A pastor from the U.K. feels grateful to share his story of how becoming a Satanist almost cost him his life until he encountered the living God. 

Ben Atkins shares his testimony in a recent podcast titled 'Playing with Fire.' Atkins shares how he grew up in a chaotic home and it had him questioning everything he learned. 

While he would go to church on Sundays with his parents, it was more of an exterior faith. 

"They had no place for suffering, no place for really vulnerability or weakness and much less for the supernatural power of God," Atkins says of his early years in the church. "It was a church that didn't believe in the God at work today through anything other than the Bible, and so what I experienced in church just didn't shine with life."

Looking for connection and a purpose in life, Atkins dove headfirst into a life of drugs, sex, and non-Christian meditation.

"All I can say is I had this deep craving in me to connect with my suffering and have it acknowledged. And that's what led me to explore some really dark ways of living."

A Dark Path

He started reading The Satanic Bible, which is considered atheistic in nature. However, Atkins also began performing rituals while reading. 

"I'd already been ... doing certain rituals with friends to harness the power around me or within me or, or whatever," he said. "I had friends who, I guess they would say they were witches or whatever."

Initially, even though Atkins started to get weird urges like carving a pentagram into his chest, he felt like it was making sense of life compared to the 'chaos' of his home and church life. 

"One morning ... he [Satan] was at the end of my bed and he said to me, 'You're gonna finish your [end of college] exams and then you're gonna die. I woke up and, for me, that was just the worst thing I could possibly hear."

Desperate to live, Atkins tried to bargain with the devil. He even offered to hurt himself or others in an attempt to live. However, he started to have demonic nightmares as well. 

"It was at that point I started planning how to kill myself because I didn't see a way out. I thought, 'Well, either Satan's gonna kill me, or I am. So I'd rather at least seize back one last bit of power.'"

A Breakthrough

Atikin's sister's friend invited him to a church event around that time. With nothing to lose, he reluctantly agreed to go. The words spoken at the event started making him angry, until one man started praying for him. 

"He put a hand on my shoulder, started praying for me in tongues, and in that moment, I felt the most incredible rush. All the things I'd been up to in life, I was chasing highs and trying to feel lows, and that peace that I felt was higher than any high I'd ever felt."

His life's goal was to find life and truth, and this encounter brought him to God. 

"That's what led me into the arms of Jesus." 

Now a pastor, Atkin's spends his time planting churches across the U.S. and U.K., sharing his testimony about the power of God.