Watch: Vincent’s testimony
Vincent explains how a childhood of neglect and bullying led a fear of abandonment which caused him to develop an orphan mindset, strive for success and form a distorted view of God, until the Holy Spirit showed him the truth about his identity and set him free. Praise God!
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My faith was shaken as I thought I was being abandoned by God based on something I had done wrong.
Truly, this was the work of the orphan spirit and not the Holy Spirit. It was a devastating time for me but God miraculously healed me!
Hi, my name is Vincent. At the age of 10, I moved to a new school, where I was physically and verbally abused by my teachers and peers. I was given nicknames by my teachers – ‘tofu’ and ‘one piece of rice’ – both of which mean weak, due to my nature of gentleness and innocence. Throughout my entire school life, ‘tofu’ was the name I was being called.
Physical punishment at school was also common, including being slapped or caned in front of the class if we didn’t do well in the tests.
Home wasn’t so pleasant as well. My earlier childhood was very lonely, as my older siblings left me to study in other places. My mother kept me at home most of the time, out of fear. I spent most of my time playing with toys alone.
My parent’s relationship wasn’t ideal either. There were a lot of arguments and relationships were neglected at home, even though I grew up in a Christian family.
To combat my emotions of loneliness, fear, anger, and bitterness, I unconsciously shut down my heart and spent most of my time daydreaming about being a ‘superstar’ instead. For relief, I remember I spent entire nights fantasising about being either a sports star or a successful person.
Despite being a regular churchgoer since 11 years old, there was always this deep sense or desire to be successful.
This became my idol. This idol planted a lot of lies in me including, “I need to strive to earn God’s and others’ approval”.
Because of punishment and fear growing up – and maybe because of a generational pattern of fear passed down the family line – I had a constant fear that God was going to punish me. The fear of being abandoned by God caused me to serve out of fear, to earn His favour.
This led to self-reliance in every aspect of my life, which ultimately made me a very self-centred person. This later resulted in relationships breaking down within my marriage, family, and friendships. It cost me my marriage, my career, and even my life at church – no matter how hard I wanted to make it work using my own will, way, and strength. One time, my self-righteousness caused a fellowship to be separated due to my arguments with the leaders and how I viewed a fellowship should behave.
All this stemmed from me developing a stronghold called an orphan spirit, which resulted from my childhood trauma of feeling abandoned, neglected, and unwanted.
The orphan spirit corrupted my thoughts about God. I saw God as a god of anger, harshness, and punishment, instead of loving, gracious, forgiving and just God that He is.
I began to serve God from a place of fear, guilt, shame, performance, jealousy, comparisons, and judgement.
The orphan spirit created a sense of fear of rejection in me, so I felt that I needed to strive to earn God’s love and also earn favour from others. That was one of the reasons why I always fell into the trap of being taken advantage of, by whoever spoke ‘favourably’ about me.
The orphan spirit inflated my ego, to counteract my insecurities. This corrupted my self-image so I saw myself as someone better than others.
This actually came from a place of low self esteem. I became very competitive and wanted to prove my worth quite badly. At the same time, the orphan spirit constantly reinforced a sense of rejection and abandonment from people and from God. My unhealthy solution was to feed the orphan spirit with more ‘success’.
Often, I would feel jealous of others’ success and react with gossiping and self-righteousness. I would do ‘good works’ and even sacrifice myself, just to get approval from others.
Even worse still, I began spreading the wrong image of God as being angry and punishing, and also the wrong understanding of repentance, because I was always looking for someone else to blame.
I gave excuses for my sins and iniquity. This was my self-righteous way of making me feel safe deep inside me.
I can now see that because of His love, God allowed all those years of brokenness in health, wealth, and marriage to shake up my idols, even though it was a very, very painful experience.
I was brought back to God through this brokenness and the encounter of the Holy Spirit at numerous events, in which the Holy Spirit spoke to me, reaffirmed my sonship, and corrected my patterns. God began the healing of my heart through the works of the Holy Spirit.
Before, I was living in a Christian falsehood — despite attending church services, having a community, reading the Bible, and serving – while continuing to be unrepentant myself.
Those were the pillars of what I thought was the righteous Christian life, before God started refining me with the losses.
Similar to God’s people in the Old Testament, I had really been living a ‘church’ life but at the same time, having many idols – just that my idols weren’t so physical. Outside of church, I was living in sin with a strong desire to pursue success. Bit by bit, the Holy Spirit led me to deny myself, carry my cross, and follow Jesus.
Jesus has said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26 NLT)
Despite my strong desire to be rich and successful, I was led to quit a money-making industry that was all based on greed, in order to follow Him.
I even prayed and asked God not to make me too rich if that meant that I would leave Him due to wealth.
The battle to overcome the orphan spirit has been ongoing and the denial of myself and following Jesus is an ongoing process, in God’s timing.
Recently, within one year time, I lost two very close family members. I remember after the losses, I was tormented with bad curse words in my head whenever I prayed. It went out of control for almost a year. My faith was shaken as I thought I was being abandoned by God based on something I had done wrong. Truly, this was the work of the orphan spirit and not the Holy Spirit.
It was a devastating time for me but God miraculously healed me!
Through the prophecies, visions, and encouraging words from my mentor, friends, and even strangers, it was shown to me I am called to be a strong warrior of God – which is different from the nickname I was given throughout my childhood, ‘tofu’. The bad words while praying went away and the Holy Spirit has been teaching me about His Word since then.
God has convinced me that I am more useful than I think and He chose me as His son and warrior, even before I was born.
God told me that the reason why I was so into war movies and battles growing up was because of my calling to become a warrior of God. He also called me to evangelise and tell people about Jesus.
God already has a hope for me – unlike the torment of the orphan spirit, which required me to strive to gain false hope.
I am starting to get to know God’s heart more and more, and am even more affirmed of His love and passion towards me. The restoration of sonship and identity in Christ lifted my soul and further healed my fears, anxieties, and worries.
My faith has grown even stronger. God miraculously trained me in His ways, either through reading the Bible or encounters with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me on various occasions and taught me to obey and rely on Him in difficult situations or unknown situations.
For example, on one occasion, God led me to minister to a non-believer from my previous workplace who used to mock me. He was having issues in his marriage and wanted to hear some advice, because he knew I was married before. The Holy Spirit led me to talk about my testimony and the love of Jesus and how Jesus always welcomes us when we truly repent in our hearts before God.
I told him about the parable of the prodigal son. My friend was amazed at the greatness and goodness of God and accepted Jesus into his heart. Since then, he has felt unusual peace in his life and told me he feels Jesus is with him all the time. My friend used to wake up in the middle of the night due to stress, but he now sleeps throughout the night. But the good news didn’t stop here.
God also miraculously led me to meet his unbelieving wife to minister to her.
Two days after my friend accepted Jesus, I went to their home to help my friend destroy an idol and cast out unclean spirits. When I found them having a big fight among them, the wife chased me away from their home. But before that, my friend gave me the idol, which was a sticker with a witchcraft spell that was stuck on his door. Instead of leaving, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to stay to worship God for almost two hours downstairs, near his apartment, and to destroy the idol.
The unclean spirits were cast out after tearing down the idol and worshipping. Therefore, I managed to get back to his house to minister to his wife because their fighting finally stopped.
I was led to share my testimony of my encounters with God with my friend’s wife, and how true forgiveness led to healing in my previous marriage. I told her how I was prompted a few years ago to ask my ex-wife to meet and apologise to her for neglecting her. She was suffering from a skin disease at that time. We confessed our hurts and our sins against one another together and forgave one another. That brought a lot of healing and tears. I also prayed to bless her with a new family. Later, she told me she was healed of her skin disease, as a result of our reconciliation, and now also has a loving family of her own. She praised God for listening to our prayers.
This testimony began to open up my friend’s wife’s heart, which had been closed for many years.
Ultimately, she also accepted Jesus that same day. So I led them to a reconciliation prayer in which they praised each other, confessed their own wrongdoings to one another, and blessed each other. Praise God that they no longer fight.
Later that week, all of us even had lunch together in peace. By the grace of God, they both got baptised shortly after that.
Truly, I cannot take any credit for any of this, because God prepared their hearts and positioned me to evangelise to them and stand in the battle for their souls.
I just needed to show up and stay faithful. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who brings love, joy, and peace.
The orphan spirit, on the other hand, always wanted me to feel shame because of its ungodly fruits of self-centredness, jealousy, anger, striving, comparison, rejection, and approval seeking.
Our merciful and gracious God knows our hearts and spirits, and accepts us even if we are influenced by the orphan spirit. We are not who or what we think we are.
God sees us very differently. We just need to seek Him and ask Him to show us our true identity – the one He chose for us from the beginning before we were born. He is a loving and gracious God who knows your heart and the suffering you went through and He wants to heal you.
But first, we have to forgive others, and even ourselves, to free ourselves, and learn to recognise the condemning voice of the orphan spirit versus the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
I had lived most of my life attending churches and doing the ‘works’ of church but still being my old un-repented self, fighting for myself, striving for myself, and living by my fleshly desire. All this led to the sin of iniquity and it produces bad fruits. It was all about myself, not about the Lord.
Today, through the refining work of the Holy Spirit, including a lot of crushing and the knowledge I have gained from the Bible and a Holy Spirit-led community, new wine has been brought out of me by Jesus, my Saviour.
I now long to fight for Him, His people, to be Jesus’ vessel, and be whatever He wants me to be.
In closing, I would like to encourage you with Ephesians 1:5-6, which speaks to me and I hope it will speak to you too:
“He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:5-6)
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