”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
My name is Joshua O. Asih, I’m a Nigerian, I’m a born again Christian.
I was not given birth to as a Christian, no one is “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 KJV).
I was given birth to in the church, my parents are Christians, since my inception to planet Earth, and I’ve always been in the church and a good one for the matter. But still, I was never a Christian. I always go to church, but I never did catch a sermon, and none caught me. Most Sundays at service, you’d definitely catch me sleeping at the sermon period. My dad would always scold me or punish me when we return home if ever he sees me sleeping at church. In a bid not to sleep at the sermons, I had to devise a method to keep me awake during the time. I started writing lyrics of songs, the ones I could remember, mostly the ones of Eminem and Lil’ Wayne (they were actually my favorite artists then).
I continued this way for a while, not foreseeing a deadly doom that awaited me.
At age thirteen (13), I was involved in a crime (that did change my life from bad to worse), implicated by a boy in my class then (I was in SS1 or grade 10) and the crime got me a jail sentence of four (4) years in prison, in chains. The crime was pornography, the prison was addiction. Thus was how the illest days of my life began.
While doing my time in prison, I met some ladies which I flirted, dated and eventually got laid with. They were pride, envy, lust, hate, stony heart, local fame, the list goes on. I thought they loved me, it wasn’t until each of them missed their ‘times’ that reality dawned on me. One after the other, they told me they were pregnant, the bad part was they all were carrying the same baby for me, ‘Death’. “For the wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23a). With the situation on ground, I thought still, “Oh well, I probably could live with it”, not knowing it really wasn’t how I pictured it.
At certain times, my mom and my lil’ bro always tell me about the rapture and the punishment by the anti-christ on those who will fail to be raptured. My single reply (every time) was “if eventually I didn’t go with Christ during the rapture and the anti-christ comes, either I’ll starve myself to death, or I’ll stand up to the punishment no matter what, after all I’ve watched ‘Left behind’ and other rapture movies, I’ll sure hold up.” I never knew “Reality ain’t always what we find up on our screens.”
At age seventeen (17), the fourth year of my prison time, I got into college. That was the year 2013, January. I went to campus as a student for the first time on the 3rd of January, 2013. The same night I got there, I did my prison activity. I picked up my phone and started reading an
erotic story. Poor me, I thought I was gaining an edge on life, never knew I was hanging on the edge of destruction. My prison time was supposed to be a life sentence, judging by the one who got me trapped in there, Satan.
“But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” (Isaiah 49:25 KJV).
During the end of January, something I still can’t fathom happened. It was a Monday, last week of January, I just got off the phone with my mom, and headed to the barber shop for a haircut. The campus fellowship I was attending was right beside the barber shop and we were to have fellowship that day, it was just an hour away. While I was at the barber shop, waiting for my cut, a guy walks in, I don’t know him, he carried a bible, I’m supposing he is a member of the fellowship (I saw him earlier at the front of the fellowship venue). He asked me to pay for his haircut which I did, I didn’t even know why I did. After I was through at the barber shop, I got home, picked up my bible (whose contents never intrigued me) and went to service. After service, I went home … I really can’t remember the sermon that was delivered that day, all I can remember when I got home that day, I was weakened, then I suddenly found myself in my bathroom, broken to pieces (not literally – talking about my heart). It was there and then I gave my life back to Jesus Christ. In an instant, I experienced a ‘jail break’, I was FREE. The urge to sin, to follow my addiction wasn’t there anymore. At that point in time, I couldn’t think about anything save Jesus. Scales fell from my eyes that moment, because while in sin, I was blind. “…whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV)
But though saved, I still felt a sense/shroud of guilt surrounding me. I was wondering why.it wasn’t until a day at service, the preacher while preaching mentioned a verse “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20 KJV). Instantly, I felt the sense of guilt and a burden lifted from off me. The joy that filled my soul knew no bounds. It was the joy of salvation. The jailer, the devil, knew he had failed ‘cos he had no charge against me anymore. I was given the right to life again, the ladies I was dating earlier on (pride and co) were loosed from me and they returned back to their master the devil. I was much more alive than I’ve ever been my whole life. The essence of Christ’s light upon me was so much, I couldn’t contain it. I started broadcasting it, like gospel rapper Lecrae rightly said, “How can I keep this to myself, somebody bled for me.” I never knew how to pray, Christ taught me. I never knew how to preach, He imputed the boldness in me. And that was my turning point.
I’ve had my ups and downs in Christianity, but because of the eternal love of Jesus and the people He surrounded me with, I never stayed down.
Here am I today basking in the glorious eternal grace of Jesus Christ, who broke me out of prison to see the light of His gospel of salvation. Glory to God. For the people Jesus surrounded me with, I really couldn’t have gotten thus far without their help. Minister Asemota Peter was there, he knew my salvation was on its way while I was yet in prison. I had a couple of friends who structured my life morally on campus then. Imole Aliu was there, alongside my roommate Yoma Lilyo Dikoru, sister in Christ, Teßamifor EyitÖmi MÄrci, my own brothers, Asih O. Jeremiah and Jude Aghwaremre. Also minister Frank O. Adeleyewho was saved after me but today he’s one of my greatest Christian brothers I look up to. Towards the end of the year 2013, I met some Christian brothers and sisters on facebook, the likes of minister David Samuel, Minister Brandi Hardin and minister Tammy Victorious Mikels. Sister in Christ Jesus, Ikade Isioma whom God used at a time to minister to me, my pastor at campus, Pastor Ikechukwu Stanley Ugwuaduwho saw a light in me amidst the darkness that surrounded me. There was minister Ebosa Monday, under whose leadership in the church I stood steadfast in the faith, my pastor at home, Pastor Jolaf Precious, wonderful man of God whom God has been using to structure my life both spiritually and morally, who has also affected me in positive ways subliminally. Also, the pastor of the church I attend, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, a defender of the faith whose teachings structured me each time he drops what God lays in his heart and till today, I’m still being structured by the teachings.
Not to be left out is my wonderful and dear friend, Ms Wome Lois who has been a friend indeed. And my mom, oh my mom, God bless her. A woman who never ceased in prayers for me and my salvation, because she knew that God created me for a purpose, which is to serve Him.
Finally my dad (RIP) who through spoiling of the rod and godly corrections spurred me on the path to life.
Today I can proudly tell you that I’m saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). I didn’t deserve this great salvation I got. I was deserving death, but Jesus, had compassion on me and died in my place so I could live, He saved me.
If you’re out there still in sin and you’ve read this but you are thinking your sins are greater than mine, if I tell you some of the things I did as a sinner, you would never believe it. So calculating or pondering whether Christ Jesus can accept you as or not ain’t for you to decide. You don’t have to hide your sins, you don’t have to hide your failures, and you don’t have to change first. Just come to Jesus, He’ll change you from the inside out, He’ll life that brden from off your shoulders (Matthew 11:28). The yoke of sin and satan is heavy and deadly whose end is death. But Christ’s yoke is easy, His burden is light. Come unto me, Jesus says, you that is burdened, imprisoned and on death row, I will give you life, I will give you rest. In me, He says, you shall have peace ,in the world rather, you shall have tribulations. Seek ye the Lord Jesus today, believe me, your life will never be the same.
God bless you.