Mike, Australia, Age 30
I semi-regularly went to a Baptist church with my Mum and my sister during my childhood (6 -12 years of age). My parents divorced when I was about five years old. My father didn’t attend church at this stage. Then during my teenage years (13 -18 years old) I attended a Presbyterian church with my father (who had become a Christian during this time). I remember some time in my early-teens praying for Jesus to come into my heart, I think my motivation was not wanting to go to hell. Also, I was still attending the Baptist church semi-regularly and attending an Anglican church youth group.
During this part of my life I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, although I did believe that He existed. I didn’t have the fullness of joy in my being that comes from knowing Jesus as my Saviour and, at this stage of my life, didn’t trust Jesus with every single part of my life. At this stage Jesus still didn’t seem “real” to me.
During my adolescent years, (from 18 – 21) I drifted away from church although I was still involved in a youth group run by Scripture Union of Tasmania. I went to college and then University where I had a prominent social life and drank a little too much on a number of occasions, as University age people do. Also, at this stage of my life, I don’t remember giving Christianity a thought. I was too busy “enjoying myself.”
Sometime in my early 20’s I had a feeling that I had to go back to the Baptist church that I had attended with my mother. It wasn’t a conscious thought of my own; it was just a feeling I had. I believe that it was the Holy Spirit calling me back. I realise now how empty my life was without Him, realising that the pleasures of this world are by far superseded by the pleasure of knowing Him personally.
It was since I was called back that my relationship with Jesus happened. I felt like the fire in my spirit had been turned up in a big way and that I could not turn back to a life without Jesus. My excitement for anything Godly (ie spending time with God through Bible study and church just to name a couple of things) had increased from almost nothing to right off the scale. I can testify that as soon as you really know Jesus personally, your excitement bubbles over.
I made the choice to follow Jesus because I did not want to go to hell, and also I could not believe that the universe simply just began. I remember reading a pamphlet that explained what you needed to do to be saved’, and I did what it said. I prayed asking Jesus to come into my heart (this time I really meant it!) and to forgive me for my sins. I also asked God to help me to live how He wants me to live. I thanked Him for dying on the cross for me and saving me for it says in the Bible in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus has been with me ever since.
I was baptised in 2001. God calls us to be baptised. I wanted to publicly declare that I was now God’s child and have symbolically died with Him and have risen with Him. To me (like other Christians who have been baptised) it was a day of celebration.
Since the day I became a Christian (fully accepting Jesus into my life) I have freedom and not condemnation from sin. I know that I am not perfect and still sin, but now I know that Jesus has paid the price for that sin by dying on the cross. I live joyfully because Jesus lives in me and the Holy Spirit guides me in my life to live how God wants me too. It is such an awesome experience and eternal life is my gift from God. This is something that only God can provide. Going to church all your life and doing good deeds all your life will not bring you salvation.
I have been blessed by God throughout my life ever since I accepted Jesus. I remember one particular instance that still blows me away. I was at church on one Sunday morning when, during the sermon, God spoke to me in an audible voice, and He said, “This is God’s Word. Listen!” At the time I looked around to see who had said it, thinking it was someone behind me. At the same time, however, I sensed that I was the only one who had heard the voice. This is a significant event that God has blessed me with and something I will never forget.
God is growing me spiritually in my life today, and he will continue to in the future. I am sure of that. I thank God for bringing me this far, and I eagerly look forward to spending my time on this earth and an eternity in heaven with Him for it says in the Bible in Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”