I grew up going to Sunday school, kids’ clubs and attending church every week. As a boy, teenager and young man I did this mainly to please my mum and dad.
I knew church was a good thing. I believed the Bible stories were true: Daniel in the lions’ den; Noah’s ark, and stories about Jesus’ life on the earth.
After school I trained to be an engineer. I still came to church, but it didn’t affect me. I lived my life doing what I wanted and slipping further away from Christian principles.
I went out to parties and mixed with people who had no interest in church or God. Yet people in church knew me as a nice young man. I was often asked if I was a ‘born again’ Christian, or what was stopping me from being one. I’d smile sheepishly, feel bad inside and confess I didn’t know. I was spiritually blind and empty.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I realised that coming to church is pointless if I wasn’t getting anything from it. I thought, ‘I need to do something about this’. So I read Christian books, to try to understand what being a Christian was, but didn’t find the answers I wanted.
Then I read a book called Who moved the stone? by an American called Frank Morrison. He set out to examine the Bible’s evidence about Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and try to prove it was all untrue. But he ended up finding the opposite.
This greatly affected me. I am a facts and figures man; hard evidence convinces me. But still I knew I wasn’t a Christian.
I read another book about people’s life stories who had become Christians. They said they came to Jesus and asked him to forgive them the things they had done wrong. I already knew this from church sermons, but not in a personal way.
I knew I had to believe in Jesus, God’s Son, repent of my sins and ask him to be in charge of my life. So I prayed and said I was sorry. I knew I had not just done bad things like swearing or acting immorally, but had put myself first. Basically, I had been my own god, in charge of my own life and this, as the Bible says, is sin. This was about four years ago.
Later, I prayed again, truly giving myself to Jesus. And I couldn’t contain myself. In Romans 10:9 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’.
This was now true for me. I knew I had to say these things out loud, so I told our church elder after church, one Sunday morning, that I was a Christian.
Then, after Sunday lunch, I told my Mum, who then said I need to tell my Dad and brother. So I did. And I continue telling people that I am a Christian and believe these things to be true.
So, despite me wanting to do things my way, God made it clear to me that becoming a Christian was his way. Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6). He is the only way to heaven.