Do you know Jesus?
... It's a question I so desperately want to ask people around me. I see so much suffering and sadness and I know only one remedy... The life-changing, sin-trampling, captive-freeing power of the risen Christ.
I don't have any theology degrees, I'm just an average human who's living in desperate reliance on God and trusting Him to show me more of who He is each day, like many other believers... Christians... whatever. The title is trivial in comparison to the true experience of being a child of the Living God.
All I can tell you is what He has done for me... My 'conversion experience' is not the most riveting tale. I simply responded to an alter call following a presentation of the play 'Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames' at the age of 9. The event stands out because I was a shy kid and I just went up to the front alone. I wasn't afraid... it was like someone picked me up out of my seat and floated me up the aisle... I just had to go. I can't explain how it works (1 Corinthians 13:12) but I've come to understand that we were designed for fellowship with our Creator and the first step to that is just opening the door of our heart (Revelation 3:20). That's what I did on that night so long ago, amid the wire-haloed host and yawning toddlers... before an incandescent heaven of cotton batting clouds suspended with fishing line. My trajectory was re-calibrated and I have never been the same.
Jesus has been the difference between life and death in every possible way... Just because I'm one of His 'sheep' doesn't mean my life has been a continual celebration. Bad stuff happens (John 16:33) but thanks to unfailing super-natural reinforcement I'm still here (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) and leaning forward in anticipation of an eternity full of wonderful promises (Romans 8:18, Romans 8:24-25). Along the way I've learned, and unlearned, so much.
Because it can be difficult to explain spiritual things I've had a lot of reservations about writing a 'testimony' or 'salvation message'. What if people ask questions I can't answer?
What if I really mess it up and cause a lot of confusion? Who am I that anyone would listen to me? But there's another question that overshadows my dizzying insecurity... What if I had the only antidote for a terrible and fatal disease? Could I keep it a secret and go about my life while people died all around me? The simple answer is, "not a chance!"
So here's the truth... Our sinful human nature (natural tendency toward doing wrong) separates us from God because He is Holy (Romans 3:23) but because of His great love for us God sent His Son (John 3:16) to live in human form so He could experience the same issues we do (Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 2:18). He was the sacrifice for our sin but death couldn't hold Him because He never sinned (Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21) so He rose again. I know it may sound crazy (1 Corinthians 1:18) but in my experience there is nothing more real... Maybe you've been mistreated by churches or people professing to be Christians. We're human... we fail. Faith isn't about them. Maybe you can't reconcile a loving God who 'lets bad things happen'. To be honest, I struggle with that one personally and have had many occasions to ask 'why' but I must defer to the One who knows all... Just because I don't have the capacity to understand everything doesn't mean God's plans are not perfect (Proverbs 3:5-6). I am learning to trust Him even when I can't see through the pain.
Traditions can't save you. Being a 'good person' can't save you. Believing there is some sort of 'god' out there falls short and pretending there's no life after this one doesn't make it so. I think if we honestly searched our souls we'd have to admit the truth. Without faith in the living God, nothing satisfies and we tend to spend our lives wandering from one thing to the next trying to find purpose and meaning. You know there's something more. There is only one remedy... His name is Jesus.
How do I become a follower of Jesus?
Well, it is a big decision so it can seem complicated, but it's not. The easiest way to explain the process is using your ABC's...
'A' stands for ADMIT:
Admit to God that you are a sinner (someone who does wrong) and repent (this means you are truly sorry for the wrongs you have done and, with God's help, will turn away from wrong-doing... this is a process so don't get discouraged).
'B' stands for BELIEVE:
Believe that Jesus is God's Son who came to earth in human form, lived a perfect life (without sinning), was sacrificed on a cross to pay for everyone's sins then rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, fixing our broken relationship with our Creator/Father. If that's a stretch for you ask God to show you the truth... He will.
'C' stands for CONFESS:
Confess your faith in Jesus (Christ means messiah/saviour). This just means that you tell others about your experience. Often people will ask because they notice that you are different somehow.
How do I pray?
Well, believe it or not, this is also fairly straightforward. Praying is just talking to God. You can tell Him about your feelings and needs, ask for help and express thankfulness for His love and care. Make it a daily challenge to look for the blessings in your life... you'll find more than you think.
If you have decided to follow Jesus, congratulations and welcome to the family of God!
If you still have a lot of questions that's okay too. God is not afraid of people with questions :)
Either way, Here are some links
that have been helpful to me.
I hope they are a blessing to you
All the verse references in brackets are from the Bible :)
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