Getting Guidance by Opening the Bible
I would like to share my testimony of how God drew me to Him, and how I became a born-again Christian.
I grew up in a non-religious family. We only went to church at Christmas, and I can't remember even one word being spoken about God between us family members. In spite of this, I always had a certain interest in God and the Bible. Sometimes I prayed, and at the age of 9 or 10 visited the church now and again together with a classmate.
When I became a teenager I forgot all about God and became attracted to things which God had forbidden. I only turned to God when I needed something, which is wrong in itself, but He seemed to faithfully answer my prayers and I realized again that He existed. For example, I was diagnosed with insomnia, and I found healing and relief from praying to God. I also felt drawn to the Bible in some way, and wanted to find out whether or not it really was the Word of God. It was then that I developed the habit of opening the Bible and reading the first verse my eyes fell upon. From this practice I can recall three very important verses which I read over the course of time at different points in my life. The written Word of God spoke to my heart and conscience, and without my realising it, started to turn my life around.
The first scripture was:
“So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” (EZEKIEL 33:7-8)
I read these two verses after joining an evening at a local church youth group, when all the teenagers (including myself) refused to read the Bible together. We were quite defiant and only wanted to do “fun” things. The poor leader of the group! When I came home, I knew that I was wrong and that I had just denied the little faith which was in me. There was no doubt that this scripture was for me, and I somehow knew that I should speak up for God as indicated in these verses.
The second scripture was:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (MATTHEW 7:13-14)
Finally, the third scripture was:
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”(REVELATION 20:15)
Both the second and third scriptures made me feel very uncomfortable. I was wondering whether or not I was on the right path. I got the idea that I was not right with God and that there were consequences for living apart from His will.
A little while later, aged 16, I had just moved to another town and asked my brother if he knew of a Christian Church or Bible Study Group. He couldn't give me a satisfactory answer, but the next day I found myself wandering through Munich city centre when I bumped into a lady who gave me a Christian leaflet. We had a discussion for the next two hours, ended up exchanging telephone numbers, and later I attended a meeting.
I attended the next three meetings, and firstly I must say I was impressed by the sincerity of this joyful bunch of normal-looking young people who individually used their Bibles to answer my questions, and seemed to have personal faith in a Holy God. Secondly, I saw the phenomenon of speaking in tongues in action, as recorded in the Bible (ACTS 2:4; MARK 16:17). Through this I saw evidence of a miracle-working God.
Looking back to this time, I have to admit that I posed some very critical questions, as I tried to find a reason to go my own way. In other words, somehow I hoped that there was no God. I liked my lifestyle, and was trying to avoid having to face the consequences of being a sinner before God. By the way, this sort of attitude is also detailed in the Bible because mankind’s natural mindset is against our Creator (ROMANS 8:7; GALATIANS 5:17).
At exactly this same time I met a very charming, nice guy on a dance floor who I started dating. As you can imagine this relationship was tempting me away from the Commandments of God’s Word! However, something was working inside me, and drew me in the right direction. After meeting him a few times I cancelled the next date which was on a Saturday evening, with the reasoning that ”God is against it”.
Yet I also cancelled attending the Christian meeting on Sunday, to give myself a break and some space and to enjoy the nice weather. But, on the contrary, I had no peace at all on that particular Sunday! I couldn't relax, and all entertainment seemed meaningless. Finally, I grabbed my Bible, opened it and my eyes fell on the following verses:
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (REVELATION 3:15-22)
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
This scripture struck me like a thunderbolt and brought me under total conviction of God’s truthful Holy Word. It felt as if this Word was only written for me. I just knew: today is the day of salvation (2 CORINTHIANS 6:2). Without telling anybody, I took the train to the place where the meeting was held, but on arrival I found out that I had forgotten to take along the telephone number. I had no idea where to go! Then God performed a little miracle. I never knew the telephone number by heart, having only dialled it a few times, but the right numbers came easily to my mind and I made the call resulting in me getting through to the right people!
I had already decided to get saved the way the Bible – God’s Word – describes. That same day I received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, and was baptised by full immersion (ACTS 2:37-39). When I came out of the water, the new language I had just received came out of my mouth powerfully. What an experience! I felt so clean, and - as the scripture says - as a new creature in Christ.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 CORINTHIANS 5:17)
Then my walk as a Christian began. From that moment on I read the Bible with a totally new understanding, which is given by the Holy Spirit within us, Who reveals the truth to us (1 CORINTHIANS 2:11-12; JOHN 16:13).
Over all the years that I have been saved I can testify that God has always been faithful and good towards me, without me deserving it. He has directed my path and has blessed me in many ways, and has protected me from the evil of this world. It is as the scripture says:
“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” (LAMENTATIONS 3:27)
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (PROVERBS 3:6)