How I Received A New Life
by Ken Thornbury
MY LIFE BEFORE I CAME TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST
The Bible teaches us that without Christ, we are dead. In a very real sense, I had no life before I came to know Jesus Christ. I lived a comfortable working-class lifestyle and had my own apartment, a new car and had money in the bank. I possessed good physical health and my mental state of mind, while not glowing, was sound enough to keep me out of the mental ward. I was a person of moderation. I didn’t smoke, took no drugs and drank only socially. I had a steady girlfriend, enjoyed the company of a few close friends and was supported by a closely-knit family.
Nevertheless, I wasn’t satisfied. Something was missing. Despite some joyful moments, a few exhilarating highs, life to me was long stretches of boredom, frustration, depression and emptiness. There was a void in my heart but I was too ignorant to know how to fill it.
I knew next to nothing about God. While I imagined that a Supreme Being must have made everything in this universe, I had no understanding of a personal God who really cared about people. I believed that we were the product of chemical and biological interactions and the only life to be had was this one. I thought that each one of us was simply trying to find a little happiness before death ended it all. I had never set goals for my life and had no real plans for the future since I had no purpose for living. I was merely existing-eating, drinking and being merry, for tomorrow I die. Years would pass before I would come to know that God is a loving God and that His Name is Jesus Christ. Years would pass before I would know Jesus Christ and His great love.
HOW I CAME TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS MY LORD AND SAVIOR
In 1979, I was injured in an automobile accident and while recovering in the Intensive Care Unit; twice a minister came to visit me and pray for my recovery. I was semi-conscious and barely able to see him or hear his words but I knew he was praying for me and calling upon the Name of Jesus Christ. His visits intrigued me. Why was this man, who had never met me, willing to drive through heavy traffic and use his personal time to tell me about Jesus?
When, some months later, I had sufficiently recovered, I visited his church to thank him for his prayers and drop off a little offering. I did appreciate his sacrifice in seeing me and wanted to repay him for his expenses. It had been years since I had attended a church and (I had never before witnessed a Pentecostal service.) heard the Word of God preached. Although I did not confess any sorrow over anything I had done and turn my life over to God, I was touched by the message and sensed that the praises to God by the congregation were genuine. I continued to attend church and even began reading a Bible which had been given to me by my sister when I was in the first grade and was rotting away on a shelf, sorely neglected by the owner. (By the way, I still have this particular Bible that was given to me 12/25/51 when I was 8 years old. I keep it in my desk at work and read it in times of need.)
Later, as I heard a sermon on Christ’s love and as I read the Scripture verses that accompanied the sermon, I realized that Jesus Christ really had died for me and that He is the solution to an empty life. I wanted Him to be first in my life but feared that He would never forgive me for those times in the past when I hated Him and blamed Him for my sorrows. (Although I had never met God I blamed Him for all my sorrows. I didn’t know about Satan. I was really blind!) I prayed to Jesus Christ that I was truly sorry for all the terrible things I had said and done and that I wanted His forgiveness more than anything. As I prayed to Him to come into my heart and become the Lord of my life, a warm gush of such joy and peace radiated from inside throughout my chest, abdomen, legs, arms and head. I KNEW that Christ Jesus had entered into my heart. Moments later, doubts arose. I began to analyze the experience and question if Jesus had really come into my heart. Was this salvation experience only uncontrolled emotion? False joy? Was Jesus more real now than He was in the past? Yet as I sought Him in earnest prayer and remained in His Word, I found again and again how Alive He is and how His love causes me to trust Him to be my Lord. People may laugh at the idea of a person being “born again” but I know that I have been born again. God took my old meaningless life and exchanged it for a new life in Jesus Christ. I paid nothing for my new life exchange. Jesus Christ paid it all!
HOW MY LIFE HAS CHANGED SINCE HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST
Inviting Jesus Christ to become my Lord and savior has provided benefits that I would not have had had I not turned to Him. Certainly, He is the purpose for my living. He is the reason for my living. He is never far from me in my thoughts. My daily life is often crowded and it seems I never have enough time with all that must be done. Nevertheless, He is there to comfort me, to guide me and to teach me. His presence never leaves me. Prior to knowing Him as my personal savior, I saw no purpose for my life. I didn’t believe in eternal life. Since all those things I sought after (creature comforts, love, family, friendships, wealth, etc:) would cease at my death, life clearly seemed meaningless. However, with Jesus, I have a purpose and reason for living: To love Him and serve Him with all the abilities He gives me. I am His servant. I know now the reality of His kingdom and the reality of the eternal life He has for all those who repent and become His heirs. I now personally know His plan to save mankind and have within me the hope of eternal life. He has called me to be His witness and to bring His Good News to others.
Jesus Christ gives me direction. Before I came to know Him, I was often confused. I was double-minded on many social and political issues. The world seemed to proclaim that it was all right to do your own thing so long as nobody got hurt. Every religious belief, every idea, every philosophy, every behavior, every sexual expression was acceptable to the world. So much seemed gray. Who had the truth? There were so many ways to see things. However, Jesus clears away all the fog. With Him, I now see clearly that which is wrong. With the help of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, I have discovered clearly revealed rights and wrongs. I can search the Scriptures for His guidance and His knowledge in my daily living. He has placed me in a local church to hear His word preached and taught and whereby I may grow to maturity.
Jesus Christ is peace. Since turning my life over to Him, I have found His peace to comfort me in my daily frustrations of living. I still face problems, difficulties and fears but I know that if I remain faithful to Him, His grace is more than enough to see me through difficult times. I thank Him for the power of prayer and His glorious, wonderful deliverance He has given me in the past when I thought all hope was gone.
Jesus Christ is joy. It is truly joyful to know that Jesus Christ has taken away my sins and that I shall be with Him forever. Even unsaved people can have moments of happiness but only those who belong to Jesus Christ have joy. It is joyful to simply lift my voice in praise and worship! It is joyful to read His Word. It is joyful in seeing prayers answered. It is joyful in seeing others come to know Him. It is joyful to know that He is returning for His church and me. It is joyful to attend church and meet with my fellow believers in Jesus Christ. It is joyful to write this testimony about Him and what He is doing for me.
The most important decision we will ever make in life is whether or not we will turn to Jesus Christ and ask Him to take control of our lives. A life without Jesus Christ is no life at all. A life with Jesus Christ is life. He calls each of us to Him. Do not delay in turning your life over to Him. You will lose nothing and gain all.