I Had To Make A Decisive Choice For Myself
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. At a young age, I learned all about God and the Bible at home, as well as in Sunday school stories and church messages. By being introduced to this at such a young age, it all seemed second nature to me. I knew what to say and how to say it so I could just blend right in with everyone else around me and keep both my parents and teachers happy. Knowing all of this made me become a rule follower to appease everyone, but I was doing all of this for the wrong reasons. I knew I was doing the right things, but not out of personal convictions. Church to me was boring for the most part. I’d more so be planning my day out then actually paying attention to the preaching. Every once in a while I’d hear a message on hell, and I knew that the only way to heaven was to call upon Jesus and ask for forgiveness. I knew all of this in my head, but not in my heart. That was the first downfall to learning all of that at such a young age. Instead of getting a personal conviction about it and seeking out the answers for myself,
“I felt like I already knew everything. It was easy to get into a routine, but to take God’s Word personally was going to take a choice.”
We had many activities to get us involved in the church growing up. One of my favorites was winter camp. We got to miss a few days of school, hang out with friends, and play games. There were always sermons preached throughout our time away, and I used to sit through them waiting for the next fun event to begin. At winter camp in 2002, things were a little different though. I was getting older and began asking why instead of just following along and playing church. I knew the way to heaven was through faith and repentance in Christ, but I actually started to think about it on a more personal level as opposed to just a fact. The preaching was revolving around that very topic. It began to hit home because I knew I had never experienced that point in life where I fully trusted in Jesus. John 3:3 says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” I prayed that God would show me where I stood with Him so I knew where I would go when I died. That was a dangerous request because He answered it. Throughout the weekend of hearing sermons, I knew I had to make myself right before God. This time it was for me and not everyone around me.
“I read my Bible on my own and paid attention during sermons for the first time in a long time.”
Then on January 22nd, 2002, it came into full perspective. God showed me just how I was in His eyes, living on my own without Him. One of the verses that stood out to me was 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” At that point I couldn’t go on knowing how I stood before Him. I sat down with George Hammett, who talked with me and led me to some more scriptures to help me fully understand the meaning of everything that was going through my head.
The verse that cleared it up most for me was John 3:18, which says, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” If I were to do nothing, I was already condemned to hell. I couldn’t just go on floating by and hoping for the best. It actually required me to make a decisive choice for myself. God sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins, and up to that point in life, I ignored that fact and rejected His gift of eternal life in Heaven by not believing. After reading that verse, a choice was necessary. I prayed for forgiveness and repented of my sins toward God, putting my faith in Him as the only way to heaven. I made a choice to follow Him as best as I could and fully believed in His gift of salvation for me personally.
“It was as if a weight was lifted off of my shoulders I didn’t know I even had.”
Since that day, my life has changed. I am not perfect nor will I ever be, but I no longer followed along because I had to. I began searching scriptures for myself and gaining a new understanding and appreciation for all of the things I had been over before. I started living as best as I could to please God. The Bible states in Galations 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” These fruits began coming apparent in my life and continue to show. It’s a continuing experience, but ever since that day, I now know without question where I will be when I die. If you ever have had the same life questions as I did, I implore you to search the scriptures for yourself. As John 3:18 stated, we can’t just get by without having a belief and understanding of God. By not believing we’ve condemned ourselves to hell. Please take the time to consider God’s offer.