“You will surely burn in Hell fire forever and ever if you do not choose to serve Jesus today”. This was the sentence that resonated in my ear that Sunday in September 1994. “What did the preacher mean by such a statement? If God is such a loving, kind and sweet God, then how could He create such a place of fire and send people there? “. I thought to myself. It just did not make any sense at all. There was one thing for certain however, although the whole idea made absolutely no sense at all, it scared me like crazy.
I could not imagine myself burning in flames for ever and ever. No hope of it ever being quenched, no hope of water [I love to drink water], no hope of leaving, what would I do? What can I do to escape God ‘sending’ me to this terrible place I began to ponder? Like the preacher was completely reading my thoughts he answered the question lingering in my head. “If you want to escape such a place of torment today all you need to do is simply confess your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, accept him in your heart as Lord and Saviour and you will be saved”. “That’s it? Is that all I have to do? Is it that simple?” I thought to myself, “Well I can do that” I concluded. So when he made the call for those who wanted to serve Jesus, I walked to the altar that day out of fear more than anything else. I really did not completely understand all that was happening, but I knew one thing for certain; after I repeated the prayer he told us to pray, I was now saved. There was no drama, no soothing feeling, no tears, no halo, no vision of a heavenly choir singing hallelujah, no bright light or deep voice from the skies telling me that I am now saved. I just prayed that prayer and in my head believed that I secured myself a first class ticket to heaven. That was it!
That is actually how my personal journey commenced with Jesus. This simple act was what began to turn the wheels in motions to the journey of my life in Christ. [Quite an adventure so far]. I thought that I had found God and finally choosing to serve Him so I would not go to the place of burning fire. [Found God? After all He wasn’t lost]. I did not know that it was quite the contrary because it was I who was lost and God who had found me, called me, chosen me and this was now the start of the rest of my life in Him. Oh yes. “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son… After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself…” Romans 8:29-30 (Msg.) Yes, God calls us all and wants us to serve him not out of fear but rather love and compassion. He loves you soo much with all your flaws, resentments, mistakes, pain, pride, hurt and disappointment.
My relationship with Jesus had a rocky beginning because it was built on fear and incomprehension but I am glad I stuck with it. I have gotten to know Him and in most cases He is so much more than what people profess. I encountered him and got to know Him for myself over the years and found out that He is love, pure and complete love. I found Hell was not meant for me and it is by rejecting him that I would automatically sentence my own self to that place of torment. God is caring and concerned for the eternal state of my soul and yours too. He is warmth and peace. He is forgiveness and grace. He is the sweetest, kindest, friend you will ever know. He is life in person. What he offers is fulfilment, power [authentic power], gratification, purpose and an entire kingdom because you are his prince/princess. He wants you and has always wanted you to get to know him for yourself because when you do, you will be convinced, immovable, faithful – fixed. He has chosen you and all He wants is that you find your identity in him and reveal his glory. He loves you – yes he does and nothing you can do, have done or will ever do can change that truth. When you get down to it all you need to know is that a relationship with him is better than being religious. Religion will get you a title – Christian, but relationship will give you Citizenship. You get a Kingdom as his Prince/Princess because you are Royalty. Isn’t Royalty superior to Religiosity? Hmm, think on that!
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