I Was So Close,
Yet So Far Away

-James Malitsky

“I Was So Close, Yet So Far Away”

-James Malitsky


 

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The events leading up to my salvation started when I was about 13 years old. I had been experiencing conviction from the Holy Spirit during that time and was very close to salvation. But I was like king Agrippa in Acts 26:28, who said to Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me….” I was so close, yet so far away.

After a while though, the conviction kind of dropped off, and I was dead to anything the pastor said or anything anybody else said about God or His Word. I just tried to make it look like I was walking with God on the outside, when really on the inside I was not doing my devotions or even pursuing any kind of walk with God. I would come to church and do the right things just to save my reputation and make it look like I was saved, but on the inside, I wanted to keep my sin.

 

“I didn’t want to give up the life that I was now living.”

 

Then, announcements for the 2015 summer camp were starting to pop up. I started praying for God’s conviction again and for Him to show me my sins and to show me that I couldn’t have any relationship with Him on my own merit. Even still, I didn’t really try to seek Him or search for answers in His Word.

So, the time finally came when we would go off to summer camp in Ohio for five days. I packed up and rode to Ohio on a bus with the rest of the teens in the youth group for ten hours. I was just kind of hoping that, throughout the week, I would get on the right track to salvation or maybe even get saved. (Note: “saved,” “salvation,” and “born again” are Biblical concepts referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.)

Monday came and went, but I felt no conviction or anything. But Tuesday was when things started to happen. I sat through each of the morning and afternoon services, and then came the evening service. Before each service, we would have about fifteen minutes of quiet prayer time, and during that time, I earnestly prayed that God would show me my sin so that I could confess it and make things right with Him.

 

“And that very night, God answered my prayer in such that I could have no more doubts that God was real and sent His Son to die for me.”

 

The special speaker that night – Pastor Brian Weiss – preached from Judges 15:1-9 about Samson in a message entitled “Setting Up for Failure.” In his message, he talked about how Samson deliberately broke his Nazarite vows (a vow that in Old Testament times meant a person was abstaining from certain things in order to be set apart for God), and that really kind of described my life. It was as if Pastor Weiss was talking about my life in front of everybody else.

At that time, I fell under such great conviction that I don’t even know what the rest of the message was about. I realized then that I was a rebel against God and could not have a personal relationship with Him. I couldn’t wait for the message to end so I could come forward and set things right with God once and for all. There was no more being a deceiver.

As soon as the service was concluded, I went down to the altar and told Pastor Weiss that I needed to be saved. He then took me over to Pastor Roland who took my outside and showed me some things from the Scriptures. I then prayed with Pastor Roland, repenting of my sins and placing my trust in Jesus Christ as the only One Who could atone for my sins because of what He did on the cross that day.

 

“A great peace swept over me after I accepted Christ and became a born-again believer!”

 

Also, my life has been transformed; I no longer desire after the things of this flesh – “…old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” as it say in 2 Corinthians 5:17. I now find true happiness in the Lord and real joy in serving Jesus! I am looking forward to whatever the Lord has in store for me for my life. I pray that each day I live may glorify the name of the Lord.