I was born into a Christian family and each week I went along to church. I was not interested in what was being said, although there were times when it would suddenly hit me that I was not living in a way that pleased God. This would trouble me for a while, but I would soon forget about it.
When I was 12 years old, I went on a Christian camp in South Wales. Each day, a verse from the Bible was explained to us. On one day the verse was, ‘What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?’ (Matthew 16:26).
The speaker explained that we are all sinful, and so we must all face the eternal consequences for the sins we have committed, if we are trusting in anything but Jesus Christ.
I was deeply affected by that, because I knew that I was living to please myself. I also knew, if I were to die at that moment, then I too would have to face the consequences for the wrongs I had done.
But I also knew, from my Christian upbringing, that Jesus the Son of God lived a perfect life, died as a punishment for the sins he had not committed, was resurrected, and is now alive in heaven.
So, if we ask God to forgive us our sins then he will do so, as Jesus Christ has already borne the penalty of sin. This is what I did after that meeting.
And since then? At first, I really struggled, because I knew that as a Christian you became a new creation, but I felt exactly the same as I did before I had asked God to forgive me. I thought that he had not answered my prayer.
But I was led to Romans 10:13 which says, ‘For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. I know that I have called on the name of the Lord and I also know that he has saved me.
As a Christian, I am still myself in a sense, but my focus in life has changed to living to please God rather than myself.
I sometimes still slip back into living for myself rather than seeking God first. But each time I go astray, God has so graciously brought me back to himself. He promises in his Word that ‘Whosoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).