I was a “hope so” Christian. If someone asked me if I would go to heaven when I die, I hoped so.
God wasn’t real in my life. I was troubled by doubts. Religion was more of a tradition and a list of dos and don’ts. God seemed far off.
Tempted to reject God, I couldn’t dismiss the exemplary life of my father. He was a college chemistry professor and a true follower of Jesus. His walk matched his talk. He believed the Bible and trusted in Jesus Christ.
The harder I tried to please God, the worse I did. I prayed, God if you’re real, make yourself real to me. The night before a college away soccer game, a team–mate asked me a very disturbing question: “We say we are Christians and do everything we are supposed to do, but our lives are no different than someone who doesn’t claim to be one.” I said, “You’re right”.
We asked God to show us the answer. We didn’t want to live life “tipping our hats to God” on Sunday and living the rest of the week like He was nowhere around.
The next night, five minutes after arriving home from our trip, my boss from a summer job called to ask me to meet Bill Bright, the founder of a dynamic student Christian movement. I was astounded. Just the night before, I had asked God for answers, and now my friend asks me to meet this man. I had heard him speak and was impressed with his life. It was obvious that he walked with God and his life was full of love and service to others. He told amazing stories about answers to prayer and about people changed through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
He invited me to a student gathering where I learned that when Jesus died on the cross He said, “It is finished,” which meant that Jesus paid the penalty for all of our sins, past, present and future. Three days later Jesus conquered sin and death and came back to life. He promises to come into our lives to forgive our sins and give us eternal life.
I put my trust in Jesus in a simple prayer. I thanked Him for dying on the cross, forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. I asked him to take control of my life and to live His life through me. Though I didn’t have an emotional experience, God answered my prayer and came into my life, as He promised, and began to change my life.
Friends asked me what happened because they saw my life changing. As I began to live in dependence on God’s Spirit, the Bible came alive to me, and I began an abundant life of meaning and purpose.
Later, my friend asked me two important questions.
- “What is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you?” I replied, “Coming to know Jesus Christ personally.”
- “What is the greatest thing you can do for someone else?” I answered, “Tell them!” I’m so glad I made the great discovery of knowing Jesus Christ. He is worthy of my trust!
Religion wasn’t enough!