I went to church frequently; I read the Bible a lot and never doubted that it was true. I knew all the answers and could talk the talk. Yes, I lived a good, honest life — a very good, honest life. But I was headed for hell.
Deep down, I knew that, in God’s eyes, I was a sinner (‘for all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory’); that I could never be good enough for heaven (‘all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags’); and that, when I died, I would get the punishment I deserved. But I tried not to think about it.
One night, when about 7-years-old, God showed me a glimpse of how I looked to him and I shuddered. I cried, because I knew that God hated sin, which is rebellion against him. It all looked very hopeless.
Shortly after this, I went on a Christian camp for young people. I was shown that Jesus was willing to be my substitute, that he could take my place and the punishment from God that I deserved for my sins (‘Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners’; ‘while we were still sinners Christ died for us’).
I confessed all the wrong I had done and trusted his promises of mercy through Christ and immediately felt peace. For a few years, I thought that that was enough. I was going to heaven, right? But God taught me through his Word, the Bible, and through other Christians, that being a real Christian is having a daily, living relationship with Jesus. God wanted the whole of my life, not just a little part that I brought out when I needed him.
I was baptised, because I wanted to obey God and show my family and friends a picture of what he had done in my life. When I went down in the baptismal water, it was to show that I was dying to my old life; when I came up it was to show that Jesus had given me a new life to live for him.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean I’m perfect, but it does mean that God is working in my life making me more like Jesus. It means that when I fail and mess up he is ready and willing to forgive me.
It means that, no matter what situation I’m in, I know God has a good plan for my life. It means I have a great hope and a secure future.