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I tried to be good

December 2003

The process of becoming a Christian was quite a gradual one for me, taking place over a period of time. It all started when I realised that I wasn’t a Christian, though I had thought I was for many years.

I used to go to church with my grandmother. I enjoyed this very much: the people were friendly; I enjoyed the music; I even used to like listening to the sermons and tried to please God by living in the right way.

I felt I was a good person, and was sure this made me acceptable to God. But some people seemed to be different – they spoke in very personal terms of their relationship with God and his work in their lives.

I could not tell why, but this always made me feel vaguely uncomfortable and unsure about my own position before God. I tried even harder to be good like they were, but could not calm these doubts.

A narrow way

Then, one evening, there was a sermon about what Jesus called the ‘broad way’ (that leads to destruction) and the ‘narrow way’ (that leads to life). The preacher said that we were all on the broad way by nature, unless we had repented and believed on Jesus Christ.

This was a great blow to me. I realised that I was on this broad way. I had understood much about Christianity – even believed in my mind that it was true. But, I had not been saved!

This gave me a real fright, as I realised I was destined for God’s judgement. I frantically read the Gospels, but every passage seemed to reinforce this message.

I spoke to some Christians I knew – they all said the same thing: ‘Turn to Christ’. This was not what I wanted to hear. All the good things I had tried to do for God became worthless – they were not acceptable to this holy God.

I came to realise that I was rotten to the core. Nothing I could do would ever be right; I would never earn my way to him.

Trust only in Christ

After a couple of months feeling like this, and continuing to read the Bible, I began to see what sort of person Jesus was. I read in the Gospels of Jesus’ life and purpose in coming to save his people.

The sermons I heard spoke about God’s love and provision in Christ. I began to wonder if he could save me and not turn me away. I asked God to help me understand – not the first time I had prayed, but my first real prayer.

He showed me that I had to trust only in Christ’s work on the cross, where he died to bear my sins and rose from the dead to vindicate those who do so trust.

Like the prodigal son (I had always felt sure I would never have gone crawling back like he did) I had to swallow my pride.

Approaching God

I battled with this for a while, but realised that there was no other way to be saved. I asked God’s forgiveness of my sins, and asked Jesus to save me.

There was no flash of light; no sudden enlightening; but I began to feel a peace I had never had. I began to understand more and more what Christ had done, and how he suffered in my place, and made it possible for me to come to God.

I wanted to read and hear more about this, and was eager to go to church to do so. Instead of trying to please God and earn acceptance by what I do, I now know that I am forgiven in Christ – and desire to thank and please God as a result.

I have a Saviour who knows my weakness and guilt, yet who loves me, and has made it possible for me to approach God as my Father. He is more faithful than any friend.

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Evangelistic