As a young child I had been introduced to the concept of Christianity and was aware of some of the stories that were said about the man Jesus. To me the stories were just that, written in a book that was opened on a weekly basis for people to talk about and to enjoy reading. At no point did I properly engage with what was being said as I didn’t feel it had any real relevance to me. As I grew up into my teenage years I engaged even less with the faith and reached a point where I had lost all interest and had dismissed religion as wishful thinking, fiction that people had made real in their minds where it suited them. Coming from a relatively privileged background with no real struggles and abundant opportunity ahead of me I felt that everything was laid out and I had no need for anything like that to guide me.
At this point I assumed that we knew enough to be able to remove any need for God to explain life’s questions and that the people who actually believed in him were disillusioned and just liked the comfort of knowing there was something greater out there. This was basically my stance until I reached sixth form at which point I began to notice something in a few of my Christian friends. There was something different in the way they lived their lives, clearly not wanting to live to pursue their own pleasure and self-interests but something else motivated them to live as they were. I was struck by the conviction in their beliefs, I hadn’t met anyone before whose beliefs were so central to their lives and this caused me to wonder how they could possibly put such trust in a God who, all up until this point, I had seen as imaginary. This intrigued me to find out what it was that gave them that confidence. Towards the end of my final year at school and throughout the following summer I made an effort to learn about what Christianity said about Jesus. My close Christian friends were very open to questions and gave clear genuine answers as to why they lived the way they did.
However good things sounded I was in no rush to believe in Christianity because the source of information where this stuff was coming from was that book of fiction I had known about for all this time. I was challenged by someone, a close friend, who said that however much we know about Jesus there is a decision that has to be made. To follow Jesus or to continue living without him. I was asked what it would take for me to believe what was being said about this religion, one that makes outrageous claims and has such a big impact on people’s lives. I needed to work out whether or not I could trust where these claims were coming from so continued to inquire about the reliability of the gospels and how they fitted in with each other and the external evidence. After some deliberation and the weighing up of evidence for and against over a number of months I got to a point where I felt that beyond any reasonable doubt, what the bible said about Jesus was true as a historical account of actual events. Something, however, was stopping me from making the decision to follow Jesus. I knew what alterations it would cause in my life, in my thinking, living and motivations. However good the gains were, I was almost too cowardly to accept what I knew was the truth for fear of change.
Not long after that did I eventually realise that I was suppressing my own reason and that there was really only one option. In April last year (2012) I decided to turn towards Christ, to accept him as my Lord and Saviour who loves me. I acknowledge the fact that I fail to meet God’s perfect standard and am sorry for that but I rejoice in receiving God’s free gift of forgiveness, available for all who want to receive it, and to be part of his family in personal eternal relationship with him.
Since making this decision it has not been simple, there have been times when I have been close to giving up on God altogether but getting through them has only strengthened my faith and my trust in him.