Before I came to know Jesus Christ, I was living a life of self-reliance, self righteousness, and immorality. I started acting independently in High School when my parents thought that I needed the least guidance among us three brothers. It may have been a vote of confidence from my parents but I took it negatively and felt that I was the least loved in the family. I excelled both academically and in extra-curricular activities, consequently, inflating a huge ego. Where was Jesus in all of these? I foolishly reasoned out that I regularly visit Him in church every Sunday out of obligation and respect to my dad who was a devout believer in our religion.
But things changed drastically when my dad died in 2003 due to cardiac arrest. I blamed myself for my dad’s death. I thought if we did not quarrel, he might have not had that asthma attack. Without a father and a close relationship with my mom, my life became a mess. I lived a double life. In front of my friends and family, I was a good boy trying to study my way out of college on my own effort while working as a public servant to help my mom fend for our family. But, when I am not with them, I was a boy indulging in immorality, materialism, and arrogance.
Things never got better since my dad died. Mom suffered a stroke a couple of years after, which, rendered the right half of her body paralyzed. Instead of coming clean to God and asking for His provision, I took matters into my own hands. Aside from a regular job, I also got a part time job to supplement my salary and be able to make ends meet in our household. It gave me a sense of superiority over my kuya and even over my mom. In 2010, my mom had another stroke and this time she suffered a severe aneurism. We had a choice of performing an operation on her brain which would render her in a “vegetable” state, or pull the plug. This might have been the first time in a very long time that I prayed to God and I asked Him to please end my mom’s misery.
A month after my mom’s death, our aunt invited me and my brothers to attend a service at CCF St. Francis. This was the first of many services that I attended in CCF. But again, I drifted away from Him and went back to my old rotten and sinful ways. In 2012, after a work assignment in Leyte, I came back to Manila and I was able to attend Sunday services again. Last October 2014, I started to attend GLC 1 Bible studies led by Pastor Joby Soriano though I still struggled with temptations of materialism, lust, and pride. Slowly though, God was working His way into my hard heart through His Word that I regularly studied in the GLC Bible study sessions, the Singles Ministry, and my Dgroup. Finally, last April 2-3, 2015 at the True Life Retreat, I whole-heartedly committed and surrendered my life to Jesus. I firmly believe that only Jesus has the power to forgive my sins through His death on the Cross at Calvary. As Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
My life’s transformation was not instant as I still struggled with temptations of the flesh which I tried to fight with my strength and not with God’s. I fell for the lust of the flesh yet again and sinned. I thought I would be a new being after I got baptized but I had it all wrong. I still needed to be active in growing my relationship with Jesus Christ. So, during the Singles True Life Retreat last June 17-19, 2015, I re-committed my life to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And this time, it was a declaration that I will continuously grow and draw closer to Him, leaning on His wisdom, His strength, His love, and His grace alone.
Before it was all about me, now it is all about Him and for Him! Ezekiel 36:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” I have been given a new heart, a heart that beats for the one true God, the one true source of life, our Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
I am Francis Gabriel Orduña once felt less loved, now, overflowing with love through the grace of God. To God be all the glory, honor, and praise!