When I was sixteen I was considered a “good girl.” I had attended the Presbyterian Church from the time I could walk; I was baptized as an infant, I was an active church member, I obeyed my parents and did well in school. And, just to make sure—I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. “I viewed it as an insurance policy just in case ‘being good’ wasn’t enough.” I viewed it as an insurance policy just in case “being good” wasn’t enough.
Over the next 10 years, I continued to be a “good girl:” attending church, teaching Sunday school, attending and graduating from a Bible college, marrying and having two children. It was after my husband and I moved to a new location that we began to look for a church that the whole family could enjoy. In late September 1995, we began visiting Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. The people were friendly even though their standards seemed a bit “strict.”
We continued to visit, and started a four-week beginner’s Bible study with another couple. It was during this time that I began to understand how God really views man.
On the morning of November 12th, a sermon was preached on the wretchedness of sin. I found myself extremely uncomfortable with how I felt about myself and my relationship with God. God showed me that I wasn’t as “good” as I thought I was. I realized that though my actions might be viewed as better than those of some other people, my heart had never been in a right relationship with the Lord. I may have had my “act” down, but the Lord knew my heart. I had never relinquished my life, my soul, my all to Him.
I had been living a life that was steady on the outside, yet full of fear and anger on the inside. I feared the future and I feared death. I was angry at all the problems that seemed to fall my way. “I could act happy in public, yet once I was alone with my family, I was a tense, temperamental person.” I could act happy in public, yet once I was alone with my family, I was a tense, temperamental person. Sin was also a part of my daily life. However, I became adept at justifying my sin away. After all, I was a “Christian” living such a “good life,” What could be wrong with a little sin here and there?
I returned to the evening service to find the sermon focusing on compromise and how the Lord cannot compromise. The God of today is the same God as the God of the Bible. His standards have not changed. I saw for the first time how narrow the “narrow path” really is.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew chapter 7 verses 13 and 14.
I was scared. Scared for myself and for all my family. The realization that I had been deceived in believing for 10 years that I was “good enough” to get into Heaven made me fearful for others who are believing the same lie. It also made me thankful that the Lord had spared my life until this point that I might truly come to know Him. He had spared me from that awful moment many will experience when they die and wake up in eternal torment.
When an invitation was given I walked forward and was taken aside by a lady of the church where we sat and talked for one hour. She shared scripture with me . Knowing that the Lord was working in my heart I went straight home to be alone with Him and to settle things. I saw so clearly what Jesus Christ had done for me by dying on the cross to pay for my sins. He did this for me, a sinner. The Lord could have nothing to do with a wretched sinner, but after repenting of my sins and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I was now made acceptable in His sight. My heart had truly been changed.
That night the Lord in His mercy brought me to my knees in repentance. He saved my soul and I have been made a new creation in Him. Nothing in my life has ever compared to the peace, the joy and the security that I now feel as a child of God. My God is real. He loves me—and He is always with me.
This peace, joy and security can be yours too! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John chapter 3 verses 16 and 17.