23 - Morden
Before Christ, what was your world-world view?
I grew up in church, but I didn't know Jesus myself. With that being said my worldview was quite similar to the worldview of Christians, however, I would say that I didn't really know how much evil there was in the world, in my heart and in other people. I had a very naive perspective of the world we lived in.
When did you first hear the Gospel? How did you feel about it?
I first heard the Gospel properly when I was 12 years old. It made me feel undeserving, I couldn't understand how God could come down as a human being and die in the place of us for what WE had done against Him for all these years. It made me feel loved and wanting to change and follow Him.
What was your biggest question before you became Christian?
My biggest question was "If God is so good, why is there evil and suffering? And why can't He just get rid of all the evil?"
What was the turning point in your attitude? When did it all change?
When I started to get to know God and His word for myself a lot of my questions were answered, and I noticed that the Bible was true. All you had to do was look around at your peers and the world around you to
see that everyone fits into the narrative, even myself. Reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus, hearing various teachings, and asking God Himself to show me the truth opened my eyes to the reality that I needed a saviour... Not just everyone else around me. God made me stop pointing fingers and address my own heart. So, my attitude now is so different, to answer my own previous question, I would say this: God is so good, He gave us free will, that is why there is evil. We choose not to partner with God and do things on our own terms which causes chaos. On top of that, evil cannot be destroyed without destroying us... so instead of destroying evil, God chose to offer to REDEEM us by giving Jesus in our place and letting us connect with Him again through His Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out. I'm not perfect now, but I'm definitely 180 degrees turned from who I used to be.
What changes did you see in your life, actions, attitudes, problems?
I started to live my life with purpose, instead of going with the wind of society. It's been a really refreshing journey knowing that I was made for more than what we are taught in schools, workplaces etc. My life started to mean more to me, because I realised how much I meant to God, which resulted in loving people more unconditionally, helping those in need, being more forgiving, having more grace for others, etc. I used to have deep depressive episodes where I couldn't even see hope on the horizon, and God slowly and intentionally filled me with inner joy. I gave my life to Christ just after my parents divorced, my late brother's health was getting worse, my mother's health was also getting worse, and my heart was bitter towards my father. Through it all, God delivered me from hatred, gave me the strength to take care of my family and also preserve and even enrich my own mental and emotional health whilst being a young carer. One of the only problems I encountered after giving my life to Christ was the division between myself and previous friendships, which honestly, I wouldn't change. There are more benefits in knowing the One who made me than knowing people who may dislike you because you've accepted the truth
How long did it take before you noticed changes?
Some changes I noticed quickly, for instance, improved self-awareness and conviction of doing wrong, I noticed very quickly. On the other hand, being able to constantly walk in love, love me as God loves me daily, be filled with joy consistently, etc, took a while.
Where are you now?
I would say I'm content, content in life and content in my relationship with God. I definitely have areas to improve in, but I would be lying if I said that I am not more fulfilled now than I've ever been. I've achieved a fair share of things, but none of them come close to what I've been able to receive in Jesus and the internal work that has been done with Him. I'm excited for the future even with all that is going on around the world
What is your favourite bible verse and why?
I don't have a favourite per say, but one verse that always invites me to give my heart an inch more to Jesus is this: "“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” - John 1:48. This verse means a lot to me because here we see a man called Nathanael being completely shocked at how Jesus knows him. To give context, they had never met before on earth, and it was impossible (unless someone had x-ray vision) to see Nathanael in a completely different area under a fig tree. Jesus was showing Nathanael that He knows more about him than He could ever perceive because ultimately Jesus was there when Nathanael was created and before he was placed into a womb. Every time I read it I hear Jesus saying it about me, and it reminds me that I'm safe to give more of my heart to Him, because He knows the real me, and the real me I was intended to be.
Advice to a non-Christian:
Don't think about what others are going to think of you for seeking to find the truth. You live one life; you've got to live it right. Secondly, Jesus wants you, regardless of what anyone has told you in the past, His opinion is not human opinion, and His love is not the same as the church's love per say. Sometimes, people who call themselves Christians give their leader a bad name, but don't hold it against Him, He is not at fault. Remember, though they have encountered Him they are still being changed and upgraded daily, none of us are perfect except Him. Start by reading the gospels of Jesus; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and whilst reading just ask God to reveal the truth to you, I'm sure He will, and it will be a unique way that He does.