The 24th September 2000, that’s the day I became a Christian, that’s the day I gave my life to Christ.
The week before I’d been on holiday with my parents, and during breakfast on the last day my Dad, never one to beat around the bush, asked me whether I was a Christian. He asked if I believed that I was a sinner, that I needed forgiveness, and that Jesus had died on the cross to be my Lord and Saviour.
I didn’t give him an answer.
I sat in the back of the car on the way home running his question through my head. I was 18 and although not a Christian, Christianity had completely shaped my life. I’d gone to church, the same church, my entire life, I’d attended its Sunday schools and youth groups, gone along to homegroups, and church weekends away. I’d shared the lives of Christians, been invited into their homes, been loved and cared for by them. I’d grown up with Christians being my extended family, and the church as my second home. And each week the gospel was taught, I heard my sin and need of a saviour proclaimed, and week after week I heard how Jesus had died to reconcile a fallen world to the God who made it.
I also heard and saw these truths at home. My parents are both Christians and growing up I heard the gospel spoken and saw the reality of a living Christianity worked out every day in their lives. From the earliest age I saw two Christians cling to their Saviour in times of sorrow, and witnessed Christianity put to the test through good times and bad. The lives of Christians has had a profound effect on me, and to this day the constancy of my parents’ faith is the clearest testimony of the steadfastness and faithfulness of the Saviour I now call my own.
A week after my Dad had asked his question I was sitting in the balcony at church still running all l knew through my head. Did I believe that I was a sinner, did I believe that Jesus had died for me, and did I believe that God longed to have a living relationship with me?
And I knew I did.
I’d lived a life surrounded by Christians, who although not perfect had been living witnesses and proof of the gospel. I’d heard the bible taught countless times and had seen its evaluation of the world proved true again and again. I also knew its assessment of me, saw the sinfulness of my own heart, and the longing I had for something that this world couldn’t satisfy.
That was when I gave my life to Christ, that was the day I stopped living for myself and started living for Him.
Things haven’t been plain sailing since then, I’ve fought God and wrestled with my own unbelief. I struggle with sin, I care way too much what others think of me, and too easily forget just what my salvation cost. But even when I fail God does not, even when I sin God remains faithful, when I’ve fallen God stoops to pick me up. I can’t begin to comprehend a love that bears with all my failings and loves me at my worst, and in the words of a hymn that means a lot to me.
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene
And wonder how He could love me
A sinner condemned, unclean
How marvellous, how wonderful
And my song will ever be
How marvellous, how wonderful
Is my Saviour's love for me*
*Charles H. Gabriel - I Stand Amazed In The Presence