If he dies tonight, he is not going to heaven.
As the thought crossed his mind, paralysing fear overwhelmed Christo du Plessis in his bed at the student home where he stayed at the time.
He was a young man of only 20 years old, but death and eternal damnation suddenly felt like a very tangible and terrifying reality.
After another night of meaningless, empty partying and alcohol abuse that ended in a bloody fight, Christo felt like he was going to die.
He heart was racing, his body ached and cramped and as his panic increased, he felt progressively out of breath.
Christo cried out to God and asked the Lord to spare him. All he wanted was an opportunity to give His life to Christ.
As a child Christo struggled with low self-esteem. Sometimes he would tell his mother that he didn’t want to live anymore. He wasn’t serious about what he said, but there was a great deal of truth in his attention seeking statement. He didn’t know who he was and felt he had no purpose.
In high school Christo started smoking cigarettes. The abuse of dagga and alcohol soon followed. The first time he smoked dagga, he had a panic attack. It was a horrible experience, but he kept doing it, because he wanted to be cool and feel accepted.
By the time he went to university, his life was in a downward spiral. He partied so much that he almost failed his first year. He was never happy and had no peace. A dark heavy feeling was always pushing down on him.
He vividly remembers sitting with his mother one night, and telling her how burdened and unhappy he felt. His mom, was persistently praying for him at that time.
He recalls telling his mother that he hoped to one day also have the type of relationship with God that will bring him peace and joy, the kind of peace and joy that he saw in her.
Little did he know the Holy Spirit was already working powerfully in his life, and drawing him closer to God. During that time two people who randomly crossed his path, told him that God has a plan for his life.
But he had to hit rock bottom before he was able to submit to God completely.
The night before he pleaded to God to spare his life, he drank too much at a rugby game and spent money he didn’t have at a rugby auction. He felt like walking into the oncoming traffic, but decided to go to a night club instead. After getting a lift from the night club back to the student house, Christo got into a fist fight with another student.
He went to bed, but couldn’t sleep. Christo felt so ill, that he feared death. He wrestled with the Holy Spirit for a few hours until he made a promise to God. If God gives him a chance to live, he would be in church on Sunday, answering an altar call to give his life to Jesus. And Christo did just that.
He went to CRC Bloemfontein that Sunday, walked boldly to the front during the altar call and made the best decision of his life.
That day Christo became a new creation in Christ and he can truly say old things have passed away. He was baptised with the Holy Spirit and he was never the same again.
It is often said that the night is darkest before dawn. For Christo this statement proved to be very true. When morning finally broke in his life, the light was brilliant and freeing. The true Light that came into the world to redeem it, Jesus Christ, now belonged to him too.
Christo has fullness of joy, purpose, and a peace that surpasses all understanding. He knows who he is, a child of God who is loved and treasured, a co-heir with Christ of everlasting life and eternal fellowship with God the Father.
Christo understands that fulfilment and true happiness is found in Christ alone.
Since he was saved, after almost failing his first year at university, he successfully completed his degree in quantity surveying at the university of the Free State and also achieved an honours degree at the end of 2020.
These days Christo (24) is an active member of his church, CRC West Coast in Langebaan where he involved with the local youth. His heart’s desire is to help other young people to face the challenges he faced and to guide them to find their true identity in Christ. Christo knows his personal salvation story is not only his story, but the story of many other struggling young people out there. He wants to tell every one of them that Jesus is always the answer.
He says he gladly shares his testimony to glorify God out of thankfulness for all He has done for him.