If you were to ask the majority of people they would say they were a Christian. I would have done the same thing years ago, despite it only being a description rather than a reality. The title 'Christian' means follower of Jesus but put like that I'm not sure many people would say they were a Christian, I certainly wouldn't have said I was a follower of Jesus!
Back when I was growing up, my parents were quite involved in spiritualism, dad being a spirit healer and my mum being a clairvoyant and healer. I'd been along to their meetings but it spooked me a bit the things I saw and heard so I didn't pursue it any further. I'd been quite into yoga too but the practice of bowing down to a 'guru', well again it was interesting but not for me.
I was the youngest of two children in my family, my brother being three years older than me. He and my dad didn't get on too well as my brother was growing into teenage years and had many disagreements. It was during this time that my brother began going along to a local church with a friend and had invited me along at one time to a youth meeting. Again I didn't think it was for me. They were very intense I felt, praying regularly throughout the evening and frankly it made me feel uncomfortable. I'd never been to a church where people were so 'intimate' in their faith and I didn't fit in. I told my mum I felt they were a bit fanatical.
Shortly after my brother left school and began an apprenticeship at a factory, I had an odd phone call from his boss to say that he'd send my brother home as he was acting strangely, trying to remove working light bulbs from the factory and he thought he might be ill. My brother turned up several hours later with his jacket missing saying he'd thrown it on the train tracks to make the people who were following him think he'd jumped under the train, and that's when things began to turn odd. We later discovered that my brother was schizophrenic and had to be admitted to hospital. To cut a long story short, it resulted in him taking an overdose of his prescribed medication and dying before he got to hospital, in my mother's arms; I was 15.
Back at home, in my brother's room, I listened to the only gospel album he had by Cliff Richard (Small Corners) and one song in particular got to me, it was 'when I survey the wondrous cross'. I asked that if there were a God he would prove himself to me, get me to church without my parents thinking I'd gone mad myself. Part of my brother's 'symptoms' of his schizophrenia were his actions, one of which was to announce to everyone in the room he was about to pray and would sink to his knees where he was so any suggestion of me seeking God for myself would have caused big alarm bells to go off!
God answered my prayer, as a friend from school invited me to her youth group where a youth bus picked up and returned the kids home - something my parents would have wanted being strict with curfews. It was there for the first time in my life I heard the gospel.
At some point in our life we reach a crossroads where we have to decide which direction to go in. It is at that crossroads that we can decide to go our own way or follow Christ (become a Christian). I heard about sin (making our choices and doing things our way despite knowing they are not God's ways) and how Jesus took on our sin. He, being the son of God, took our punishment on him so that we could freely come to God and be accepted, through what Jesus had done. That's what I wanted; to be acceptable to God and know his love.
I chose to be a follower of Jesus (Christian) and although it isn't the same for everyone who makes that decision, I physically felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I've since looked back at my reaction to those young people I met at my brother's church, where I had felt so uncomfortable. I realise now their intimacy with God was out of their relationship with him, which I didn't have. It would have been like being in the room with a couple who only had eyes for each other and you feel a gooseberry. That's what I'd been feeling as I didn't have that relationship with God that they had.
Now I've been a Christian for over 27 years and my husband is also a Christian and we share that same close relationship with God. I now couldn't imagine my life without Christ or what it would be like to live without him in my life.
Because of that relationship, God is involved in everything I do and I trust God to help me make decisions and to treat people as I would want to be treated. I make mistakes but because God majors on grace and not judgement, I can know that I only have to go to God, tell him what's up and know I'll receive his forgiveness and help to learn from the experience and start afresh. This impacts my business dealings because I'm honest and open, never seeking to deceive anyone or treat them unfairly. My team are treated with respect in this way and so are my clients".
If you're in that place where you know about God but can't say you're a follower it takes a simple step of faith to know him. God doesn't want you to be involved in a 'religion' but a relationship. There is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus - not all roads lead to God - and you may be at your crossroads now and have a decision to make which way you'll choose. Email me if you want to know where to go from here...
|The church I attend -||http://www.waters-edge.net/|
|Exploring Christianity for yourself -||http://uk.alpha.org/|
|Children's video presentation of the gospel -||The Gospel For Kids|