'Seek Him with all our heart ...'
But weren't you brought up Christian?
Many people assume that your religion is something you are brought up with, that it's not so much a conscious belief but rather years of influence and pressure.
Genuine Christianity isn't like that. I know because I wasn't brought up Christian and only became one at 20 years old!
I grew up in a home with atheist and agnostic views which encouraged me to believe that all religions were man-made and for most of my childhood I did come to the conclusion that this must be true. However, this was never a happy conviction for me.
When I was 19 my sister invited me to her church ( she had recently become a Christian herself). I can still remember the first few times I visited on a Sunday, everyone was so kind and no one seemed to treat me any differently for not sharing their beliefs.
I enjoyed the sermons for the most part because I found myself agreeing with a lot of what was said. The singing was where I felt most awkward. They were praising God and I didn't really believe in him so I’d just stand there trying not to feel like I shouldn't be there.
The truth, though, is that it was that feeling of standing out and not wanting to come across as hypocritical which led me to really question what was happening there.
After a few weeks I began attending their ladies bible study in the hopes of finding answers. It was a real eye-opener to see these women going through the Bible and actually applying it to their life. What was even more amazing was how they talked about Jesus like they knew him and they prayed to him like he was there with them!
This led me to a fork in the road where I considered the following: is it that these people were all deluded collectively? Were they lying to each other? Or could it actually be that Jesus is God, He did die for us and He does live in those who believe in Him?!
Now comes the part I to this day believe is what leads us to His salvation - when we seek Him with all our heart.
"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart" - Jeremiah 29:13
You may ask ‘how can you seek something you don't yet believe in?’
For me, it was a series of heartfelt pleas; that if there truly was a God like these people believed in, I wanted to know him. I read the gospels in the New Testament part of the Bible and prayed with an open heart. It was through this that he revealed himself to me and, in a moment, I truly felt the weight of my sin and what Jesus had done for me.
"In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy spirit," - Ephesians 1:13
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17
I had spent most of my teenage years in a cycle of boyfriends & drinking which caused so much distress & heartbreak. Those things were all destructive and God doesn't want that for us. Things did change once I knew Jesus, my heart changed and I did become a different person. I started longing for and pursuing God's righteousness, though this is a long process and did not happen overnight for me. Habits are not easy to break but they are possible. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" - Phillipians 4:13
Something to consider
I wouldn't urge you to seek out the God of the bible because " it might just work for you" or be "your cup of tea", I would urge you to seek him because He is the truth. He is the creator of the universe and nowhere else will you see such a gracious God who forgives us eternally through His Son. Christianity is a relationship with God and has no comparison.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16.
I implore you to consider how much of what you're taught about anything in life, in school, on the news is through your own observation? Are you not constantly putting your faith in things you don't see yourself?
Why Grace Church Wakefield?
GCW felt like home from the very first times we visited early 2021. Despite the Covid rules at the time of wearing facemasks & no talking, their unity and love for Christ as a Church really did shine through as they persisted as best they could. We were treated like family before we even got to know each other - family in Christ! We actually don't live local to Lupset, however, between the regular house group meetings and other fellowship outside of Sunday morning there really is a constant sense of closeness between us all. As I read through the Bible, I see us following in the footsteps of the early church as we regularly meet to pray, break bread, and study the Bible together - and what an honour that is!
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."- Hebrews 10:25