I didn’t really hear and know that God wanted me to follow him until I was 17 years of age. I went to church occasionally (Christmas and Easter mainly) and taught regularly in a Sunday School of an Anglican church in Gloucester (UK) but I hadn’t fully heard about the impact Jesus Christ could have in my life. It wasn’t until I went to a camp (run by Inter Varsity Fellowship I think) in Dolgellau in North Wales that I saw the joyful life lived out by youngsters such as myself. I used to read the reading for the day listed in the Gideon New Testament that I owned (given out at school I think) religiously each day but that’s all it was – a religious duty. Then the day came, when the Christian friend who had asked me to this camp talked to me about asking Jesus into my heart and life and she quoted Revelation 3:20 – Jesus speaking, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and sup with him and he with me.” My friend explained that Jesus was knocking on my heart’s door and wanted to come into my life but I had to ask him to do this.
The following morning, in my Gideon New Testament, this verse was included in that day’s reading. So, I simply lay on my bed and said in my heart to God, ‘If you are real, come into my heart.’ I don’t remember saying sorry for the bad things I had done in my life but I know this happened at some stage. Somehow, the wheels were in motion for me to connect with God and I haven’t looked back since. I began to have a growing confidence in what God said in the Bible and Jesus became real in my experience – He really was with me – and I began to realise that I had become a new person, the individual that God always intended me to be. He was beginning to change my life from the inside out!
That happened over 50 years ago. (Yes, I’ve celebrated this jubilee year!) It is still the most important choice and decision I have ever made. However, I still find that children and adults can be religious about their ‘Christian’ faith. and knowing Jesus personally seems to be more alien to them.I find that it is wonderful how God provides the Holy Spirit within us to work out the life He has placed within us and it’s not a religious observance but a living, practical walk of faith being led by him hourly and certainly daily.
Our children can only know this great God if they:
1 come to Jesus very simply really. They can understand that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who loves them to bits and will do anything to look after them even laying down his life (which of course he literally did for us all).
2 realise their need to have God in their life. (I, as a teenager, can remember walking home from school pushing my bike with friends and I thought ‘If they really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.’ God was actually showing me then my need to be forgiven.) They can ask God for forgiveness.
3 accept the Bible as God’s handbook for living. It is a unique book, God breathed into men who wrote down God’s thoughts and ideas and recalled the events of history for our learning. ‘The Creation Series’ of Diamond Books provides a Biblical foundation for any child to read and appreciate. The illustrations are fantastic and there’s fun in them, too!