For as long as I can remember I have known about God. I grew up in a Christian home and went to Church every Sunday with my parents and took in all the things that were taught in Sunday School. My parents had baptised me as a baby and for a long time I just accepted that I was a Christian and this was what Christians did.
When I went to High School I went along to the Christian Union because that was what it was expected I should do. At about the same time I was beginning to question the notion of faith in as opposed to an understanding of Christian teaching. All this knowledge I had seemed very detached from the reality of things. It was also evident that some of the girls in the CU group were expressing a really vibrant faith, there was something different about them, they had something that I knew I didn’t have. I struggled with this for quite a while. I would try to read my Bible and to pray but found it difficult and awkward and lacked the patience to really let God speak to me.
When I was sixteen the Church I was attending appointed a new youthworker. I think it was from him that I first heard the gospel clearly proclaimed just for what it is. The wonderful news that through Jesus Christ we can be reconciled with God; by the grace of God and through the saving power of the cross. Not by anything that we do ourselves - we don’t have to earn it, it’s offered to us freely if only we will put our trust in him. That was a bit of a breakthrough moment and over the next few months I continued to get to grips with my faith, or lack of it.
That summer I took part in Soul in the City London and during the morning worship sessions we were encouraged to be reading our Bibles avidly. So I did. And I was amazed to find that some of the words seemed to jump off the page at me, in particular Hebrews 3:1 - Fix your thoughts on Jesus, Hebrews 3:7-8 - Do not harden your hearts, Romans 10:13 - Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, Hebrews 4:14 - Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. The message - live your life for God, let him speak to you, know that he is there for you and just generally hang on in there. That week I became a Christian.
Since then things have been up and down but I do keep coming back to God and his grace and let that affect the way I live. I know that God has a plan for my life and that I can rely on this, even if I don’t fully understand it yet. Reading the end of Luke where Jesus was back with his disciples after the resurrection is a continual encouragement. He is preparing them to go out and preach to people but before they can he explains to them the scriptures and also says that they have to receive the Holy Spirit. I feel God is saying yes I have a plan for you but you need to be prepared – get stuck into my word and be filled with my spirit and God’s timing will fall into place.
So that’s it – I’m trying to live for God, follow his will for me and keep learning and growing.