Amanda Lee’s Story
I grew up in a Christian household. I believed that I was Christian because my parents were Christian, and so were their parents. Christianity was something you inherited like being Egyptian (my heritage), and therefore never something I had to think about. To me, God was an unknowable cosmic force for good, of course I knew of Him, but I didn’t know Him. I had the basic Biblical concept of God, but no relationship with Him. As far as I was concerned, being an exemplary Christian required participation in church and being good. To be good, was to be seen as likable and agreeable by everyone especially within the Christian community. The less others liked you, the less God approved of you as well. The judgments made by other Christians was an extension of Gods judgments on me.
Throughout my teenage years, my life really revolved around what others thought of me. I had no identity apart from the opinions of others. As a result, I started to resent the church. They had standards that I could not measure up to. The church I attended was very religious, and legalistic. So, I gave up trying to be “good” and stopped attending church. If Christians were a true reflection of God, then I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I still believed Jesus Christ as the Son of God and my Savior, but I had hardened my heart to Him.
Life without God was bleak. I had a God shaped hole in my heart, and tried to fill it with other things. At this time, I also had a lot of health issues and instead of relying on God to make me whole, I turned towards New Age concepts for my physical and emotional healing. I was proud of myself, thinking how open-minded I was being. Ironically I still prayed to God.
One day my mother had invited me to a Bible study with some family friends of ours. It was a Beth Moore study on the book of Daniel. I rejected this idea immediately, but she kept insisting I join her, so to appease her and get her off my back I agreed. That Bible study changed my life, God spoke to me through the book of Daniel. Ironically, I met my future husband Daniel at the same time I was doing that Bible study. He attended church, and even though I had come back to God in my heart, I still didn’t want to be a part of a church. But I liked Daniel and wanted to get closer to him, so I attended his church. From the first time I entered the building I instantaneously felt the peace of God over me I felt at home. When the pastor spoke it was on the exact issue I was dealing with. I realized that being a Christian is a personal choice everyone has to make at some point in their life – that even though fellow Christians may judge you the Lord never rejects nor forsakes. I did not have to focus all my attention on being good. By receiving God, we are supernaturally transformed. He empowers us to be more like Him. More perfect in spirit. These days, I do not rely on my goodness and the opinions of others for my identity. I have found my identity in Christ, seated at the right hand of God.
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at different times. We experience a mix of dreams and regrets.
In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over? Your past doesn’t have to control your future. God has a wonderful plan for your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience complete forgiveness through a personal relationship with God made possible through Jesus Christ. And when God comes into your life, he starts to transform you from the inside out.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.