Matthew, Ontario, Canada
When I was 16, I got really into martial arts. I read everything I could get my hands on. Before I knew it, I’d become obsessed with eastern mysticism. As a preacher’s kid, I knew my parents would object, so I kept my fascination a secret.
I soon found that all of the practices I was studying — energy manipulation, meditation, astral projection, among others — “worked”, meaning there was indeed something spiritual and real behind it. I was more than excited…I had a serious thirst for the mystical and I had yet to find it in the church. And because I was using my newfound powers for “good”, I was able to convince myself that, despite what other Christians might say, there was nothing wrong with it.
Sometimes, as I practiced, Bible verses would pop into my head. I knew that it was the Holy Spirit convicting and warning me, but my desire for the occult surpassed my knowledge of and love for God. Each time this happened, I stepped back from the practices for a while; but as soon as the fear wore off, I jumped right back in.
This went on in secret for many years. Even my wife was kept in the dark. Through it all, I claimed that I still “believed” the teachings of the Bible. I went to Church, sang hymns, occasionally read the Bible, and prayed. Because I never spoke to anyone about it, I was able to convince myself that I was using magic for good — and even, for God.
I eventually gravitated from eastern mysticism to western mysticism: wizardry, sorcery, and witchcraft, as people call it. I quickly found that there were few differences between eastern and western traditions; again, there appeared to be a clear line between white (“good”) and black (“evil”) magic. Shortly after, I banded together with others who were practicing white magic. Quickly, I became a well-regarded leader.
In no time, I’d amassed hundreds of followers. I was introduced to many new (and more dangerous) practices; before I knew it, I was teaching such practices. To be clear: it was all real. This was not make-believe. There were real spells and real communication with real entities. The problem is that we mistook absolute demonic evil for good. We believed that the entities we met were angels of God and that our powers were God-given.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14)
Of course, this all fed my ego like crazy. I was prideful, arrogant, and aggressive. And because I could cast, curse, or conjure whatever I wanted, I was highly paid. The darker my practices became, the more money and fame I gained. Without even noticing it, I crossed the arbitrary line between white and black magic.
As my devotion to the dark arts grew, my interest in Christ all but disappeared. I made excuses to get out of going to church and neglected prayer and Scripture. I also developed a major anger issue, regularly exploding into fits of rage and verbal fights with my wife. The only thing keeping me from drinking and drugs was the fear that my waywardness would be exposed.
As the years went by, my power and obsession only grew. I saw and heard spirits everywhere; moreover, they would do anything I asked. I still truly believed these entities were good — until the day a spirit got mad at me. I was at work when a spirit aggressively possessed me. My heart started to fibrillate, briefly stopped beating, then slammed to a start. I felt something take over my consciousness and I heard my voice change. My body felt like lead, but I was also totally wired. I was sure that I would die any second.
In a panic, I cried out to Jesus, desperate for Him to remove this thing. I immediately felt that the demon had lost its full grip. There was a massive fight for control within me. I alerted my supervisor and was rushed to the hospital. There, finally, I repented of witchcraft and begged for mercy and forgiveness. I kept calling upon Christ and after six long hours, I felt the spirit depart. Sure enough, as the spirit left, my heart rate stabilized. The doctors were unable to determine the cause of my heart issues, but to me, it’s simple: that spirit tried to kill me, but Jesus saved me.
In the aftermath, I quickly slipped back into evil. I decided that, though dark magic was off-limits, white magic was still acceptable, so I reinvented myself as a “shaman of light.” Again, I was deceived…fortunately, Jesus came after me.
A few months later, I was driving around when I was overwhelmed by a stream of Bible verses. Though I was usually able to just push past them, this time, the Lord made the conviction impossible to ignore. He cut straight through the fog I was in. Total realization and enlightenment was upon me; I came under extreme conviction. I began crying so hard that I had to pull over.
I sat there, gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles, trying hard to ignore it all. My powers were my everything. I’d invested many years of my life, not to mention literal blood, sweat, and tears. It was my identity, the source of my perceived worth and value — and now, the spirits told me, God wanted to take it away.
The voices of the spirits were loud, but God’s presence was louder. It was as if I could feel Christ Jesus sitting in my passenger seat, staring into my soul. Here I was, a 6’1, 230lbs occult leader, bawling like a baby.
It all became so clear. Suddenly, I knew that the spirits around me were demons. I knew that, for 16 years, I had been defying the Lord. I was a sinner in great need of true repentance; so, I repented. I confessed it all, rejected it all, put my faith in Jesus Christ as my God, and begged for His salvation. I said that I wouldn’t blame Him if He sent me to Hell, because I knew that’s where I deserved to go. But, in that moment, a verse from my childhood came into my mind:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
I was forgiven and I knew it. The demons screamed a fit, but there was nothing they could do. The Blood of Jesus had canceled my pact with them. I was forgiven, saved, and sealed. There was an immediate loss of all my powers, as well as all of my connections with the spirits. For the first time ever, my mind went silent and an extreme peace came upon me. It was such a strange, foreign feeling! Then, a very calm voice that was unlike anything I had ever heard began teaching me about who I was in Christ. Bible verse after verse ran through my head.
I was finally free, but without my powers, I felt naked and exposed. “What now?” I asked God. His response was simple: relearn the faith and reread His Word. I threw myself into a deep study of Scripture and became fixated on Jesus, prayer, and the Christian walk. Eventually, the Lord called me to be an evangelist.
Today, I serve as a pastor, evangelist, Bible teacher, and biblical counselor for spiritual warfare. Over the years, God has used me to lead many witches and occultists out of darkness and into His light. My past wasn’t in vain; the Lord is very much using it for His glory.
The Devil tried to kill me, but Jesus Christ saved me. I once was blind, but now I see.
Brother Matthew is the founder of Christian Coffee Time, an online resource for preachers and Bible teachers.