I was taken regularly to Sunday School from about the age of five years old. My parents, particularly my mother, were very firm about my younger brothers and I all attending Sunday School every Sunday. So we did. Every Sunday. My father was one of the Sunday School teachers.
I remember learning about Noah, Daniel, Jesus in the boat, Peter and Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Each story became familiar to me and I don’t know when or how, but I accepted that God was real. I would often pray when I was young, believing God was listening.
As I grew older towards my teens, I was encouraged to get confirmed (a form of commitment to follow Christ in the Church of England). To this day, I have no remembrance of anything said to me during my confirmation preparation meetings. I was confirmed and I received a good news edition of the Bible which I hardly ever touched again. (I still have it.)
At this stage I was beginning to use God to get me things, or get me out of things! From God’s point of view I guess I was unresponsive, but I never stopped believing He was there. I became a ‘closet’ churchgoer, I had a fear of being ‘outed’ as a Christian. My friends never understood why I went to church and to be honest, I wondered why at times as well. But I guess I went to keep Mum and Dad happy.
However, I did regard myself as a Christian at this time. I think most churchgoers would.
When I went on to University in West London I encountered some students in my halls of residence who were Christians. I began to attend the Christian union with them and learn more about God. The songs were good and all new to me but that was not all. These people had an inner peace and confidence, an assurance that I didn’t know. I loved being with them and around them, and I felt myself a part of their fellowship. During this time, I became more and more unsettled about whether I really was a Christian, because I didn’t know the same peace and assurance. I didn’t have an assurance that I was going to heaven after I died.
This went on for about two years and during this time I believe God taught me a great deal about what is the most important thing in life. He is.I began to realise that He was more important to me than the degree I was taking (electronic engineering). Over this period of time, several folks from my church at home noticed changes in me. I began to take the Christian faith more seriously…
One day, I happened to say to someone in the Christian union that I hoped I was ‘good enough’ to get to heaven. That evening, there was a knock on my door and there was my friend with another, they had come to talk to me about what I had said earlier that day. I was puzzled at first.
They explained to me that we are saved by God’s grace (see Ephesians Ch. 2) and that none of us can ever be good enough or do enough good things to meet the high standards God requires (see Romans Ch. 3). They explained that we are justified in the eyes of God by faith in His Son, Jesus, alone. Faith alone, not works. Just faith. They explained the gospel to me.
This conversation started my journey towards the cross of Christ. I can’t remember the exact day I became a Christian, but I remember sitting on my bed and praying the sinner’s prayer printed on the back of a gospel tract. That day I accepted that Jesus Christ was my Saviour.
There is so much to share of what God has done in my life since then. I can honestly say that six years on from then, I have NEVER looked back. God has been SOOOO good to me! And I’m pressing on to lay hold of that for which Christ (God) laid hold of me. I am so grateful for all that He has done in my life. He’s my friend as well as my Saviour.
Those of you reading this testimony who are already Christians will know that when we give our lives to Jesus our lives encounter things which we cannot always explain, we can’t explain this incredible peace, joy and warmth in our hearts when we listen to the scriptures being read, or sing a song about our great salvation or worship Jesus or pray in the Spirit. The world simply doesn’t know what it’s missing!
Friends, It won’t know what it’s missing unless the church tells it! Let’s get out there and share God’s love!
If you are not a Christian and you’re reading this, I urge you very strongly,in fact I implore you, to put your whole life into God’s hands. Your sins condemn you in the sight of God. You are as guilty as those who crucified Jesus. The good news is that God has made a Way save you from your sins. The punishment for our sins was placed onto Jesus on the cross. Turn away from your sins NOW and place your continuing trust and faith in Jesus Christ and then you will be saved! He is the (only) Way, the Truth and the Life. When you do this, you will be AMAZED by God’s grace! I really mean that!