I grew up in a non-religious, “liberal-Christian” family, with two younger siblings and two parents. We usually went to church only once a year, on Christmas, but sometimes on Easter as well. I also vaguely remember going to a Sunday school camp once every while.
The result this had on me was minimal: I was a “liberal-Christian”. I mean, I was a Christian because I believed in God intellectually, right? But in Romans 10:9-13, it says “if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.“ Now, I had never believed from heart. I had never actually had confidence or trusted in Jesus, like how you trust your loved ones with money, or with responsibility. No, I believed in Jesus up here – in my head. Never from my heart.
Now, my ideas surrounding who Jesus was were pushed around and obscured by my lack of knowledge. I remember reading books like The Da Vinci Code and The Temple Crusaders, and because I knew so little about this Jesus, I was taken aback at what those books said about Him: they said that Jesus was a lying, deceitful, crazy carpenter who had sex with Mary Magdalene. Only later did I realize that those books had no foundation in truth; they were making these things up, or distorting actual fact.
Let me tell you, I used to sin alot. Sinning is breaking God’s law: when you do something that goes against who God is. For example, God cannot steal. For that reason, stealing is wrong. Even from a young age, I remember stealing. I stole my aunt’s gold necklace from her house, when she was kind enough to have us over. I stole money from my parents ““ I even stole Pokémon cards. Now, as a pre-teen, I lied constantly, giving my parents no reason to trust me. I also became really badly addicted to video games, which interfered with my social-life and homework. I would wait until my parent’s went to bed before sneaking upstairs to play on the computer. I would have to lay awake until 11 or so, wait until my Mom came down to check on me, pretend I was sleeping, and then sneak upstairs after them. Sometimes I would play until 4 in the morning. I did this night, after night, after night. I was sneaky, and I was a liar. Because I did this night after night after night, I eventually compromised my immune system because I was getting so little sleep. Then, I developed pneumonia, whereupon I was bedridden for two months. During these two months I continued to feed my addictions, even though I was punished by my parents. Among the many activities I chose to engage in were acting gluttonous, viewing pornography, acting very jealous and lustful towards certain girls, and dishonouring my parents. I lied constantly, cheated in school, and exalted myself above other people. I had broken God’s law again, and again, and again. I had wronged a Holy and Infinite God, and I was deserving of punishment.
Later, going onto my early high-school years, my siblings and I were tested, to determine whether or not we were “gifted”. I eventually became obsessed with my more “intellectual” side, which led to me acting arrogant and a know-it-all. I became depressed, and soon there was no joy in life: the only slight pleasure I got was when I fed my addictions, like the little rush a heroin addict gets when he gives himself an injection. I was tremendously depressed; my parents tried to help me, but they didn’t know what to do. I want to a psychologist, tried to get more involved in sports, and blamed it on the fact that I didn’t have enough “good” friends. Nothing worked. I was looking for something or someone to cling to. I was looking for stability in my life. I felt a giant gaping hole inside of me, and I tried to fill that hole by viewing pornography, exercising, or intellectually stimulating myself. But nothing fit in that hole. I was empty, and I needed something.
However, God had a plan for me. At the age of 15, He eventually led me to question what I believed in intellectually. I asked myself if the God of the Bible was truly compatible with scientific truth. All of the questions I had, like “who made God?”, “is evolution real?”, “did God make the universe in 7 literal days?”, and many more were answered on a Christian website (Evidence for God from Science) on the internet. This website answered all of the questions I had. However, you aren’t saved based on knowing answers to some tricky questions: remember, Romans 10:9-10 says: “if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heartthat God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I had yet to place my faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour. One day, I came across a video on the internet. It is called “Father’s Love Letter”, and it spoke about God. And it showed the very thing I was so desperately in need of: God’s love.
This video speaks God’s love, and how much He loves us. In John 3:16 it says “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”. God is willing to pay for all the sins we have done against Him! He didn’t just offer me mercy, but he offered me grace! He was paying for my sins!
Now, when I watched that video, I broke down and started to weep. I just broke down and sobbed from my heart. I was broken. Here, I could see God’s love, and I felt Him reaching out to me through His words. I felt the love of God pouring out through the words in this video, and I wept and sobbed because I knew I needed Him in my life. I was in such dire need of Him, and I knew it. I was empty, and I knew only He could fill me. Then, I found a prayer on the internet: an invitation to God, one which asks God into your life. However, I hesitated – a voice in my head said: “you don’t have to do it right now. You’re not in the mood”¦ do it later!”. But then another voice, one which had a lasting impact, said “Why not now? Why wait another second?”. So I fell to my knees and I prayed this prayer. I just knelt on my bedroom floor, and I was sobbing from my heart, and I asked God to come into me. I was sorry for all the people I had hurt, and everything I had done wrong, and I knew I was deserving of punishment. So I believed in Jesus from my heart, and I placed faith in Him.
And then the Holy Spirit came into me. The Holy Spirit is God, and when He came into me I felt just an indescribable wave of peace that flooded my body”¦ it is a sensation of joy, of being made new, and just pure peace. The chaos, the instability, the weight of the world I had felt moments earlier was gone. It is something words can only attempt to describe. I was absolutely euphoric, and I rejoiced!
That happened in August 2010, and WOW, has God ever changed me since then. The peace of the Holy Spirit I felt then is still in me, constant, unwavering. He has released me from so many of my addictions since then. While they used to break me down every night, and I was a slave to feeding them, God has set me free. As John 8:31-36 says, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we will be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.“ While I once was a slave to sin, God has set me free. God is currently working in me, and He is teaching me to love and teach others about His kingdom and the glorious truth that Jesus came and died so we can be forgiven.
Praise God above, for He is truly mighty to save.