My Testimony

by Pastor Patrick Cho

A few Fridays ago at College Life Searchlight, I took some time to share my testimony with the group. Seeing as it was the beginning of the school year, I thought perhaps the collegians would want to get to know their pastor a little better. It’s amazing to me that figuring out my personal testimony was at one point actually the most humbling and difficult things for me because it is now something I am most excited to share about with others. It was humbling because, having grown up in the church, I thought I had accomplished so much for Christ even before I became a true believer, and I didn’t want to admit that it was all for the wrong reasons. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I wasn’t a Christian for as long as I had thought because I was always proud of the fact that I became a Christian at a young age. When God leveled me with the truth that I had all this Bible knowledge and yet wasn’t saved, it was very difficult to accept.

My testimony has become really exciting to share with people because I’ve come to realize that there are many people who relate to my life experience. Peter Lim shared a message this past Sunday that described well much of my Christian experience. The message title says it all: “The Dangers of Growing Up in a Christianized Environment.” That was my life, a whole lot of Bible intake and no real relationship with Jesus Christ. I did so much that I thought was spiritual, and for the most part, I think I did a pretty good job of putting on a Christian façade. But in the end, I came to realize that all the understanding I had never really hit home. I think the biggest indicator of my counterfeit faith was my divided heart. Although there was a side of me that wanted to live for God, there was still a good part of me that only desired the things of the world and saw God as an unfortunate roadblock to my truest heart desires. My outward faithfulness was in large part an attempt to look holy before my Christian peers.

It wasn’t until college that I came face to face with the emptiness of this deception. By the grace of God, He convinced me that I could not serve two masters. I came to realize that I needed to recognize Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. I could not continue living for myself even though I did so under the guise of spiritual maturity. All my church experience, though it would prove ultimately profitable in my spiritual growth, would not benefit me at all if I did not first entirely surrender my life to Christ. I could not hold anything back, not even a small hidden compartment of my life for my own selfish desires. It had to all be His.

Growing up in a Christian environment with godly parents and Bible teaching churches at least proved to be beneficial for me. Even though I was saved at a much later age than I originally had thought, I began my true Christian walk with a lot of knowledge about God and His will for my life. I used to want to have a Christian testimony that was exciting. I thought it would have been cool to be converted from a life as a gang banger or a drug dealer or something. I no longer have those thoughts because I realize the great benefit there is in having been raised in a Christian home. I don’t think I would trade that. John Piper once said in a sermon, “You do not choose where you are born. If there ever was an act of grace, it is to be born into a Christian home.” I wholeheartedly concur. I am thankful that my parents are believers and that they raised me with an understanding of the truthfulness of God’s Word. I understand that not everyone has the same privilege and so I praise God for it.

My wrestling with my testimony has affected my ministry significantly. I no longer assume anything upon the people I preach to and teach. Someone may have grown up in the church and heard the gospel for years, but like with me, it may not have sunken deep into their hearts. Although they might be able to point to many spiritual experiences, those experiences might have come from an unregenerate life and heart. I preach the gospel as if it is the first time people are hearing it because there is the very real possibility that for some it may be the first time they actually heed it. This is one of the reasons why each year in the college group I make it a point to preach at least a few messages just on the simple gospel message. Praise God for His amazing grace to me. Though I thought I could see, I was indeed blind. He opened my eyes to see in truth, and it wasn’t until then that I realized exactly how blind I truly was.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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