My teenage years were spent doing what young lads do. As I reached adulthood, I began to have girlfriends, get drunk, party … and I loved it! But when I reached 20 I noticed something.
Every Sunday evening, I would lie in bed (usually hung over) and consider life and death. It was the death bit that affected me. The thought of dying consumed me. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to ‘cease to exist’. It wasn’t natural. This went on for years.
I always believed in a superior force but the God of the Bible didn’t fit the picture – Jesus was just a man to me. My life was perfect because I worked very hard at making it that way.
Then, in 2002, everything changed. Within the space of a week, I lost a long-term girlfriend, became financially broke, and moved into a one-bedroom flat alone without even a bed to sleep on. Why had this happened to me? I had worked so hard at everything and felt let down.
But around the same time two Christian work-colleagues drew alongside me. One said little and let her life be a testimony; the other told me of a personal God who is interested in people.
I began to realise that although I thought my life was perfect, I had spent my whole lifetime (about 8,760 days!) without pleasing God for a single day. How could I have a relationship with this personal God – the One my colleagues talked about and who (they said) could be ‘found’ in the Bible?
The answer lies in a person – someone whose name I hear more often on the lips of non-Christians than Christians! I found Jesus, the Son of God – God incarnate who paid the penalty for every one of those days I had lived in sinful ignorance of my Maker.
Because he died on the cross to pay the penalty for all my sins, I no longer fear death – it will not be ‘ceasing to exist’, after all. How do I know? Because by rising from the dead Jesus has gone before me into heaven. In Jesus I have a relationship that is everlasting.
I was not looking to become a Christian – my life was god-less and I was content with it. Friends and boyfriends filled my days. It was not until my final year at university that Jesus began to call me.
My friend Georgie had been in Yemen for a year, and had been ‘saved’. She came back delighted, longing to share this with me because she thought I was a Christian. I hastily put her straight – I wasn’t against Christianity, but I certainly wasn’t a Christian.
That was it – Georgie’s mission in life became leading me to Jesus. I was not overly impressed, but didn’t resist as I was taken along to various talks and meetings. She took me to every church she could, and I disliked them all.
But by the time I left Durham, I had one question I needed answering. Was Jesus really God’s Son? If he was, then I could see that logically I should worship him. If he wasn’t, it would be handy to know this while I was young, because then I would never need to worry about it again.
I returned home to Ipswich and asked God to help me to read the Bible daily. I also began attending church. But my lifestyle remained unchanged, and I felt I was leading a double life.
In March 2001 I was job and house-hunting and ended up with a scientific job in Ware and accommodation in nearby Hertford. There I met a wonderful Christian family who were to play a large role in my conversion.
I moved into their home as a lodger and they took me along to their church. For the first time ever I heard preaching about sin – and more specifically about hell. I was stunned.
My first thought was: ‘Is he allowed to talk about hell?’ But suddenly I began to see how bad and offensive my sins were to God. I saw that his ways were right and mine were wrong. I saw the mess I had made of my life by going my own way.
I didn’t want to be in charge anymore and, in the summer of 2001, I asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and be my Lord. He said yes, and began to clear out the sinful areas of my life.
Now, four years later, Jesus is still upholding and keeping me faithful to himself. I am weak but he is strong. He has blessed me in more ways than I have time to tell you.