Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NAS)
"If Nicky could change, pigs might fly!"
Such a comment would not have been too far-fetched for the people who knew Nicky Cruz before he received Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
As one of 18 children born to witchcraft-practicing parents from Puerto Rico, Nicky from a very young age had suffered severe physical and mental abuse at their hands. By the age of three and a half, his heart had turned to stone. When he was 15, his father sent him to visit an older brother in New York. Nicky did not stay with his brother for long but chose to make it on his own. By age 16, Nicky became a member of a notorious Brooklyn street gang known as the Mau Maus. Within six months he became their president and ruled the streets as warlord of one of the gangs most dreaded by rivals and police. Lost in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and brutal violence, Nicky's life took a tragic turn for the worse after a friend and fellow gang member was stabbed and beaten to death.
No authority figure was able to reach Nicky until he met a skinny street-preacher named David Wilkerson. David showed him something he never knew before—relentless love. Nicky beat him up, spat on him, and threatened his life, yet David did not give up but continued to show the love of God which grew stronger than any adversary Nicky had ever encountered. By and by, the thick walls of Nicky's heart melted and he received Jesus as his Savior after hearing a gospel message presented by David.
The story of The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson with John and Elizabeth Sherrill tells of how Nicky Cruz surrendered his life to God and exchanged his weapons for a Bible. Today, Nicky is a Christian evangelist who for the past 50 years has been traveling around the world reaching tens of millions of people with his testimony. He continues to minister in inner cities, prisons, and stadiums personally speaking to hundreds of thousands annually.
Before the apostle Paul came to know the Lord, he was in hearty agreement to put to death the followers of Jesus (Acts 8:1). When he came to Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion, he tried to associate with the disciples but they were afraid of him and did not believe he was a changed person. Barnabas had to take hold of Paul and present him to the apostles describing to them how Paul had seen the Lord on the road at Damascus and spoken out boldly in Jesus' name (Acts 9:26-27). Paul had since testified about his changed life and encounter with Jesus on many occasions (Acts 22:6-16; 26:12-18). He also shared about how he persecuted those who believed in Jesus before his conversion (Acts 22:4-5).
Paul wrote in the epistles what it means to be a new creature and to have our old selves crucified with Jesus so we might no longer be slaves to sin but lived anew (Romans 6:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17). His testimony and stories about his missionary journeys and imprisonment till this day continue to reach out to many and touch lives.
Like Wilkerson, Cruz, and Paul are we sharing our testimonies to bring others to Jesus? Perhaps we might think our testimonies are insignificant, especially in comparison with those of well-known evangelists. No matter how humble our testimonies might seem, the truth is God can use our stories to touch some hearts and win some souls (Mark 5:19-20; 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15-16).
Dear Lord, thank You for loving us with Your relentless love even while we were yet sinners. We know Lord nothing of our past or anyone can separate us from Your love. Help us put off our old selves Lord to live anew in You and not be ashamed to share our testimonies regardless how insignificant they might seem. Use the stories of our lives Lord to touch some hearts and bring some souls to Your kingdom.