by Aaron Joseph
I was born into a conservative family. Looking back, though I hadn’t understood the purpose of my life, I see that God always had a plan for my life.
I grew up among wonderful people who encouraged the belief in the existence of a supernatural power and practiced idol worship. As a moderately obedient child, I grew up worshipping idols. I felt that the idols were supreme in power and were worthy of worship.
As a young boy in school, I learned that the Almighty was the Creator. He could not be created! This teaching was a part of our Moral Science classes in school. Though compelled to worship idols at home, I lost the interest in them. Coercion made me deviate towards atheism.
As an atheist adolescent, I openly challenged the existence of God. Though one of the most boring chapters in science, the theory of evolution gripped my intellect and my pride took over. I topped my school in academics and looked down on everyone. Somewhere in midst of blinding pride, I noticed my parents’ humility and started becoming humble – a humble atheist!
As a humble atheist, I frequently engaged myself in religious conversations with a school friend, who was a CSI Christian. He never told me anything specific of the hidden treasures of his faith but I respected Christ out of my respect for my friend. I was taught by my grandfather that Christ Jesus was a noble personality, though I never understood His sacrifice, which I thought was foolish. During my childhood, Christ had been one of the two gods, I admired, because I thought that a God isn’t required to get married!
When my mother was sick in March 2005, Christ revealed Himself to her, and it was only then did I really try to find out who Christ was. He miraculously healed my mother — who was sick for a long time — and that drew my attention.
After that, my parents, my brother and I accepted Jesus as the Lord of our lives. From there we were guided wonderfully by a very noble pastor from a Charismatic Church.
As a Charismatic Christian, I started learning the Bible. Christ was presented to me as the centre of the Bible. My life started changing as I started realizing the small facts about the creative brilliance of God and rapidly the evolutionary atheist died in me. It was here I realized that I was in darkness and that Christ had come to me personally. Christ became “God” for me from simply being “a god”.
It was here I realized that I was in darkness , and now that Christ had come to me personally.
A year after I became a Christian by heart, a couple of aspects of the faith started bothering my common sense. One of these aspects was of losing control over oneself when the Holy Spirit descends. This loss of control is only seen in demon possessed people in the Biblical narrative. Another aspect was the speaking in tongues. It was taught that Satan doesn’t understand this language and that we need to speak and pray to God in this “divine language”. My confusion was that if God is Almighty, then why should I speak to him fearing Satan? Does not the Bible place Satan defeated already? These thoughts made me question the pastor and other elders in the church. They gave me the best counsel – “ask the Holy Spirit, He will answer you.”
Back then, the Book of Revelation was my favourite. I was frequently discouraged to read this book, being told that plagues will be added or blessings of Heaven will be removed if I “add or remove” from this book. Hell became a very troublesome concern for me. I started “fearing” God. Somewhere along the way, the love for God was slowly leaving my heart and a slave was being born within me.
I followed the counsels of the pastor and kept asking the Holy Spirit to teach me. It was in April 2007 that I came across a video where a prophecy was interpreted and somewhere in my heart I felt that it was accurate. Along with that video, came another one explaining the Sabbath – the forgotten commandment! Those two videos turned my way of looking towards prophecy from following the futurist view to the historicist view.
A more diligent research led me to a website which cleared almost all doubts that had risen from misinterpreting the Bible. I now associated myself with the Seventh-Day Remnants. For the next 7 years, till March 2015, the Seventh-Day Remnant belief fine-tuned my Biblical knowledge and outlook. I grew sound in prophetic knowledge. Yet, something much important was missing! I never felt happy in spite of gaining precious Biblical truths.
My pursuit continued, until one brother from the SDA Central English Church, in Bangalore, led me towards Seventh-Day Adventism. Up till this point, I used to consider the Seventh-Day Adventist faith as being Babylonian, just as the Remnants portrayed them! I never engaged in fellowship on Sabbaths & rather spent time alone at home watching sermons.
On 7th March, 2015, I decided to visit the Cunningham Church and spend some time in fellowship. As the Sabbath School study was going on, I was invited by an elder to join them. I felt very happy seeing the organized method of Bible study. I understood that I had missed out on a lot and can’t afford to miss anymore! I took a decision to come to this Church every week.
That Sabbath, after the Divine Service, I was introduced to the youth in the church and we all had a wonderful Bible study fellowship. I remember that I was in tears on that day, telling God that I had missed such wonderful fellowship with my brothers and sisters for so long! This made my decision of coming to Church every week stronger.
The elders welcomed me and the church members showed so much warmth to me on the first day, that I found my complete family in them! One brother voluntarily spent his time with me sharing his knowledge about the Adventist Church and that cleared away the Babylonian picture of the church from my mind and heart. I knew then that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was the chosen movement which God was to use for the latter days.
I knew then that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was the chosen movement which God was to use for the latter days.
It was within this church that I learnt the most precious message of 1888 – Righteousness by Faith in Christ. This message completely changed my outlook towards life. I realized what “love” is, which gives and sacrifices itself. I met the first love of my life! I fell in love with Jesus.
It was on 8th August 2015, I took a decision to stand for Christ, along with my parents. I was water baptized and my life has been gradually changing since then.
More than 3 years have passed in my journey as a Seventh-day Adventist. I would never have known Christ (it is still a daily process), if not for the blessed messages God brought to this church. The Seventh-Day Adventist Central English Church in Bangalore has always given me warmth and a sense of belonging to a family, and every Sabbath I am drawn to the church to meet the wonderful people there and learn about God from them.
Finally, when I look back to my life, I clearly see God’s hand in bringing me this far!