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He Struggled to “Earn” God’s Love

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“I thought God was mad at me, very judgmental, wrathful God. God's already mad at me and doesn't want anything to do with me so I didn’t want to concern myself with it,” James says.

It didn’t take much for a young James Nixon to arrive at those conclusions. Coming from a broken home, he learned from his parents, and his church, that to receive God’s love, one had to earn it. “That boils over into myself as a kid. And so you're, you're following those ways of brokenness in all different kind of ways,” he says. “So you're trying to search, you know, ‘Who am I? Why am I here?’ You're mad at your home life. You're mad at your family, what you're growing up in. So I got into drugs at a young age, probably around 12 years old. Doing pills or doing, you know, cocaine, marijuana, those kinds of things. You're looking for everything that you can touch, taste, feel, you know, to try to fill that void."

Even then, James still yearned for a spiritual connection and, encouraged by his mother, joined the Freemasons. “It says that you are your own God. You can do all these things. You don't need Jesus to be your way back to God.”

Throughout his teen years he continued using drugs, stealing and committing other small crimes. Then, in 2005 he got a wake-up call when he was arrested for breaking and entering.  

“It was just me in the car. And I remember having such an open conscience, cause it was either be in jail or prison the rest of my life, or I'm gonna end up dying on a drug overdose,” he says. “And I remember just thinking to myself, in the back of the cop car, ‘I don't want to live this life anymore. And from there God just started sending people in the next coming months out of nowhere. I remember people inviting me to church.”

Given probation and community service, James started to refocus his life. He renounced the Freemasons, stopped using drugs, and began attending church. One Sunday, he realized his need for a savior. “So I gave my life to Jesus February 2nd, 2005. And, from there, you know, I just was on fire for God, just coming out of so much darkness.”

James even attended seminary, but despite his zeal for his newfound faith, he held on to the belief he had to earn God’s love.  

“God's, you know, mad at me again--the religious mindset and it put me back in bondage for about 11 ½ years. When that religious mindset was just kind of, that stronghold in my life. ….I would find myself, going back to things—materialism, sexual immorality, pornography, you know, just different kind of things at different kind of times.”

Finally in 2016 at age 28, James realized something needed to change. Late one night, he called his friend, Josh, and asked him to come and pray with him. They were both shocked at what happened next. “He was sitting in my passenger seat,” James says. “And when he began to pray for me, I just started manifesting screams and I mean full manifestations that I had no idea about.”

Josh recalls, “Before I could even say anything but ‘Father,’ he started screaming and convulsing. That was my first time ever experiencing any kind of manifestation. And I was a little freaked out, but I felt the power of God. ‘This is it. This is real.'”

For the next two hours, the two sat in the car praying. “I would ask Josh, ‘What's wrong with me? What's going on? Like, I love Jesus.’ I had no idea. And he didn't have a grid for it at this point. And we were just trusting God,” James recalls. “And he just kept praying for me. And he was just being led by the spirit to just speak to things as he's hearing the Lord say, ‘Hey, pray this out of him. Cast this out.”

James says he came to a different conclusion about the true character of God. “He loves you so much. Be a daughter. He wants you as a daughter, as a bride, as a son, as a man, and as a woman,” James says. “And He wants to do these things.”

James is currently engaged and has founded a ministry to help people understand that God’s love isn’t something one earns; it’s a free gift to receive. “There’s this mentality that, ‘I’ve got to earn this.’ Even though He's come and paid it all for me to be reconciled, for me to be a child, for me to be at peace,” James says. “Jesus says in Matthew 11, ‘Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I'll give you rest for your soul.' And as we’re enjoying each other, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations. Go and baptize in My name.' It’s not a ‘do,’ then ‘be.’ It’s a ‘be’ and then you get to ‘do.’ He’s a good dad, and He wants to fill me, and He wants to free me. And that’s the message I’ll preach until the day that I die.”

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About The Author

Randy Rudder

Randy Rudder received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Memphis and taught college English and journalism for 15 years. At CBN, he’s produced over 150 testimony and music segments and two independent documentaries. He lives in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, with his wife, Clare, and daughter Abigail.