I guess I always believed that there was a God, but that vague belief was totally unconnected to everyday life.
I certainly didn’t understand what Jesus had to do with anything, and in my mind dismissed him along with boring church services. I always thought Jesus was a bit of an optional extra to faith in god. My parents aren’t Christians, but when I was eleven I went along to a church youth group for a little while. There was a poster up that said ‘If Jesus was the Son of God, then why did he die?’ I didn’t enquire any further; to me seemed like proof that he couldn’t be.
When I arrived at University I made a couple of really good friends who were Christians. They weren’t boring and their faith was very real to them. I borrowed a couple of books from them, the first was about the Christian perspective on relationships (funny how you always pick those books up first!). I didn’t agree with it at all, but was intrigued, so I started reading the second book Basic Christianity, a step-by-step explanation of why Christians believe what they do.
It made a lot of sense, but remained unconvinced. One evening I went to a talk put on by the Christian Union. It was a rather intellectual look at morality and where our conscience comes from. During the talk, my conscience really kicked in. I realised that yes, God was there, in fact he had created me to live in a relationship with him, and I had been ignoring him for my whole life.
I was really. I went back to my room and sat there feeling helpless. After a bit I turned back to that Basic Christianity book. As I read the last couple of chapters, I suddenly realised exactly how Jesus fitted in. Yes, I was guilty, but he had taken my punishment, when he died on the cross. I could be forgiven and have a relationship with the God who created me because Jesus gave his life for me. Jesus was no longer an ‘optional extra’, but utterly essential. His death wasn’t a failure and to prove it God raised him from the dead. That night, I accepted everything Jesus had done for me and gave my life over to him.