Charles S.

Charles S.

from KS
Story #386
My life is in some areas normal, but I guess we all say that about ourselves, that we are not "special" in that we are better than those around us. I was raised by my parents in a family that attended church and was active in events. I knew all the Bible stories, Noah Samson David and the others. Yet they were stories. I know that people had told me that I was a "sinner" and I guess I agreed with them, I knew that I had gotten in trouble for doing "bad" things, like any child. But, there was always forgiveness or getting over any problems in my family and it was made sense to me that God would be the same way, maybe some timeout or a spanking, but then we would be good again.

That is not the way it works with God.
I really understood so much more about God and who He is after a Sunday sermon. I do not remember the preacher's topic, but as a side point I remember that he said "The only prayer that God hears from a sinner is the prayer of salvation." Now, as a child I had been taught to fold my hands and pray to God at meals and bedtime, so talking to God was not the stretch for me. What grabbed me that Sunday was Sin, and its consequences. I had heard the stories that sinners go to hell when they die, but that was distant and unimportant to me. What got me was that God, the creator of all, the hero of all those Bible stories, the one that made me and loved me, that He would not be able to hear me if I was unsaved.

Because of that sermon, I finally understood that sin, my rebellion against God, had separated me from him. I also understood what salvation meant, that through Jesus' death on the cross I could again come before God. I prayed that week that Jesus would be my savior, that He would pay the penalty for all that I had done wrong.

That day changed my life. Now, the stories in the Bible made sense, that God loved the people that He had made so much that He protected them, He fed them, He saved them from their enemies, and the He sent His only son Jesus to pay the penalty that they could not. I was young when I made this decision, 10 years old, but even today I can look back and see that while I could not use all the fancy church terms about salvation (propitiation, sanctification, glorification), I understood that I was lost, separated, and that only Jesus was able to save me.

Because I was young when I was saved, I have now had the opportunity to grow as a Christian. Youth group and college both brought friends that were Christian. My real times of growth though came from reading the Bible and then trying to live the way it taught. I learned to pray during the day, because I needed the help! God has taught me to rely on Him for jobs, to rely on Him for my finances (still working there, but when you give to God first there always is somehow enough to make it), and to rely on God during mission trips.
I really recommend going on a trip with others that believe in Jesus Christ for the purpose of helping others. Start small, find a group of believers at a local shelter, but go across the US or world as well. The main thing that these trips give me is a renewed commitment to telling others about Jesus here in the United States as well. It is somehow easier to tell someone across the world what Jesus has done for me, but I have so many more opportunities to tell people here where I live.

So, to sum up, God showed me that I was a sinner, that I had disobeyed him and gone against his perfection. However, the perfect God sent his son Jesus to pay the price I could not, and save me. I have grown through good Christian friends, church, but most importantly through Bible study. May God show you this path as well.