Amanda Williams was brought up in a Christian family and had attended church all her life. But that did not make her a real Christian, as she explains here.
It was not until last year, when I was seventeen, that I became a Christian. Being brought up in a Christian family I was aware from a very young age of Christianity and the Bible. I would often think about the things I heard and was taught – and was sometimes troubled by them.
But most of the time it meant nothing to me. I remember being taught that the Bible was the ‘living Word’. But it didn’t feel alive to me, it felt dead.
I can now see that God, in his mercy, was working in my life and calling me. Deep down I always knew there was a God and I knew I was a sinner.
I knew if I died I would go straight to hell. Sometimes this scared me so much I couldn’t sleep. But even though I knew these things, and was often troubled by them, I still rejected God.
In my foolishness I had many reasons for not becoming a Christian. I felt I could not deal with what my friends might say if I became a Christian. I would think, ‘I’m young, I want to live life. I’ll think about Christianity when I’m older’.
But now I realise that I only really began living when I was converted. Nothing anyone says or does to me can compare with God’s gift of eternal life.
In the last couple of years leading up to my salvation, especially during last year, I found I could no longer ignore my troubled heart. Things I never understood suddenly became clear to me. Before, I was blind, but now, suddenly, I could see.
It was an uncomfortable experience. I saw that I was a hell-deserving sinner. I tried to change my ways, but always failed miserably. I would sometimes pray, but it felt like my prayers didn’t go any higher than the ceiling, because I didn’t really believe they would be heard.
I would ask for forgiveness. I was sorry when I hurt people – but I wasn’t sorry to God.
However, God my creator kept calling me. In the months leading up to my conversion, Bible verses I didn’t realise I knew would suddenly come into my head. All my foolish reasons why I could not become a Christian were dealt with.
Also, things I could never understand became clear to me. Gradually I was left with nothing but myself and my sin.
Once the Bible had seemed dead to me – but now it came alive. It wasn’t the Bible that had been dead, it was my heart. I could see I was a sinner. I could see there was a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to save people like me by bearing the punishment for our sin. I could see it was all true and was enabled to believe it.
In the few weeks before my conversion I could think about nothing else. It was like the Lord was crying out to me with open arms to come to him.
When I went to bed at night I would get this overwhelming feeling that I had to speak to my sister about these things. But each night I resisted.
I felt it would just be too much, and I was afraid. But I knew God was calling me and that I must not resist. This could be my last chance – if I hardened my heart again he might leave me to my own will.
In the end I spoke to my sister and my family – who lovingly helped me with all my questions and problems. God’s Holy Spirit was working powerfully in me at that time, and certain Bible verses spoke specially to me. This is what they said.
‘Nor is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’
And again: ‘Before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking I will hear’. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!
Amanda was recently baptised at Penzance Baptist Church.