Kanika Young’s Testimony: Your Good Works Won’t Save You

By Kanika YoungKanika Young

The Word says that we overcome our enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony (Rev 12:11).  I earnestly pray that my testimony will show the abounding love and evident grace of God. I also pray that it will direct your heart into the love of God and into the perseverance of Christ.

I grew up in somewhat of a Christian home with both parents where I learned about Christ from my mother. I grew up going to church and learning the tenets of Christianity.  I knew who God was, what Jesus had done for me, and what the consequences of sin were.  I also had a believing grandmother who constantly prayed for me and pointed me in the direction of the Lord.  I remember vividly the summers I spent with her and the daily bible memorization she had me do.  At the time, I thought it was pointless, however as I have grown to love the Lord more each day, I am forever grateful for her diligence and tenacity.

Growing up, although I professed to be a Christian (and do sincerely believe that I wanted to please God), I often found myself believing that my Christianity was summed up in the fact that I was a good person. I knew that I needed to repent of my sins, which I sometimes did, if I thought it was heinous, but I would still mostly operate under the assumption that God was too good of a God to punish me for the indiscretions I may have done.

I went to college in Atlanta, GA where I joined a gospel choir my first semester there. It was during this time that I sincerely gave my life to Christ.  After every choir rehearsal, the choir director (who became my pastor) always made the plea for those who didn’t put their trust in Christ, to do so.  It was one night in November that I came to the realization that my “good works” were for naught and truly understood my need for a Savior.  It was here that I heard the Gospel clearly…the good news of God reconciling man back to Him through Christ.  It was here that I was rescued, delivered from despair, and understood that although I had knowledge of God, my heart was far from Him.  It was here that I made a decision to change my mind, my heart, and my attitude and put my trust in Christ for salvation.

Throughout the ten years that I spent in Georgia, I grew in the Lord and had a sincere heart for Him.  As some testimonies may go, I found myself sometimes doubting the goodness of God.  During this time, some of this doubt could be contributed to going through a significant life event which caused me to question my faith.  The short version is that I went from putting my trust in the Lord to putting my trust in man.  When the life event happened, my entire world was shaken and I once again found myself back in almost the same state that I was in before I trusted in Christ.  I remember telling a friend that I felt like one big question mark.  I didn’t know who I was and felt very far from God.  I went through a very low period during this time, however I can declare that God never left me. At this time, I depended on God for every single thing…from every breath that I took to every step that I made.  In hindsight, up until that point, it was the sweetest time in my life in which I got to learn of God as my Father who supplies all my needs and whom I can depend on.  Through earnest prayer, community fellowship, and truth being spoken to me, I once again turned to God and repented (turned away) from the sin that caused me to stumble.

God Directs Our Steps

Thankfully, the Lord in his provision found it fit for me to move to Washington, D.C., where I only knew two people who lived in neighboring states.  I can truly attest he is the Lord who makes “known the end from the beginning” (see Isaiah 46:10).  I guess as I look back, my prayer at this time in my life was, and still is: Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Psalm 119:133).

When I moved to the area, I was connected with a church and met friends there who decided to take a weekend trip to Philadelphia.  Providentially, I met a good friend there and we kept in touch.  Fast forward six months, I received a call from this friend saying that she was taking a bus from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. every weekend to attend this class at this “great church”.  She invited me to attend and honestly, my first thought was “it’s in DC….I’m not driving there on a Sunday.  Who knows how the parking is? It’s too much of a hassle”. Thankfully, I got over my issue and decided that I would check this church out and also be able to see my friend.  The church was Capitol Hill Baptist Church, pastored by Mark Dever.

I cannot tell you exactly what he preached on word for word, but I can assure you without a shadow of doubt, that I heard the gospel so clearly. I was amazed at how the fogginess that had penetrated my thoughts and attitude had built up and how I was becoming numb to the gospel. It was like a light bulb moment that the cartoon characters had.

After the service, I was invited to a lunch gathering of those who were a part of the church.  I saw men who were true gentleman, who cared greatly for their sisters in Christ.  I saw women who modeled biblical femininity like I had never seen before.  The genuine love for God and for others permeated the atmosphere.  I told my friend that if the preaching was this great and the people were this genuine, I could definitely see myself attending this church. I was so hungry for a gospel-preaching church and was so grateful to God for allowing me to find such a place.

As I continued to grow in God, I realized that (once again), I had been placing my trust in my good works.  It seemed to be like a common occurrence for me and I felt like a broken record, one that desperately needed fixing.  I knew that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart and God raised him from the dead, then I will be saved (Rom 10:9).  I also knew that if I confessed my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9).

However, I didn’t fully grasp the concept of my righteous acts not meaning anything.  I was asked by an elder at my church how I knew I was going to heaven.  My answer: “because I go to church and I try to do the right thing”.  Oh boy!  I had found myself putting my faith and trust in something other than God….a sin.  Thankfully through expositional preaching and solid teaching that I have received (and continue to receive) over the past 1 ½ years, I can truly testify that it is by grace that I have been saved through faith (Eph 2:8-9).  I have embraced forgiveness, understood grace, dispelled anger, and have grown in the love of the Lord.  He has loved me even when I didn’t care enough to love myself.

I have a solid understanding of the gospel, which begins by stating that our loving God created man in his image. However, through sin, we have rejected God and put ourselves in His place.  This rejection carries serious consequences of judgment and death.  However, the good news (gospel) is that God loved the world so much that He sent his only son, Jesus the Christ, to stand in our place and take on our punishment.  Through his death, he brought forgiveness and reconciled us back to God.  If we submit to Jesus and put our trust in him, relying on his death and resurrection, we believe that we are forgiven by God and now have eternal life.  This is truly good news!

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2 Comments to “Kanika Young’s Testimony: Your Good Works Won’t Save You”

  1. Honey Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful testimony!

  2. Kanika Y says:

    Thank you so much for reading it and I pray that God gets glory from it all. 🙂