Prompt: This statement adds to our picture of you and your faith journey. In at least 250 words, please describe how Jesus Christ became personal to you, how someone becomes a Christian, and what it means to be a Christian. Please use scripture references in your response.
As I crawled into bed that night I found myself unable to sleep. Wide awake contemplating the lesson of that mornings Sunday school class. The teachers had asked us if anyone was willing to accept Jesus Christ as their savior. As a six year old, I wasn't entirely sure what they meant. I had watched a few of my friends accept Christ that day and I realized that I wanted to do it as well. So I lay in bed and repeated as well as I could remember the words I'd heard my friends repeat. I'm not sure what I was expecting after that, fireworks maybe, or a chorus of angels. But I somehow became under the impression that my prayer didn't work. So I tried again, but still, nothing. I didn't even feel any different! I thought the third time would be the charm, but still, nothing. I gave up, figuring I had to be doing something wrong. The next night, I found myself in the same situation, so when my mom came in to say goodnight, I asked her to help me accept Jesus Christ as my savior. I explained my attempts and worries about it not working, and she laughed! I was dismayed that my mom, of all people, found that funny. It was then that I learned that there was no concrete way of accepting Jesus Christ as my savior, the wording didn't matter, and the prayer wasn't a prerequisite to being a Christian. Only two things mattered, and those were; that I was ready and understood what it meant to accept Jesus Christ as my savior and what I did with my belief in Jesus Christ. She told me that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). Nevertheless, I made her guide me through the process, yet again, just to be sure.
Christian. It's a word that is so widely used in our society. Sometimes, we forget what it means, so what is a Christian really? Is it the person who's totally out there with their faith, preaching the gospel to anyone and everyone they see? Or is it the quiet one, sitting in the corner, completely secluded? Sometimes it's hard to figure out what it is that separates the Christians from the non-Christians. Most people think that the Christians are the 'perfect' ones, the ones who follow all the rules, and treat all with kindness. But, I don't think you can bunch all of us Christians into one group. Not all Christians are the same, because beyond our classification as a Christian, we're all different people. To me, being a Christian, simply means that you have been changed on the inside. It means that your heart has been changed by the presence of God. It doesn't mean that you're required to follow every single rule, attend church every Sunday, or treat all with kindness. However, it means that you willingly desire to do those things because you have been changed. It's not enough to just believe, you must also express your love for Christ by doing what He told you to do. "Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man, who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like" (James 1:22-24).
Although I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at a young age, I still went through periods where I wasn't really sure that there was a God (you know, those rebellious middle school years). When I entered middle school I was a very outgoing, crazy pre-teen and I decided that I was going to make as many new friends as I could. Before long, I became friends with a quiet, very interesting girl. She was what we generally referred to as Goth, but not as intense as some. We ate lunch together every day and after a while I realized there was a lot more to her than just her appearance, she was actually quite nice. Months after we met, she fell silent one day to raise awareness for the LGBT community. It was then that I found out that she was bisexual and an atheist, two things I had never heard of before. After that my mind overflowed with questions about moral issues and religious preferences. When she realized that I wasn't willing to participate in the day of silence, and that I was a Christian, she subsequently dismissed the idea of ever hanging out with me again. I believe that God used this girl to show me what I could become if I strayed too far away from my Christian roots, which was exactly where I was headed when I started hanging around her more and more. That is when God became more personal, and authentic to me.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). I know this now, that in order to become a Christian all you have to do is ask and the door will be opened. It doesn't matter how you say it, and the reward isn't fireworks, or a chorus of Angels, it is much more, eternal life in Heaven.