I used to live like many other “good people”. I had no addictions, a good family, permanent job, friends and money. Since I was a actively religious man, and I was not afraid of God’s wrath, because I was sure that my disciplined and careful lifestyle will be rewarded. In this stage of mind I visited Christian church and I listened to the sermon about the Holy Ghost. This sermon gave me a desire to get to know what is in the Bible. After I read the Bible and I learned about God’s holiness, about His love and how to be saved, I had changed my mind and decided that I am a great sinner. I questioned my faith that I was raised in. At this moment I had to make a life decision;
• Should I follow my childhood religion?
• Should I be obedient to God’s will as shown in the Holy Bible?
I had no problem with the choice; I decided to be obedient to the truth included in the Bible and to throw away my sinful lifestyle. After that I quickly understood that true Christianity is not a religion, or belonging to a religious organization, but is a lifestyle based on faith, truth, and love. I experienced an “internal change”, by altering my outlook on life and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Many people, not understanding my decision said that I had “changed my faith”. The truth is that I did not change my faith but that faith had changed me. Now I am really a free man, full of the thanksgiving to God, full of love of people, joy and hope. I found the sense of life in Christ.
Therefore I encourage anybody to come closer to God, who has created us in His image and is not far from us. In Him we live, “move” and find joy, love and true value of life. Remember that God loves you (John 3:16-17), That He has mercy on you and that each day without Him is a wasted day.
If you want to deeply understand the road on how the Bible “opened my eyes”, and how God changed my life, continue to read below;
In the world of many faiths, religious duties based on human thought are the main requirement. Variety of theories and opinions on this subject motivated me to look for truth. I based my search on the question, “What should I believe and whom should I believe”. Anybody can ask this question: believer, unbeliever, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jehovah Witness, or a person belonging to any other denomination or church. Therefore in the beginning of my search I wanted to find a source of information about God and His will. For this reason I asked myself these questions;
(1) How do we know that God exists?
(2) Where do we learn about creation of the world and man, or possibility of salvation?
(3) Who and in what way had given us this information?
(4) Where can you read about life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus?
(5) Where can you read about life of the first Christians and Apostles who received the Gospel?
(6) Where can you find God’s promises, prophesies and His will?
(7) Otherwise – where can you find in-depth information about God?
There is one answer to the above questions; we learn all from the Holy Bible. When I accepted the Bible as the trustworthy source of knowledge about God, [as well as the way to salvation], my next step was to learn in detail what is in the Bible. Through reading and meditating on God’s Word I found out that this great “book” of wisdom has excellent advice about the way of live. I never thought before about using this advice. I felt “chilled” for a moment when I realized that the Bible could be used in a wrong way, [by using different interpretations]. However I received a superb answer which put me at ease and supported me in my search of true face of God;
2 Peter 1:19-21
….(19) And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (20) Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet,s own interpretation. (21) For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
I also found a few verses describing the Word of God as a complete formation, and I got convinced that the Bible is inspired and infallible. Three fragments spoke to me very clearly;
…. (5) Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (6) Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
.… (18) I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. (19) And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
….(15) Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. (16)The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say „and to seeds,” meaning many people, but „and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
I learned from the above what the New Testament is, and I accepted that God can only save me according to His will and that I have to be obedient to teaching the Gospel included in the New Testament. Apostle Paul writes in his 1st Letter to Corinthians 15:1-2: (1) Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. (2) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
I thought also about the possibility of “believing in vain”, if this belief would be based on a wrong foundation. These examples were the Pharisees who created their own laws different from God’s will. By closing their hearts and minds to the truth and love, [while in the same time observing religious rights], they missed the coming of Messiah and they crucified Jesus Christ. This was to me a warning about the possibility of misunderstanding God, and it made me to “hold tighter” to His Word. When I opened my heart fully to God, I was convinced that God sees my desire to follow the right road.
During farther “look for truth” I concentrated on the people, called Christians, who choose the way of the Gospel. (Acts 11:21-26). Acts and Letters of Apostles gave me information about them. Christians really believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and they started to live according to His teaching. Their lifestyle, character, passion of working for God, love of others and hate of sin made them different from other people. I asked myself if the people that attend church who habitually lie, don’t forgive others, and are selfish, jealous and querulous; have anything to do with the true Christianity? Many times these are very religious people but their lifestyles are far removed from the biblical pattern.
I started to analyze my own life and to ask myself these questions;
How should my own Christian life look like?
Is the chain on my neck or the cross on my room’s wall the symbols of this life?
Does my Christianity consist only of regular church attendance, religious symbols, participation in holidays and reading of the Bible?
Does the Lord delight in these activities?
In regard to the “Lord’s delight”, the 1st Book of Samuel spoke to me;
…(22) But Samuel replied: „Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
So obeying “the voice of the Lord” is a more valuable than a religious lifestyle. I realized that God expects from me a “different kind of obedience”.
When I was still in this confused mood, God had mercy on me and blessed with His grace. What I have received is described exactly, by the prayer from Letter to Ephesians 3:14-19; ….(14) For this reason I kneel before the Father, (15) from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. (16) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, (18) may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, (19) and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
When I experienced this my “eyes were opened”, and I understood the source of the Christian life. I found the “key” to the personal relation and knowledge of God (Colossians 2:2-3) in the person of Christ and in His love. Jesus became my spiritual guide and He filled me with faith, hope, love, as well as with desire to serve others. In this I had found the sense of life and its true value. I finished my search and God’s love “poured” into my heart removed all my doubts.
I wanted to share with you the way God had changed the “course of my life”. Remember that my case is not unusual and that God is waiting for you too.
Luke / luke@zaJezusem.com