Rachel is a third year biology major who loves cows (they’re cute and also delicious), Narnia, dancing, and that really cute walking kinesin protein!
I was born into a Christian family, going to church every Sunday, raised on gospel children’s songs, Vacation Bible School, and John 3:16. I prayed the sinner’s prayer at an early age, but there was a crucial misunderstanding of Christ’s saving grace–I prayed the prayer about 4 times before someone stopped me, since I thought weekly prayer was necessary to be saved by Christ.
For the grand majority of my life, I confined God to Sundays; the rest of the week was mine. Though I was never a seemingly rebellious child, I had “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). My primary purpose in life was me. As a child, I relied on my obedience, good grades, and being nice to gain acceptance in whatever environment I was in. I thought that if this method worked for me on earth, it would be enough for heaven. I learned to mask all of my sins under a smile. As long as I could contain jealousy, bitterness, and impatience on the inside, then it was like they didn’t exist. But I was deceiving myself like a Pharisee:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones…So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matt. 23:27-28)
I saw little sin in myself–and if my sin was small, then there was no need for Jesus Christ and His saving work.
By God’s grace, my family moved churches in 10th grade. This new church had an active and vibrant youth group, something I had never experienced before. Since my previous church didn’t have a youth group, I was surprised by people my age passionately serving God with their lives. Though this did not affect me at first when my sister left for college during my senior year, I realized I didn’t have any friends at church. So, for purely social reasons, I began attending youth group more frequently. In the process of getting to know the youth, I realized that I did not know this God I had claimed to believe my whole life–could I still call myself a Christian? At the same time, I began to have a nagging feeling that I was not as sinless as I had previously thought. Difficulties with my best friends and how I handled those conflicts were revealing the spiritual death inside my soul. God had begun to work in my heart and I found myself reading the Bible on my own, joining small group, and looking for answers.
In college, God continued to grow the seed He had planted and I joined GOC freshman year. I had no idea what a biblical fellowship looked like or what I was looking for, but God led me into a community of believers who, through solid teaching and discipleship, helped grow my knowledge of God and the gospel by leaps and bounds.
To be honest, I believed I was saved when I was in high school. It is only looking back that I see the gradual change of sanctification that God brought about within my heart and in my life. As such, I only have a vague time period for the time of my salvation, and no exact point of belief, repentance for my sins and trust in Christ as my Savior that I can remember. But regardless of whether I know or not, God was and is faithfully working throughout my life. Today, I am confident that Christ’s saving grace is sufficient to wipe away my sins and to guide me in loving and delighting in Him still more. Each year, He deepens my understanding of the gospel and of His unending, never-failing grace. Though my sins continue to show that I deserve death (Romans 6:23), His mercies allow me to say no and fight to live in obedience to the will of my Father (Titus 2:11-14).
“Heaven and Christ are the same thing.”
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