Let me take a moment of your time to tell you my story–the true story of a Christian who became a Christian. No, that was not a typo! Let me explain…
I grew up in the Bible Belt surrounded by churches. The local school was called a Christian school; and most folks were called Christians. My parents also subscribed to this way of thinking. We went to church Sunday after Sunday, read our Bibles and prayed regularly. In fact, we made a good number of short-term mission trips together.
So it happened one day that the local evangelical church we attended had a joint Sunday School meeting. All the kids were gathered together to watch a film. I can’t remember what it was about but I do remember an adult stepping forward after the film and saying that if we wanted to go to heaven that we needed to invite Jesus into our hearts. So around the age of five I did just that–without telling a single soul–not even my own mother.
From that point on I would consider myself a Christian. At the age of 13 my mom asked me if I was a Christian and I said, “of course!” Being satisfied with the answer, nobody would ask me again until I wanted to be baptized and join the local church at the age 15. I simply said that “I had invited Jesus into my heart.” They too were content with that answer.
As I got older, I was bothered by my sin. At first, it was somewhat enjoyable but then I realized that it controlled me. I tried to better myself as best I could. I started studying my Bible more earnestly. I tried really hard to live a good life but I kept failing in so many ways. At the same time, I was often plagued by doubts about my salvation. This began a regular time of “inviting Jesus into my heart.” My attempt at living right only became a cycle of sin, confess, sin, confess, sin, confess… It was causing me to become depressed and angry. My anger for the most part was well hidden but it was reflected in my guitar playing as well as outbursts of anger when I was pushed to the limit.
The truth was that I was trying to live the Christian life even though I wasn’t a Christian at all–I just thought I was. Not only were those around me deceived into thinking that I was a Christian, I deceived myself. I can tell you first hand, that trying to live the Christian life without being one is very miserable. It is as useless as a caterpillar trying to fly without going through metamorphosis first! Just imagine for a moment a caterpillar ever so slowly making its way high up into a tree and then taking a flying leap while trying to flap its body somehow! There is always that awful landing in the bottom and then the trying it all over again. What utter misery! Not only that, it is a completely useless endeavour.
The truth be told, IF I HAD CONTINUED IN MY THINKING, I WOULD HAVE ENDED UP IN HELL, THINKING ALL ALONG THAT I WAS A CHRISTIAN!
What was happening, was that God in His great mercy and love had brought me to an end of myself. I needed to repent–that is, change my thinking. Specifically, change my thinking as to how one could be saved. I needed to accept the true way to be saved.
It was around this time that God in His mercy and loving-kindness showed me the way I could truly become a Christian. God brought me into contact with John Cross, the writer of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. Though we would not talk about whether I was saved or not, I received a copy of the book. This book pointed me in the right direction. This book would be the means by which God Himself would change my life forever. This book put the puzzle pieces of the Bible together in the correct way.
Yes, it was humbling to admit that my way of thinking had been wrong but at the same time I was eternally grateful that I was now a true Christian. It still makes my heart skip a beat or two thinking that I would have ended up in hell with the thinking I had had. It scares me to think that I was so confident that I was a Christian and would have ended up in hell despite my confidence. The problem was that my confidence was incorrectly placed. Now, with my confidence placed correctly, I no longer have those nagging doubts. I’m not miserable anymore but rather, I’m rejoicing and I’m very thankful. I praise God for what He’s done in my life! I praise God for John Cross and the team at GoodSeed and all those out there who are using the tools they’ve made available so that people all over the world can hear the truth of God’s message in the Bible. Reading “The Stranger on The Road to Emmaus” helped me make sense of what God was trying to communicate from Genesis to Revelation. Why not give it a read or watch the video series for yourself?
P.S. I later had the joy of pointing both my mother and youngest sister along with her husband to the Lord.
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)