Chris McKinney Testimony
February 7, 2014
You can read the long version of my testimony by clicking here (note: some readers have referred to it as my "life story" 🙂 ). If you like things short and sweet, here's the ADD version of my testimony:
I grew up in church, but my perception of God and Christianity was a little bit off. I understood God to be very demanding, harsh, and condemning, not full of mercy and grace. Suffice it to say, I rebelled against that. I decided to follow God at the age of 18. But by the age of 20, I had completely worn myself thin trying to live up to all of God's "demands". I told God I needed a break from Him.
14 years later, I found my life in shambles. While living life on my own terms, I had experienced some of what the world calls success. I had a beautiful wife and child. I was building a very successful investment management career. I had money in the bank, a nice house, nice cars, and a seemingly bright future. But I was miserable. I continued to drink more and more alcohol. Then came prescription drugs. Then came other substances. I lost my career. I lost everything I owned. I ended up divorced, alone, and living in a rescue mission and recovery center.
Before going there, I tried everything I could think of to beat addiction. Addiction is horrible. I absolutely do not deserve to be here today. I almost died several different times. I had a young son at home who adored his daddy... I loved and adored him too... and I still couldn't find the strength to stop. I did try though. I tried all of the man made solutions. I went to doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, rehabs, and various groups and meetings. I tried various medications that are supposed to help with addiction. In the end, I found them all lacking. Nothing even came close to working for me. It was only when I finally started to believe that Jesus cared for me and had the power to set me free that things began to change. I was taught that I was a child of God, not an alcoholic. But God did not wave a magic wand over me to cure me. I do believe that Jesus does this for some people... meaning He sets them free instantaneously. I'm not trying to put limits on God, but in my limited experience, it seems that He does that for people who are coming to know Him for the first time. But I was already a Christian who had willingly turned back to sin once before... how many times could I expect God to do this for me? Instead, I think He required some things of me first.
He required that I turn to Him alone for answers:
"And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." Psalm 50:15, ESV
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29, ESV
He required my trust:
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6, ESV.
He required that I be willing to do whatever it takes to cut sin and temptation out of my life:
"And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away." Matthew 18:9, ESV.
He required that I persevere until the change was complete:
"In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." 1 Peter 5:10, NLT
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9, NIV
"Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4, NIV
That was it. After about 7 months of fighting through the most painful time of my life, I woke up one day a completely different person. I struggled with doubt at times. There were times when I thought that just like before, nothing was really changing. Then all of a sudden, everything was different. I felt a freedom and peace that I can't really describe... and it wasn't a fleeting feeling. It was a literal change in who I am:
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26, ESV.
This is true for me today. I am not perfect, but I am no longer a bitter, angry, greedy, or dysfunctional person. I am not an alcoholic. I do not live in bondage to sin. I was told for so long that I would always have this struggle, and that I would have to spend every day of the rest of my life guarding and fighting against it. That was false! If you want freedom, there is one place where I am sure you will find it:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT.
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:14, NIV.
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” - Romans 6:18, NIV.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” – Luke 4:18, NIV.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36, NIV.
“For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person;” – 1 Corinthians 7:22, NIV.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1, NIV.
“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” – Romans 6:22, NLT.
“And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” – Romans 8:2, NLT.
“I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare.” – Isaiah 49:9, NLT
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32, NLT
In fact, no matter what your particular sins are, you need a savior. You may not be struggling with substance abuse and addiction. But the Bible teaches that all human beings struggle with sin. An honest assessment of your own experience, and a quick look around this world will confirm that teaching. Jesus Christ came to set us free from our sinful desires. The lusts of the flesh can never be satisfied. The only true satisfaction man can ever know is the love of Jesus Christ as savior. Only he can truly set you free.
Not only did I find freedom, but God restored the other things I lost. My wife and I reunited, and our family is restored. God is also restoring my professional life. His grace is amazing! I really appreciate any help in spreading the word about this website. I am trying to share what God has done for me, and also to use my knowledge and professional abilities in a way that glorifies God and helps others.
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