3rd Year Law Student,
Future Actor (hopefully)
I have Chinese, English and Irish blood, I've lived in four countries and I've seen a further twenty-one. Oh, and I support Arsenal.
I have a blog! https://inspiredbyangeltalkblog.wordpress.com
8 [...], I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been a ‘Christian’, as has the rest of my family – I’ve got pastors, worship leaders and more up through the generations. I have, of course, been to Church on Sunday pretty much every week of my life, I’ve been to various Christian camps and conferences, I’ve read the Bible through a few times, etc. etc. All sounds pretty rosy, right?
In light of this, perhaps the most shocking thing I can tell you is not that I tried drugs, drank far too much, struggled with addictions to pornography, lust and binge eating (at one point I weighed nearly 17½ stone), or even that I watched a friend nearly die on a beach in Spain as the effects of an overdose took their toll: by far the single most tragic, soul-destroying fact of the first nineteen years of my life was that I’d never met or known Jesus.
Sure, the people around me talked about him loads; sure, I knew pretty much all there was to know about him from what I’d read in the Bible; and sure, my parents had always encouraged me and my brothers, in our ‘quiet times’ (time set aside to be alone with God) to reach out to him and say ‘hi’, but that was the closest I’d ever come – second-hand accounts of people telling me things or telling me to do things, to follow rules. Nothing more.
What, then, did my faith amount to? An intellectual belief in a God who existed and seemed to get some people worked up (but who never seemed to interact with me – my ‘quiet times’ only ever amounted to me squeezing my eyelids shut for a few minutes before getting bored and reading a book: I never heard or felt God’s presence) and a desire to please my parents and family, and to keep up appearances in front of my friends.
Pretty sad, right? I was living a lie, and, as far as lies go, this one had particularly painful consequences. I believed that God probably existed, but that he didn’t want anything to do with me; that the things I was doing were wrong, and would result in me going to hell, but that I had no way out to escape from my situation; and that for me to renounce everything I’d been taught would only result in derision and disappointment from those closest to me.
What changed, then?
On January 10th of last year I was walking around the streets of Hong Kong, where I was volunteering with St. Stephen’s Society – a Christian charity that provides rehabilitation homes for drug addicts, prostitutes and gang members – when I was suddenly, overwhelmingly overcome by the weight of sin in my life. In an instant, I knew the life I had been leading needed to change. I cried out in desperation for Jesus to forgive me, seemingly to no avail. That night, I went to sleep numb: once again, all I’d done was prove either that he didn’t exist or that he didn’t care about me.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The next day at church someone shared a specific word God had given them about a person who had been crying out for forgiveness and for a response of some kind: he wanted that person to know that he had heard and that he had forgiven them. I fell to my knees and wept quietly as I was, yet again, overcome, but this time, something was different. For the first time, I felt that not only was God listening, but that he had answered me, and cared about me more deeply than I could ever imagine; for the first time, I felt the weight of all my sin and shame disappear, as I understood in my heart that I was forgiven and set free; and, for the first time, I felt and experienced Jesus’ awesome, indescribable love wash over me. I’ve been high before, but I can tell you that not even the strongest hit can even come close to comparing with the feeling of God’s presence.
From that day, he replaced the life I’d built on a lie with a new life: a real life. The more I’ve pursued him, the better I’ve got to know him, and the more I’ve witnessed what an amazing difference he can make: I’ve seen the lame walk, hardened criminals transformed and countless others experience the indescribable joy that comes from knowing him. Whenever I have a problem, question, or just want to chat, I go to Jesus: he’s always there, he’s always listening and he’s always talking back. Crazy as it may sound, I believe I have a personal relationship with a God so insanely loving that he gave his own life to get to know me – and he wants to know you too. Don’t wait as long as I did, please – come and meet him, and find out what real life can be like. I promise you it’s worth everything.