MY SECRET ORIGIN STORY
Me, in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (West Africa) circa 1980.
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Before we launch the 10 Minute Prayer System on Tuesday, I wanted you to get to know the person behind the posts, the emails and behind this tiny Christian company.
WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH ALONE
"During a four-month period, I did not have any food for a total of ninety days...With regard to prayer, I would pray eight hours per day. As to the Word, I would read 16 chapters daily." -Yed A.
My name is Yed Anikpo. I was born in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa. I came to the US in my early 20s and became a Christian at the age of 26. For most of my life, I was an atheist and a party animal. I can distinctly remember having an argument with a friend back in the day, holding his Bible in the air and telling him, “If there’s a God, I’ll be dead by tomorrow."
When I was first introduced to the Bible and to the truth of the existence of a holy God who loves holiness and who will one day punish evil and sin on Judgment Day and in hell, my initial reaction was that of pride.
I had the fool’s confidence that I could merit God’s favor. In my mind, Christ had done 99% of the work and now it was my turn to put in my 1%—the part that really mattered.
The College years, circa 2001.
So I embarked on an ascetic crusade to gain my salvation. My goal was to keep myself perfectly pure so that I would not break any of God’s commandments in my actions, words, or thoughts. I devoted my entire being to fasting, prayer, and meditating on Scripture. During a four-month period, I did not have any food for a total of ninety days spread out into two main fasts lasting thirty-three and forty days and four smaller fasts which lasted three, seven, four and three days respectively. With regard to prayer, I would pray eight hours per day. As to the Word, I would read ten chapters, five psalms, and one proverb per day.
The longer I followed this regimen, the more I was convicted of many other inward sins along with the obvious outward sins (sexual immorality, smoking cigarettes, drunkenness, etc.) that I had already abandoned.
An undiscovered world of rampant mental sin was laid bare before me.
An undiscovered world of rampant mental sin was laid bare before me. So I sought even more to control my thoughts at all times so that I would not have even one impure thought.
Despite my strict ascetic regimen and hours upon hours of crying out to God to free me from my sinful thoughts, I could not keep myself perfectly pure of all transgressions at all times. Knowing that the perfect God requires perfection (James 2:10, Matthew 5:48, Habakkuk 1:13), I was mired in despair, because I could not satisfy Him. No amount of vigilance could free me. I was undone. I had lost 60 lbs and my skin was hanging from my frame.
One evening in the depths of despair, sure that God was ready to crush me due to my inability to refrain from sin in thought, word, and deed, I fell to my knees at my bedside. As tears flowed down my black cheeks, I asked God, “Was not Christ supposed to have done all of this for me?”
It Hit Me Blindingly
It hit me blindingly. I had nothing to bring to the salvation table. Christ had done it ALL for me. Christ satisfied 100% of the works that I was commanded to do! He lived the perfect life that I could not live and bore the penalty of all of my sins that I could never pay. Jesus Christ is the ONLY ONE in whom God is well pleased (Mark 1:11). There is no other. I put a stop to my futile striving to please God in my own strength and finally put my faith in Christ.
"For by works of the law NO HUMAN BEING WILL BE JUSTIFIED in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe." (Romans 3:20-22)
Words do not do it justice, but I essentially ran outside of myself and into Christ.
It was March 6th, 2006. On that day, I stopped my fast, I stopped my eight hour prayers, and I stopped reading sixteen chapters of the Bible daily. I plugged in my George Foreman Grill and ate as many cheeseburgers as I could handle.
I was Free
A few months later, the LORD led me to a Bible-believing church. One Lord's Day, we sang “Rock of Ages” and the following verses rang true. It was as if the Lord was speaking to me. I know too well the truths contained in these verses:
"Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die."
In light of the inestimable grace the Lord Jesus Christ has shown me, my new life mission is twofold: One, to share the freeness of God's grace:
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1)
Two, to create habit-forming tools to help Christians grow closer to God. The upcoming 10 Minute Prayer System is one of those tools. I hope and pray the Lord uses it for your good and His glory. Hopefully, this testimony encouraged your soul.
I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR FEEDBACK AND YOUR VERY OWN TESTIMONY.