Seek and Ye Shall Find – the Truth!
Hi, my name is Sam and I'd like to tell the story of how I became a Christian. I'm now 43 years old. This story has to go back to when I was about 21 though, about 5 years before I actually became a Christian - or got ‘saved' as the Bible puts it. I had grown up with no particular belief or interest in church, religion, or Christianity. Our parents, like many, left us (my four brothers and I) to make our own choice. This sounds a reasonable approach – after all, you shouldn't force a child to believe something, should you? But… if that something happens to be the truth about life, life after death and eternity, then actually might it be a good idea to teach it after all? However, my parents didn't know the truth about these things, so they couldn't be expected to teach us. Anyway, this left me open-minded about things, though church always bored and, sometimes, actually irritated me. So much talking, but so little relevance.
At age 21 I was soon to graduate from University with a Law degree. Outside the realm of work and career, I had always been a keen reader, and from my youth had a great interest in science, geography, machines and general knowledge. As well as the physical world of science, I also had an interest in the intellectual/philosophical things of life and would happily spend hours discussing the meaning of life with others (quite often fuelled by alcohol, and, later in life, marijuana). I became interested in all sorts of different things like Buddhism, classical philosophy, tai chi, meditation, martial arts and yoga. I became a vegetarian, mainly for health reasons, but also partly because of the teaching of these eastern religions.
But as life went on, I realised that there was something missing.
After being at University, I moved to Glasgow to work at a firm of stockbrokers. I had friends, a good job, a nice flat and a great family. But as life went on, I realised that there was something missing. My interest in the spiritual side of life had brought many questions, but no firm answers. In the end, it boiled down to three main questions:
- How did we get here?
I read books about evolution and tried to understand how it might have worked. But no-one seemed to be able to say exactly how the incredible complexity of life arose from nothing. It's a pretty important question and I wanted the answer.
- What is our purpose?
Many people think that ‘having fun' or ‘doing good for others' is our purpose. I had no idea. But again, I wanted to find out IF I did indeed have some purpose in life. Was I here for a reason? The answer would affect what I chose to do in life.
- What happens after we die?
Buddhism teaches that we are reincarnated. I wondered if that was true. How does it work? Who chooses what you come back as and how is it ‘organised' that you do so? Taoism meanwhile, teaches that you have to meditate to build up your ‘energy body', and then when you die you'll be able to reach another plane of existence. My problem with that was that I'd never been able to meditate properly. Other people got a lot out of meditation; I just couldn't achieve anything. It didn't seem fair that progression to some kind of next life was dependent on one's being able to master a certain skill. What about disabled people that weren't able to do tai chi and meditation?
I was pretty open-minded i.e. I didn't have a preference for what the answers were; I wasn't stuck on one particular philosophy, I just wanted to know the truth. I felt I couldn't just go on living life without knowing why I was here, what I was meant to do (if anything), and what would happen when it was all over. Though I had all the material things I needed, I found that the missing answers were affecting my happiness. I felt a sort of existential angst – some days anyway. I had no peace inside; drink and occasional drugs couldn't cure it, nor could hedonistic fun, music, football or whatever.
At work I met a girl called Shanaz who lived near me. I got to know her a bit as we would sometimes catch the same train to work and we'd walk down to the office and chat. I gradually got to know that she was a Christian of some kind, but I wasn't at all interested. The Christian God, as far as I was concerned, existed only in the heads of the simple people who needed to believe in something like that. Christianity wasn't based on facts, had a book at its centre that was full of holes and probably untrue, and was way behind more enlightened ways of thinking such as the eastern religions. So I thought at the time.
Things changed somewhat when I met Shanaz's husband Henry and his friend, a guy also called Sam. Sam was French, about my age and a nice guy. The first night we met, whilst having dinner at Henry's, he asked me: “What's your purpose in life?” How did he know that I'd spent the last year or so pondering that very question?! It's not the kind of thing you ask every person you meet.
What's your purpose in life?”
Over the next couple of months I spent the occasional bit of time with Henry, Sam and various others from their church. I had never met people like this in my life. They believed the Bible. I had previously thought that even Christians don't really believe the Bible literally, and that to get any meaning out of it you had to see it in terms of allegory, metaphor and so on. Not so. They just believed what it said. Literally, full stop.
I also pretty quickly realised that whereas I had written Christianity off, I actually didn't know much about it at all. There was all this stuff in the Bible that I had no clue about. Speaking in tongues. Prophecy about world events. Dinosaurs. Hell.
I also saw that these people actually had a relationship with God. They would pray to him about the smallest things, such as the weather, as well as about big things. It really struck me that they spoke to him like they would to a person.
Whenever I had questions, they answered them and would show me the Bible verses that proved their points of view. For example, I had always thought that Christianity had a massive problem with dinosaurs, as there was no mention of such creatures and so when they were discovered as fossils, they proved the Bible wrong. Again, not so. I remember clearly Henry showing me the scriptures in the book of Job where dinosaurs are described - and another of my reasons not to believe was disappearing.
At that point in my life I had also come to the realisation that I was far from perfect myself. I had done things I regretted. I knew that my occasional drug use was bad for me. Looking back, I can see that God was already very much working on me. I had no idea of it at the time, but the Bible says that God will ‘call' a person, and will also convict a person of sin. This was happening to me without my knowing it.
The main thing that happened over these weeks was that I was finding out the answers to all my questions. I had never, ever thought that Christianity and the Bible would have the answers. But the strange thing was that when Henry and the others told me things from the Bible, I believed them. My previous beliefs about spiritual things now sounded ridiculous to my own ears. But the things of the Bible were clicking with me deeply. I just knew they were true. I didn't know why I had such certainty about it. But again, looking back now, I see that the Bible says that the Holy Spirit will show you the truth. It's one of his names – the Spirit of Truth, and there's a reason for that.
I experienced a complete transformation.
So I was faced with a choice. On the one hand, I had no desire to become a born-again Christian. Christianity is about the least fashionable thing possible in the UK these days. I didn't fancy facing my mates and family and telling them that I now believed in God, Jesus and the Bible. But on the other hand, I was now a believer, I knew these things were true, and though my ‘natural, carnal' desire was to continue living a hedonistic life, I wanted to be saved. I had wanted to know the truth about life, and life after death, and God had showed it to me. I had found answers to the great questions of life. I knew I had to make my soul safe; that if I died without being saved I could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is a price to pay for being saved, and that is to give your life to God. That prospect caused me to delay a while… but in the end I knew I had to do it. I called Sam after a particularly sleepless night and told him that I needed to get saved. That day after work I went to see him, and after making sure I knew what I was doing and that it was a 100% commitment, we went into prayer. I asked God to forgive my sins, and then after a minute Sam and another elder of the church laid hands on me and prayed for me to receive the Holy Spirit. After a few minutes I started to speak in tongues… a new language given by the Holy Spirit when He comes into you. And then I was baptised under water. Thereby I fulfilled the crucial words of Jesus Christ:
"Unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God”. JOHN 3:5
Pretty soon after that I began to experience the miraculous power of God. I was changed. For the first time in my adult life I could smile at strangers or people in shops. I felt happy. I felt utter peace inside because I had found the truth. And I knew I was free from my sins. I had previously been concerned about how people might react to the things I had done wrong. Now I knew that God had forgiven me and that was all that mattered. I have hardly thought about them since.
I experienced a complete transformation in the way I thought and felt. I instantly had a relationship with the other people in the church that was much, much deeper and sincere than most of those I had known in the world at large. And things that happened in the world suddenly made sense when looked at in the light of the Bible. The Bible explains literally everything. It came alive to me, I realised that it is a living book, that God uses to talk to people. Simple as that.
God's blessings are incredible...
Since then I have grown in faith and understanding of God's ways, have travelled round the world with the church, and experienced many fantastic things. God's blessings are incredible. I was married in 2006 and now live very happily with my wife whom I met through the church, and our two young sons.
If you are reading this and are wondering about God, or about becoming a Christian, then I urge you to find out more. You CAN find the truth - because God will show it to you if you are looking for it. Never mind what the media, or your friends, or 'accepted wisdom' says - find out the real truth for yourself.
"Seek the Lord while He may be found" ISAIAH 55:6.
If you would like to hear anything else about my testimony, you can contact me by writing to us and asking for me.