I Thought I Could Do Everything for Myself, with No Help from God…
Was I Ever Wrong

-Clayton Kirschner

I Thought I Could Do Everything for Myself with No Help from God... Was I Ever Wrong

My name is Clayton Kirschner, and this is my story.

I was born February 9, 1934, to parents of two different faiths. My father was an alcoholic and not a church-goer. Mother, on the other hand, did have some religious background, but did not have us children baptized when we were young. She thought it would be better if we chose our own religion when we were old enough to make that choice.

While growing up, I did attend church with some of my friends and did hear about God. While I never accepted Him as my Savior, I did believe He was real. After completing high school, I entered the military and started attending church with a local girl, named Lois, in the area where I was stationed. Lois and I later married and attended church regularly. I thought this was all I needed. But, as our children grew and completed school, we had a tragedy in our so-called good, suburban lives. Our daughter left home when she was 18 years of age, and her mother and I did not know where she was for several years. But I found following this tragedy that no matter what I did, it was insufficient to give us a sense of well-being in our lives.
I left my job in insurance loss control about a year after my daughter left home and started a house painting business. I also worked as a custodian at a local church. I used my free time to read my Bible, hoping to find answers to what was missing in my life. Our son refused to go to church because he felt organized religion had nothing to offer him. He did, however, listen regularly to a television evangelist and he subscribed to a daily devotional study. This led to my son’s salvation. After our son was saved, we contacted a neighbor who had earlier talked to us about God and had invited us to attend the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. He said this church was “different,” and that we would hear preaching right from the Word of God.
“But I found following this tragedy that no matter what I did, it was insufficient to give us a sense of well-being in our lives.”
My wife and son started attending and were very enthusiastic. I started attending evening services there and heard how receiving Christ as my Savior could change my life. I knew I wasn’t satisfied with my life as it was but up until this point in my life, I thought I could do everything myself and needed no help from God. I was wrong. Having my daughter walk out of my life was the event God used to bring me to my knees. In January of 1981, at the age of 47, while driving back to work after lunch, I asked Christ into my life. I asked Him to forgive me for all my sins and to do with me what He may.

After that, my life did a complete about-face— starting inside my heart. I stopped my lifelong habit of cursing and my smart mouth was tamed. This does not mean that I still do not sin. I do. But I pray to God each day to forgive me and to give me victory over my sin. We have since reconciled with our daughter and enjoy a loving relationship with her, her husband and their three children. We continue to see God working every day in our lives. I have recently retired. God keeps bringing opportunities for handyman work to my door almost every week—even without looking for it. The direction of our lives is now in His hands, and He never fails us.
“We cannot save ourselves; we have to come to Christ.”
The Bible states in John 3:16, “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 much of my life, I did not realize I was born a sinner, as stated in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Adam’s sin was passed to all generations. God sees us as filthy rags, and all our good works count for nothing. We must confess our sins and ask forgiveness believing on God to forgive us, as stated in Romans 3:10, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 10:9-13 states, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” We cannot save ourselves; we have to come to Christ. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Yes, I am saved, but it was nothing I earned. I deserved hell. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died on that cruel cross for my sins paid for my Salvation. You, too, can be saved, if you will only call on His name and confess your sins. My prayer is that you do not think this is “just another story.” It is true. Please do not wait for a tragedy to enter your life before you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.