Before I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, I used to go to church just for the sake of fulfilling a chore or go with the flow of tradition. I would sing worship songs as if they were just regular songs. It was just purely ritual and empty. Almost every time God’s word was taught, I could hardly understand the message because all I had in my mind was either the food that I was going to eat or the places I would go after the mass. I knew Jesus as the man at the cross, but other than that, everything about him did not make sense to me. His name did not create a significant impact in my life back then. His name was one of the many names of the saints and apostles that I would call every time a problem or a tragedy would arrive in my life. Prayer was just my spare tyre and not my steering wheel. I didn’t understand what it meant to have a personal and authentic relationship with God. The void in my heart just kept growing as I knew there had to be something more than all those religious activities.
When I moved to Singapore, I met some real Christians whom I shared my life with for the course of six years. They pointed me to Jesus and encouraged me to know him deeper through his words (Ephesians 3:4). The Bible, which is truly history, captured my inquisitive heart and led me to know that God sent his son to earth as a person, Jesus of Nazareth (John 3:16; John 14:6). He voluntarily submitted himself for humanity and was punished for our faults in order to pay for the sins we had committed. His death as a righteous man means we were bought with a price (2 Corinthians 5:21). The message of the cross made me realise how I am being loved as I never thought such love ever existed! At the sincerest moment of my life, I said, “Yes, Jesus wash me clean and live within me” (Romans 3:23-24). I surrendered my life and experienced the inner change that my real relationship with God himself brought (Galatians 4:7).
Without a shadow of a doubt, Christianity is not a religion. Religion is human effort to try to work our way to God. On the other hand, Christianity is about God coming down to us to remove the barrier between him and us through Christ Jesus. Religion doesn’t save us. It can never change, heal or set us free, but Jesus does!
Every time I would kneel in worship, prayer and seek him through his words, all I could wish is to seize the moment with him. Every encounter with him makes me feel that I am safe, at peace and full of joy through the hills and valleys of my life. I put my trust in him knowing that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). It is only God who can take a mess and turn it into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victory, pain into a gain and doubts into certainty! I may not know what the future holds, but I am secure in his great love for me and absolutely, there is no place I’d rather be than in his arms (Romans 8:32)!
The psalmist said it perfectly, as my heartbeat says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works” (Psalm 73:26-28).
So, when you are trying to help someone in your life consider Christianity, talk about your own experience of God. Why should someone consider Christianity? Because they have the opportunity to know God himself personally, and that would change their lives!