No one is born a “Christian”. No amount of religious activity can make someone a follower of Jesus Christ in the biblical sense. According to the Bible, a person must turn from his or her sin (repentance) and surrender his or her life to Jesus Christ (saving faith) to receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. There must be a new birth; a spiritual birth. Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Here is my story of how the Lord has so graciously brought me into His Kingdom.
In February of 1985, my best friend and I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend a concert. We arrived in blizzard-like conditions; it was the worst snowstorm to hit Nashville in years and as a result we were snowbound in our hotel.
In the room next to ours at the hotel we met Ken, a gentleman in is fifties who drove down to Nashville from Oregon in a Jeep for a business convention. He was a generous man who genuinely cared for our well-being. Ken showed us great kindness by driving us into town to get food; and to the concert several days later. We soon discovered that Ken was a “born again” Christian. He spent time with us in our hotel room telling us about Jesus Christ and the fact that we are all sinners who need forgiveness and new (spiritual) life. He was the first person who ever plainly presented the biblical Gospel to me. Ken even let me take his personal Bible into my room to read one night…the seed was planted.
The following December, I asked my mother for a Bible for Christmas. Though I was raised in a loving home it was not a biblical Christian home. Therefore, my mother was surprised at this request. Over the next several years I read the Bible on my own. I would read for a few weeks, get convicted, and then put the Bible down for weeks. However, the Spirit of God continually drew me back to the Word of God, the Bible.
As the years passed, two important truths became very apparent to me. The first truth was the wickedness of my own heart. For years I thought I was a good person. After all, I was somewhat outwardly moral and I never murdered anyone! As I read the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord revealed to me the selfishness, pride, rebellion and idolatry that was really in my heart. The second truth that became apparent to me was the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ. The Lord began to open my eyes as to who Jesus Christ really is. I came to see that He was not just a great teacher, but the Son of God who came and died in my place as my substitute. He bore the punishment that I justly deserved so that I could be forgiven and brought into relationship with God. I was grieved by my sin and overwhelmed by His love and mercy. In 1990 the Lord, by His sovereign grace, opened my heart bringing repentance and I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior. It has been a glorious journey since then. I hope and pray that you too have this new life that is found only in the Lord Jesus!