One Life. One Chance. Live It!
written at age 14
read at my baptism
I grew up in a Christian family and most evenings we would read the Bible. I knew from a young age the clear difference between right and wrong. I also knew there is a heaven and a hell, and those who aren’t God’s children go to hell. That scared me a lot because I knew I wasn’t God’s child.
I didn’t like sinning, and my conscience made me feel really bad. I struggled a lot against bad attitudes and self-pity. When I saw other people working cheerfully, it made me angry at myself. I wondered why I couldn’t do anything right and some people just seemed to do it without thinking.
I became more and more aware of my sin, God’s holiness and my need for forgiveness.
I often tried to imagine eternity and hell and it terrified me to realize there is no end to either.
I began to get depressed.
In January, my siblings were planning to go for a holiday with some friends, and I had really looked forward to this for a long time.
But a few days before we planned to leave, Mum and Dad confronted me and said that they had noticed I had a bad attitude, and they wanted to fix this before it became too late. So they said I was to stay home with them.
I took this really hard, but saw the sense in it. Dad talked to me about attitudes and self-pity, encouraging me to try to have a good attitude. I worked hard at it all week, and found out it wasn’t too difficult for me.
I am glad that Mum and Dad made me stay home, because I realize now that God was working through them.
In February, Mum and Dad said that they had noticed I had been working really hard to have a good attitude. As a reward, I could go to Auckland to stay with my friend and from there we could go to a Christian girls camp in Hamilton. We were both really excited about this.
When we went to the camp, I saw other girls with the same problems as me. Some of the girls were saved, and bravely shared their testimonies. Listening to the testimonies and teaching, and talking to the girls really encouraged me.
I came home elated, knowing that God could forgive me, implant in me His hope and peace like He had done for many others. Not long after that, I went to God in prayer and asked Him earnestly to forgive me. I told Him that I was serious, that I wanted to have His forgiveness and love; I was prepared to follow Him wherever He would lead me.
God heard my prayer and He forgave me. I began experiencing His love and feeling an eagerness for His word. Every day I read the Bible and pray, and now my prayers aren’t empty. I was baptised on 19th September 20-- and it was the best experience of my life. Now I live my life for Christ.
It isn’t easy and I’ve had a tough time. But God changed me, is still changing me and will continue to change me until I won’t need anymore changing – that is, when He calls me home!
These two verses from a favourite hymn, ‘And Can It Be?’ by Charles Wesley, reflect my life in a few lines:
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
“No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”
Friend, Christ has done an amazing thing for us – He died on the cross, bearing our sins, and rose again! Now we are all invited into the Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity. But we must turn from our sin and repent before Almighty God. Then He will be with us no matter where we go, ever loving, protecting, encouraging, carrying our burdens and giving us His peace.
I do not try to make this sound easy. Life as a follower of Christ is not easy – in fact, Christians are mocked, scorned and hated wherever they go. It's a challenge, but Christ will always be with us. So I encourage you, I challenge you, turn from your sin to God before it is too late! Please, at least think about this.
'...as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD...
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us...
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord...
...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
...for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."'
(Romans 3:10-11, 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-11, 10:13)
'But these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.' ~ John 20:31
99%, maybe even 100%, of you will walk away from this indifferent or offended. But I can say this: I have written this, I have tried, I have shared my testimony, I have shone on a hilltop for my God – for the 1%.
ONE LIFE. ONE CHANCE. LIVE IT!