Recently I was given the opportunity to tell people at church about how I came to be a Christian. It’s always a bit nerve-racking to stand up the front of a group of people and be vulnerable about your past. However I am a strong believer in being real about our struggles and trials in life so that we can see God’s power at work. No one is perfect. Everyone has struggles. How can we know what God is doing in our lives if we don’t talk about how He is changing us?
Growing up I thought I was going to heaven because I believed in Jesus and thought I was a pretty good person. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to hell. I thought I was a much more upright citizen then a lot of people in the world! I was fairly confidnet until one of my closest friends challenged me whether I knew I was going to heaven or not. He asked would I be declared righteous when I died and came before the judgement-seat of God? Would I be ‘good’ enough to go to heaven? That hit me like a tonne of bricks. My knees started to tremble. I felt sick. All of a sudden I had no confidence in myself. That started a chain of events that lead me to realise how far I fell short from being declared righteous before our holy God. I was never going to measure up to the only requirement to enter through heaven’s gates – perfect righteousness.
This world has a hard time thinking that God will judge and condemn us for our sin. It often portrays Him as this wishy-washy, lovey-dovey God who will wave a ‘wand of forgiveness over everybody’ (I love that quote from R C Sproul). How tragically wrong that is. God’s justice demands that our sin must be paid for. Our salvation from this just punishment has been bought at a huge price, the price of God’s Son, Jesus. Only those who trust in the sacrifice Jesus made for us will be declared righteous before God. That righteousness is given to us through faith alone in Christ. We can’t earn our way into God’s good books. As a result of embracing that truth, I am at peace that Jesus is the One who has saved me from an eternity in hell and secured me an eternity with God.
That is why I became a Christian – to be spared an eternity in hell and enjoy eternity in fellowship with God. It wasn’t to have a ‘better’ or more ‘prosperous’ life. In fact life is tougher being a faithful Christian, because we are commanded to turn from our sinful way of living and obey Christ. This is NOT easy. In fact God uses our struggles, and even leads us to those struggles, as a means of testing our commitment and sincerity to Him. Soon after becoming a Christian, I had to break up with my long time girlfriend at the time because she didn’t share my faith. That was extremely challenging, yet I realised I needed to do it if I was going to be serious in my commitment to God. There will always be sacrifice when we follow God, yet that’s what being a Christian is all about. We are to die to our own lustful, prideful, resentful, bitter selves and strive to live for God and enjoy our relationship with Him whilst investing into others’ lives. We will always struggle in our battle to live as God calls us to live in the Bible, but that reminds us how much we need God’s grace and keeps us humble when we start to think we have it all together compared to others. Remember we don’t know what God has for us as we turn from might ‘feel’ good for the sake of obeying Him. In breaking up with my girlfriend at the time, God eventually lead me to my beautiful, God-fearing wife. What a treasure it is to marry someone who shares the most precious aspect of our lives. God knows what we need. We just need to trust in Him no matter how you may feel at the time.
That’s a bit of my background in how I became a Christian and why I chose to give my life to Christ. I would love to hear about your story. We all have a story and it’s hearing how God works in our lives that encourages us and inspires us to seek Him more. I know it’s hard to be vulnerable in a public forum, however can I encourage you to share as you don’t know how the lessons that God has taught you may impact someone else.
Maybe God wants you to tell your story.