I was privileged to have been brought up in a Christian family and from an early age I was convinced not only of God’s existence but also of his desire to know us intimately and be involved with our lives. I remember witnessing various physical manifestations at church and hearing the testimonies of both the people there and family members - these helped to place my early faith on a firm footing. At the same time, while I knew about God, I had no desire to submit to Him. I found the whole concept of church rather dull and boring and Christianity had little relevance in my every-day thinking. The Bible was a closed book to me, and I only prayed when I was scared. Sunday lunch-time was the best time of the week since it was the longest length of time until the next church, yet I knew something was wrong and carried a low-level guilt around with me.
Things started to change when I was around fifteen - on a Christian holiday with another family I began to see God no longer as an abstract concept but as a very real, immediate and personal necessity. I committed my life to Him afresh there while lying in bed one night. My friend lay asleep in the other bed completely unaware of proceedings going on in my head across the room. That night was not just flash-in-the-pan, but was cemented through teaching, mentoring and fellowship at a youth group I began attending. I came to realise there was nothing I could offer Him to pay for my life of rebellion, yet His death on the cross was sufficient to pay it all, and so Christianity became less of a lifeless religion and more of a real relationship.
On coming to university I have had the privilege of developing close spiritual relationships with a number of people, and have benefitted from much teaching, fellowship and encouragement in a variety of situations. During this time my eyes have been opened to many aspects of both doctrine and Christian practice that I had never considered before. Yet above all I have been awakened to see more of my own sinfulness and depravity and hence more of God’s merciful love which He demonstrated at the cross. It says that ‘He who has been forgiven much, loves much’, and my heart has come to thank Him for His persistent forgiveness. No longer is the Bible a closed book or prayer an emergency helpline. Time and again He has pulled me out of the pit and given me a voice to praise Him again.
This baptism really should have happened a good time ago, but ultimately I have come to see it as a command from the Lord. As His child He desires to have rule over every aspect of my life and this is part of my willing response to all that He has done for me.