Hello! It’s been a while, I know! Sorry about that (but, then, who knows, maybe you’re pleased that I’ve been silent in the blogosphere). I thought I would do a post (a copy and paste jobby actually) about how I became a Christian. I was asked to give a short talk at church on Sunday about how I became a Christian (the jargon word for this is testimony, hence my title [and darn my penchant for one-word titles!]). Anyway, here is what I said:
I became a Christian when I was 16. Let me just paint a picture for you of what I was like at 16. I was a straight A student, I loved getting essays back from teachers, as it was proof to myself and to others that I was doing very well. I didn't have many friends, but that meant that I had extra time for reading and studying. I was doing well. I wasn't very happy, but at least I was successful. I didn't drink, I didn't smoke, I didn't do drugs, I didn't even to listen to loud music. I was a good person. In fact, I was a very good person and I took pride in that. One Saturday night some girls in my class threw a party, and I was invited! I was SO looking forward to it, and got all dressed up. I had a horrible cold, though, and had been downing Lemsips all day. My mum warned me that if I drank alcohol on top of that it would make me feel pretty ill. So I went to the party and didn't drink anything. Everyone around me, however, certainly did. I watched as they got drunker and drunker, began kissing everyone, regardless of who they were, or their gender! I watched as they began throwing up left, right and centre. And I phoned my Dad to come pick me up. Over the next few days this preyed on my mind. I thought, no, this can't be what life's about. And, to be honest, I thought I was so much better than all my peers, I was much more sensible. So, I thought, what next? Where do people go who want to stay sober, read books and not go to parties? So, I thought- CHURCH! A few days later, my mum and I were driving past this church and I just said to her, "mum, I'd like to start going to church." She replied, "wow, I was just thinking the exact same thing!" God was clearly working in her life, in different ways, to bring us both to the same point. I'm sure you can ask her about that. So, the next Sunday we showed up at church, this one, and we liked it. I didn't really understand everything that was going on, at first, but we kept coming back, because the people were so friendly to us. And they served very good coffee... Oh no, it must have just been the people! As the weeks went by and the Bible was read and taught, I began to learn about Jesus. I went and bought myself a Bible and God, slowly, showed me what he was like. I learned that God is the creator of the world, that he made everything out of nothing, just out of love. He made us, man and woman, to be like him. But we disobeyed God, we wanted to live for ourselves instead of for him. So we earned ourselves death. We chose to ignore God and so we had separated ourselves from him. You see, God is so perfect that he cannot have anything evil near him, and we had become evil by disobeying the source of all good, out of selfishness. And so, we deserve hell. I realised that in fact, I was NOT a good person, not at all. I was living my life entirely ignoring this wonderful, loving God, who wants nothing more than a relationship with me. I realised that I was heading straight for hell, and I could take my string of A*s with me. But, that isn't where the story ends. God, in his absolute loving mercy, had the grace to show this to me, he drew me towards him like any loving parent wrapping their child in their arms. What he did was, God became a human, Jesus, just as fragile as any human being, and lived a life on earth. For 33 years Jesus ate, slept, cried, laughed, learned just like any of us. But unlike any one of us, he lived the perfect life. Jesus never once disobeyed God, his father's wishes, for he and God the Father were one, Jesus is God. And, at the age of 33, Jesus died. He was crucified, he gave himself up for torture and death, even though he was perfect in every way. He did not deserve one beating, and yet he willingly let the guards hammer nails through his hands and feet. Why did he do this? So that we don't have to. God endured the death that we deserved, on our behalf. Now, if we look to Jesus on the cross and say 'I'll have that!' God willingly, lovingly accepts that as our death. He swaps all our wrongdoings and selfishness for Jesus' perfection, and he welcomes us lovingly into his arms, and we can live forever with him and heaven. Over a series of weeks, I came to know that this was true. I read it in the Bible, I heard it preached, and it resonated with everything I knew in the world. It made sense. And so I said yes to Jesus! I came into a relationship with God and I now know that I have a place in heaven, where eternal life will be one long, joyful party! In heaven there will be no more crying or death or pain or sorrow, this is what God promises us. I still get things wrong, in fact, the more I get to know God, the worse I realise I am. But that makes me realise what a huge gift it was for Jesus to die for us. The worse I realise I am, the better I realise who God is, and that brings so much joy!