James 4:13-15

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I’m sure I’m not the only Christian out there that often feels like they are living a double life. I feel like I’m often pulled in two different directions. I’m the same person, with the same jokes, same ambitions, goals, dorkiness, ect… but feel like I can truly talk about my real fulfilling purpose in life around one set of friends and then towards my other friends I often find myself tongue twisted, struggling to share my real beliefs.

I was cleaning out a few things today and found the testimony I wrote in one of my religion classes this past semester. It ties right into Steve’s sermon yesterday at Church, which honestly affected me more than I imagined. I feel like when I moved to Charleston I surrounded myself in this little bubble of Christian friends, not wanting to leave my bubble for the fear of going back to the life I used to live. Finally I got over that fear, realizing that God does not always want us to be comfortable. He wants us to witness to people, to love people and the share our faith. That means stepping out of our comfort zone. Now that I have stepped out of that comfort zone, I find that God has really taught me some amazing things and convicted me at the same time. Some of the kindest, most amazing people I know are not Christians. This hurts my heart simply for the fact that I read the bible… I know how Jesus wants me to conduct my life and yet, I struggle so much with the things that just come so easily to my non-Christian friends. I lack so much in having certain characteristics that Jesus wants me to have, yet only by his amazing Grace I am saved.

I guess what is really on my mind is how do you talk to an unbeliever about the amazing things Jesus has done for us? How do you really sit there, look someone in the eye and tell them you really believe the Old Testament stories in the bible. That yes, I do actually believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale, along with all the other ridiculous stories… and not look freaking crazy? Someone please let me know. This is why I loved my bubble. I didn’t seem crazy that the one and only reason why I moved to Charleston was because I felt like the Lord was calling me. So how do you really explain the Gospel, share your testimony and allow God to use you to bring people to Christ? God has just really placed this overwhelming desire to share my faith with unbelievers and to show them how he has changed me. But, how do you really get someone to understand your view points when they are pretty content with their life? I know I didn’t and couldn’t understand this whole Christianity thing at one point in my life. I thought Christians were boring, self-righteous and I completely missed the mark on what it was really about. Most people have to be broken to realize they can’t do it on their own, that they need God. They have to be at the lowest point- then have God reach out and make you understand that he is truly the only one you can rely on.

I was having a conversation the other day, sharing a little bit about my beliefs. Of course I was so worried about not sounding like a crazy self-righteous Christian, that I feel like I totally left out all the points of sharing the Gospel that I meant to make. This person said to me that my views are just not the way the world works. He was so right… Matthew 7:13-14 says;

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Jesus knew our society was not set up to be accepting of him. He knew that only a handful would truly believe in him and strive to live in a different way. It’s a man-eat-man world and the thought of putting others before ourselves is seen as a weak characteristic. Anyways, here is the short testimony I wrote for my religion class. Maybe it will spark some questions and help an unbeliever, or maybe I will just look crazier to them. All I know is I am so grateful for the life I have now. It’s so humbling to think that there is nothing I could do to take away God’s love for me. God has chosen to go after my heart. It’s not because of who I am, or because of what I’ve done, but because of who he is…

My Testimony

Before coming to know Christ my life correlated much to the theme of the book of Ecclesiastes; my life was meaningless. I was wandering around with no purpose or direction and the small joys that I thought would give me pleasure only lasted seconds. I could say I was like most Americans, I had a belief for God and because I was a Caucasian growing up in the North I was considered to be a Christian. However, I did not know what being a Christian truly meant. I thought just being considered to be a “good” person would be enough to go to heaven.

Throughout my life, looking back I can really see how God was trying to guide me to him. There were so many instances, circumstances and events that he put in my life from a young age that I can see him trying to tell me to repent from my old ways and turn to Christ. The turning point for me, when God truly began to open my eyes was while I was visiting Charleston. I came here for my cousins wedding and saw the love that others had for Jesus. I saw that their entire purpose in life was to worship and praise Jesus for what he did for us and to truly live by the bible in everyway possible. It was at that point that God truly opened my eyes to what it meant to love, and be thankful for what Christ did for us all. I knew that back home I would be too tempted to fall into my old temptations and patterns, so God moved me to Charleston and surrounded me with so many great Christians that could hold me accountable and help me mature in my walk with the Lord. I moved to Charleston in September and completely immersed myself in God’s word. So much has changed from before I knew Christ; he changed my world view, my attitude towards daily tasks in life and others, my goals in life and most importantly my heart. My entire purpose in life has been changed. I am no longer wandering around aimlessly trying to get to Friday night so I can go to dinner and get drinks with friends. What has really affected me the most is God’s ability to forgive; to set us free from our past sin, and behavior. To continuously let us know that we are new in Christ and we no longer are the person we once were. The lyrics to the song Amazing Grace have had such an impact on me; my chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my savior has ransomed me. And like a flood his mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace.

My biggest struggle is breaking the old patterns and thinking I cannot change. Everyday God continuously reminds me that he broke my chains and set me free. The Lord really opened my heart to the Gospel and I became so touched by Jesus did for us. My desires in life have changed so much; all the things I once valued, now have such little value to me. My one and only desire now, is to stand in awe and bring thanksgiving to what Jesus has done in my life.