I grew up going to church most weekends. And I think that’s a good place to start. My parents taught me to be incredibly kind, to not say anything to hurt people, and to care for others in a wonderful way. These are all things that God wants us to be. However, He wants to be the reason for them. Until I was 20 years old, I lived as what I like to call a “Christian atheist”. I believed in God, and I certainly and believed that Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins, but that didn’t dictate the way I lived my life whatsoever. Especially when I got to college, I compared myself to others. I thought I was in a better place than most people. I had convictions to live a semi-clean lifestyle, but there was a fundamental problem. I was my own savior. I had no idea that I was sinful in the eyes of God. In my mind, being a good person, going to a church most Sundays, and refraining from doing stupid things was a pass to heaven.
At the end of my sophomore year, a friend of mine invited me to attend his bible study. I will never forget that night because we were studying John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” They all rattled that off before I even gave it a thought and spoke of Jesus with extreme gratitude and tears in their eyes. They were excited about God! I had never experienced anything like that night before. I saw that night that God desires more than Sunday morning church attendance and the occasional prayer before a meal. My friends showed me that God wants our entire lives because He loves us. I pretended like I knew that verse, but I had never heard it before. I probably put on a good show that night, but I left with more questions than answers.
Over the next two years I spent more time with that group of people, and they helped me understand the immensity of the Gospel. I learned that we are all sinful people. I began to understand that no matter what we do in this world, we are separated from God. Sin has marred us as humans, and it has made us dirty. God cannot accept that. One of my friends once told me that she is no better than a prostitute and no worse than a king. We’re all on an equal playing field, and we’ve all fallen short. That is why faith in Jesus was such a big deal to my friends in college and now myself. Jesus gives us the opportunity to be right with God in this life and for all eternity. He gives us the chance to spend forever with the splendor of the Father, and experience things the way they should be. He, not me, has saved me from the most horrible thought possible: an endless period of time without Him. I’ve been following Christ for almost six years now, and I can say He is well worth it.