This Sunday at church I was asked to give my testimony, with the additional theme of why Jesus is the best gift of all for me. I’ve edited it a bit so that it makes sense out of the context of the service, but I thought I would post it on here. This is a little window into my life and my journey. I hope it makes sense, and I hope it helps you see things from my perspective a little bit.
I’ve been brought up as a Christian and I’ve been to the same church all my life, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a point where I realised that I needed Jesus in my life in all his fullness. Life cannot be everything it was meant to be if we don’t have Jesus. God gave Jesus to the world, but he also gave him to me, and to everyone, individually; the choice to follow him is a personal one and I had to realise this in order to receive him into my life.
I suppose that I always knew that God was there. How could I not? I’d been told so since I was very young. But knowing that he’s there isn’t the same as feeling that he’s there and that is something that no one can teach you; I had to learn it for myself as I got a little bit older. Encounters with the Holy Spirit helped me to learn more about who God is as a person, because I guess that sometimes it’s so easy to box God away, to acknowledge the idea of a deity but to forget that actually, we worship a God who is a person even more than we are, because he’s three people in one! This great, unparalleled invitation of the cross was always there for me, it just took me a while to open my eyes and see it for everything that it is – it’s both devastating and beautiful.
As I just mentioned there, I like to see the cross as the great invitation into the fullness of a relationship with God – without that invitation, it is impossible to enjoy God’s love as we were always intended to. The cross is an invitation and, I believe that Jesus, and the salvation that he brought, is the greatest gift that God could give us. For me, I couldn’t function properly without that gift of a relationship with Jesus and, through him, God, in my life. One of the awesome things about this gift is that it’s free and time and again I have to remind myself of this. All throughout my life I’ve found it so easy to fall into the false thinking that you have to earn God’s salvation, when in fact, he’s already given it as this gift: Jesus Christ!
I only began to realise what Christianity was all about a few years ago and God teaches me new things daily. I can’t offer you a specific point of conversion to Christianity because that’s not how it worked for me, being brought up in a Christian family, it was a gradual thing for me to come to know God as he wants us to. This involved me checking out this faith for myself. I don’t think it’s a good idea to accept things at face value, so I had to make sure that I had good reasons for believing what I do. I remember a youth home group with a few years ago in which the home group leaders challenged us to say why we believe in Jesus, as if a non-Christian was asking us, and it was hard! As I went on to challenge myself about this, I came to see that everything comes back to Jesus. If I’m in a discussion based on the evidence for Christianity, then for me, the historical life of Jesus is far and away the best evidence. Or, if I’m talking to someone about what my faith is all about, then it absolutely has to come down to Jesus. As Paul said, if Christ didn’t rise up from the grave, then our faith is useless.
My answer to the question ‘why was Jesus the best gift for me?’ is this: he’s the best gift for me because he is everything I need. He is my first love. He is my strength. He is my grace. He is my shelter. He is my King. He is my brother. He is wisdom. He is power. He is knowledge. He is salvation. He is satisfaction. He is faithful and he is true. That’s the Jesus that I know and love.