Have you ever desired a purpose in your life? Have you ever longed for real joy and an inner peace? For several years, I lived my life trying to acquire these things. Let me tell you how I came to find them.
I was raised in a Christian home. Church was a regular part of my life. I attended a Christian school from kindergarten to graduation. I was taught the truths of the Bible from a very young age. I was taught that, in order to go to Heaven, one must be born again the Bible way.(Note: “salvation”, “saved” and “born again” are Biblical terms referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.) The Bible tells us in John, chapter 3, verse 3 that Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Having heard these things so many times, I followed through with the right motions, doing what I believed needed to be done.” Having heard these things so many times, I followed through with the right motions, doing what I believed needed to be done. I prayed a prayer, and thought I was saved.
When I reached my teen years, I became very active in my church’s youth group, and many other aspects of service in my church. I even went out and told others about their need of a personal relationship with God. All through this time, I believed I was going to Heaven when I died, because I had prayed a prayer a few years back. But, there was something desperately wrong. I remember many times praying and feeling like my prayers were “bouncing off the ceiling.” I knew there was a God, and the Bible told me that He loves me. But, why wasn’t He hearing me? I could never read my Bible, much less learn from it. I genuinely enjoyed “serving” the Lord, but I think I did so because that was what I was taught was good. I enjoyed going to church, because that was where all my friends were. However, I could never apply the Bible to my life – it never really made sense to me.
In December of 1992, our youth group went on our annual Winter Weekend Camp. I was excited to be going! By this time, I was starting to search for something that was “missing” in my spiritual life. I didn’t doubt my salvation, because I had prayed my prayer a couple of years back. I remembered the prayer, and knew I said all the right things. I now know, though, that there is much more to salvation than just words. In Luke, chapter 13, verse 3, the Bible says “Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Being born again is not just words. It’s your heart attitude. You need to be willing to repent – to turn from your sins, and give your life to the Lord.
On the last evening of camp, at the beginning of one of the last sermons, the preacher asked us to bow our heads and remember our time of salvation. I could clearly remember the time. He then asked us to examine our heart. Was it a prayer that we said – or a heart attitude? Did we really repent of our sins and give our lives to the Lord, or was it meaningless words that came out of our mouths? “Right then, it clicked for me.” Right then, it clicked for me. I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I hadn’t repented of my sins, and asked Christ to forgive me. I hadn’t really desired a change in my life – and given it completely to the Lord. I had prayed because that was what I was taught was the right thing to do – and because I thought it would keep me from going to Hell. My conscience bothered me greatly during the preacher’s entire message that night. I was crying quietly, and I just wanted him to be done. I honestly can’t remember what he preached that night. I just knew I was lost and needed to be saved. Nothing could have stopped me from repenting and giving the Lord my life that night!
After the preacher was finished, I went upstairs into a room with a friend, and poured my heart out to God. I knew that I didn’t have a relationship with Him. But, that is what I desired. I knew that I had never repented of my sins. But, I was now willing to repent and I wanted to give my sins to Him, along with my life. I knew He died on the cross for me – a wretched sinner. I was a good girl by most people’s standards. I never committed what most people would call horrible sins, but, in God’s eyes, all sins are the same. Up until that point, I had lived my life for myself. I did what pleased me, with no real thought of what Christ did for me on the cross. The Bible says in Romans, chapter 5, verse 8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That night, I finally saw my righteousness and good works as God saw them. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 6. I surrendered my all to the Lord, I came to the end of myself that night. God changed me on December 29, 1992, never to be the same again! Without a doubt, I now have a relationship with Him. I went from knowing about God – to knowing Him personally! The book of First John, chapter 5, verse 13, says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” This verse from God’s Word assures me that I have a home in heaven!
All at once, peace flooded my soul! As it says in Romans, chapter 5, verse 1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” From that point on, I have had a purpose in life. I live to serve the Lord, and to bring glory to Him, as it says in Isaiah, chapter 43, verse 7, “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory.” Proverbs, chapter 8, verse 35 tells us, “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.” The term “born again” is such an excellent term for the time I met Christ! I felt like I had just started living, all over again!
“The Lord has worked some great changes in my life. “ The Lord has worked some great changes in my life. Am I perfect? Far from it! But now, my sins are covered by Christ’s blood. As it says in Second Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” I don’t want to sin anymore. Not because I think that’s what will get me into heaven, but because I love the Lord and I know He loves me – I’m His child!
God sent His Son, Jesus, all the way from Heaven to die on the cross for my sins, as it says in John, chapter 3, verse 16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him shall have everlasting life.” If I had gotten what I deserved, I would be bound for Hell, as described in Romans, chapter 3, verse 23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Instead, the Bible promise that I will have a home in Heaven, Romans, chapter 6, verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“
Life is short. James, chapter 4, verse 14 says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Why not live your life with a real purpose – serving the Lord. Life is too short, and eternity is too long not to consider what Christ did for you on Calvary. God loves you! He is willing and waiting to hear from you. I found that inner joy and peace I desired! I started living my life anew – you can too.