Beyond the Series: Transformed by Grace

Beyond the Series: Transformed by Grace

God’s grace invites us into God’s family and enables us to live differently. It changes us from the inside out.

I was 14 years old when I received the gospel. I grew from a very insecure high school boy into a purposeful young man in college because of God’s grace. Many years later, that grace carried me to where I am today to fulfill the calling that God has placed in my heart.

God’s grace transforms and dramatically changes our lives. When we begin to recognize who Jesus is and begin to trust in Him, a transformation begins.

Before I met Christ, I seemed very kind and cooperative, but all of that was actually driven by insecurity. And that’s the first thing that God dealt in my heart. He assured me that I am His child: He approves of me, and He is pleased with me. His grace made me realize that I do not have to work for the approval of other people nor fear failure. A lot of people today, even those who are very successful, struggle with these things because these are issues of identity that only God can heal. Nothing and no one in this world can make us secure nor heal our hearts.

When we begin to understand that we do not need to perform in order to gain approval or be liked by people, we start to stand up for what is right. And we also learn to forgive. When we do not understand God’s grace, it would be hard for us to forgive other people or ourselves. But God’s grace is able to forgive and heal us from our past, no matter how painful or big our sins are. His grace also enables us to love unconditionally. We don’t easily judge people, and we become more loving and accepting of everyone around us.

God’s transformational grace allowed me to pursue Him in a deeper way and have a greater sense of purpose. I began to take on life with new vigor after I received Christ. I went to college with extra inspiration and by His grace, strived to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. I approached relationships with loyalty knowing how loyal God has been to me in spite of my flaws. He brought me to that road of intensive transformation.

Now, I have a family of my own, but, I’m still very amazed at how much God has changed my life. And His grace didn’t stop with me. It transformed not just my heart but even the lives of those around me—my family and friends. It is my prayer that their lives will also be used by God to affect those around them.

God’s grace isn’t just about personal transformation; it’s about being personal witnesses of His grace. When God transforms our hearts, we become salt and light to those around us. And when we allow Him to use us, we get to advance His kingdom and help transform a portion of the world that sets off a series of things that affect other people and place a greater sense of purpose in their lives.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

 

Pastor Jon Naron serves as the director of Victory Provincial Churches, overseeing over 100 churches beyond Metro Manila, and is a member of the Every Nation Philippines Executive Team. Prior to that, he served as the senior pastor of Victory Imus. He is married to Let and has four children: Gabrielle, Kristianna, Albert, and Allyana.

Beyond the Series is a set of interviews with Victory pastors on topics related to our sermon series.

Nothing Like His Word

Nothing Like His Word

I am a tax and corporate lawyer. Before I came to know  Christ, my life revolved around my career and my college fraternity. Being well-known around my circles was very important to me. My stature in society became my source of security.

Every night, I would spend countless hours going out with friends, drinking, gambling, and womanizing. I didn’t care if I was slowly plummeting into debt. I lived to gratify myself. But not too long after, my hedonistic lifestyle caught up with me. I lost my wife—and almost lost my children. I was left feeling empty. All the worldly things I used to be obsessed with gratified me only for a little while. In the long run, I was left with nothing but a hollow space in my heart.

In May 2001, after one of my wild nights with friends, I woke up feeling lost and lonely. I called up a friend from Subic and met with him. I told him what I felt and was surprised to find out that he had given his life to Christ. He showed me a passage from the Bible, and it struck my heart. The following day, May 6, 2001, I attended a worship service with him at the Makati Sports Club. During the preaching, I felt like I was being bombarded with bullets—every single word pierced my heart; I was so convicted of my sins. At the end of the service, during the altar call, I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I thought my life would become boring after receiving Christ since I would have to turn my back from the worldly things I used to do. But I was proven wrong. My life became even more meaningful and exciting after I received Him in my life.

Before, my life was of haughtiness and arrogance. I felt that I was better than most people; I was self-centered and so full of myself. But my attitude changed when I started immersing myself in the Word: I stopped cursing, womanizing, and wasting money; instead, I began tithing and became more giving. I trusted God more, and my faith increased.

Soon, I started serving God through the ushering ministry and eventually volunteered in other ministries. I became hungry for more of His Word. Whenever I go abroad, I would look for an Every Nation church where I could attend, so I would grow spiritually. And in case I could not find one, I would go to a church with the same beliefs and values. I became more motivated to please and glorify God with everything I do, say, and think.

In 2006, I remarried, and my relationship with my second wife, as well as that of my children, became stronger like never before. I began to make decisions based on preserving relationships and integrity over considerations of money. I set aside greed and gave up any association with gambling—including my shares in an online gaming company. Though it later earned a big amount of money, God gave me the grace to let go of it without regret.

God’s grace is immeasurable. He took me out of the pit of destruction I was wallowing in for years and gave me a new life with Him. I will always be bold in sharing how His Word changed my life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Atty. Inky is Victory’s legal counsel and part of Victory Pioneer. He goes on short-term mission trips and teaches on occasion in discipleship trainings.