I have been debating with God about Baptism. Yes, I wanted to get baptized, but I always postponed it because I wanted to “reach” people by doing it, and at the same time, because I was scared to disappoint people. It took me five years to realize that God is in control and will take care of my worries; I needed to take up this cross and follow Him. I needed to abandon my thoughts of wanting to be baptized for the sake of other people and their judgements and follow His command now to get baptized for and because of Him. This experience tested my love and discipleship for God; and indeed as it is said in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” I remember the cost of discipleship through this verse and my commitment and love for God far surpasses my love for anybody in this world.

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