I spent a lot of my youth, believing I was a follower of Jesus.
When I was a child, my parents moved us to a house within walking distance of a small Baptist church. Eventually, they gave me permission to go to that church, and as a result I spent a huge amount of time there. One week, we had a visiting minister conducting a nightly tent revival. He shared, and then called anyone to the front of the tent who'd accepted his message. The boy I was boy-crazy over walked forward, so I did too.
In my mind, that made me a Christian.
In reality, I didn't understand what was going on. For years after, I lived in some strange world where I essentially played Christian. Only, I didn't go to church. Or share the Good News. Or anything that would show my faith was living.
Additionally, I actually lived in fear. I had this odd fear that God would just strike me dead anytime. Lightning storms filled me with terror. I would end my day by trying to figure out if I'd done more good than bad, so I would go to heaven if God did decide to snuff out my life. As the years went on, the fear gripped me a little less, but it was always sitting on my shoulders, whispering to me, filling me with a silent dread like a little storm cloud.
One day, a wonderful lady asked me if I'd like to do a little Bible study with her, just the two of us. I'm an introvert, and I loved this lady to death, so I gave her an enthusiastic yes. She apparently could sense my confusion and lostness, even if I couldn't myself.
I thought the study was a piece of cake. Then, one night, I was doing the study, and the Holy Spirit moved in a powerful and unexpected way. I read some Scripture and the follow-up text explained that the only move I needed to make to be assured of an eternity in heaven was trusting Christ.
I read it again.
And suddenly, the light bulb turned on. I recognized that I'd been doing it wrong. That I was never actually a Christian. That I'd never taken the final step to trust Christ as my Lord and Savior. So, in that moment, I made that decision, all by myself at my desk.
Instantly, my entire body felt lighter. The weight of weighing my bad against my good was gone. I was rescued.
I was 34 years old. I'd spend 20 years thinking I was a Christian. At that moment, I finally was.
I ran down the hall to my husband, excited by my discovery. He looked at me in surprise and assured me that he did, infact, know that.
I'm so happy that God's Holy Spirit moved over me that night, drawing me to my Savior, so that I could have the assurance I was so desperately seeking every day with my invisible measurement scale. I'm grateful that God's mercy and grace fell over me like a waterfall, washing away the weight of my fears.
Have you made such a step? Let me share how you can do that. It's easy.
Firstly, you need to know that God loves you. He loves you so much, that He sent His Son Jesus to die for you. God loves you with a love, grace, and mercy that no man can match. He is patient, His lovingkindness is amazing. He wants you to be with Him for all eternity in heaven. But, there is a problem.
Secondly, you need to know that the world is filled with sin, and God has no intention of allowing it into heaven. Now matter how hard I tried all those years, I could not erase my sin. I weighed my sins on some scale in my mind, but God doesn't do that. All it takes is the first sin, one sin to separate people from God. And while that sounds like bad news, there is good news.
Thirdly, God offers us forgiveness of our sins through the sacrifice His Son made on the cross. Jesus willingly went to the cross to be the sacrifice mankind needed to erase their sins. Jesus lived a life we cannot match. He was perfectly prepared to step into the gap for sinful mankind, and he was perfectly willing to make the sacrifice.
Fourthly, to receive this forgiveness is easy. You just confess with your mouth that Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. You don't need to clean up your life first, God wants you just as you are. Don't let things of the world hold you back from the love of Christ and the forgiveness He offers.
Finally, once you have made your confession, you are assured of an eternity in heaven when this life ends. Also, your salvation can never be taken away from you. You may stumble. You may sin. You may fail to obey God's call. But God will love you and wait for you to turn back to Him, so He can right your path.
If you make this step, and accept Christ as your Savior, you should then seek a church home near you that teaches from the Bible. You need other mature Christians around you to guide you, pray for you, and encourage you. Why? Because when you accept Christ, you upset the enemy and he's going to come after you with both barrels. He can't take your salvation, but he can destroy your witness. Prayer and support will pull you through these attacks. And when you emerge from attacks victorious, you will be stronger.
I pray that if you've never taken this step, but don't want to right now, that you will one day very soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to borrow or buy a Bible, and just read the book of John in the New Testament. It won't take you long, maybe a few nights, but you'll have more information as you decide what to do.