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Emily: Baptised in 2011 at Cornerstone Christian Community Church, Markham

It’s hard to believe that I accepted Christ in my life 9 years ago. It has been a crazy journey with God, He has taken me through so much in the last few years… it’s like we had a lot of catching up to do! I wanted to share some of my experiences and a few verses that have made a big impact in my life.

For most of my life, I was agnostic and these were some of the struggles I had with God:

How could the bible, an ancient text, even be relevant today?

How can it be that a non-Christian who does so much good, like invent a vaccine that saves millions of lives, not go to heaven?

How can God view murder just as sinful as envy or stealing? How is that fair?

Isn’t Christianity the biggest bribe of all…to me, God was saying, “if you believe in me, I’ll let you go to heaven”. Where is the love and grace in that?

I knew Christians who were so judgmental and hypocritical that I didn’t see any difference between their life and a non-Christian one. I can tell you that the only reason why I didn’t dismiss Christianity altogether was because of my good friend, Erika. We were roommates together in university and for the first time, I felt she was a Christian who was really trying to live her life for God… not that she was perfect! I wasn’t ready for God, but I got to see what the Christian faith looked like on a day-to-day basis through Erika.

Over time, I realized that my perception of Christianity was based on people who weren’t perfect. I was judging and blaming God for their words and actions. I was looking for a God that I could agree with, who would judge sins the way I would, who would bring peace and fairness to the world the way I would. How conceited is that?!

So I made a decision, I wanted to know what God had to say about himself. If I was going to call myself a Christian, I was going to have to study it and apply it. It’s no different than me calling myself a mechanic. I have to go back to school to study and practice the trade. I started to read the bible and I challenged God on His promise that I will find Him when I seek Him with all my heart. As I began experiencing God and His peace in my life, I realized that if I gave my life to God I would have to obey Him and live His way. In James 1:22, it says ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says’.

It was important to me to be a Christian every day. I wanted to change my lifestyle. So my biggest question was… if I spend most of my week at work, how is God involved? From Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, how does faith in God work? What does he have to say about the business world? It was a challenge for a workaholic like me to give control in all aspects of life to God. I’ve always liked to achieve things. I like to do things, I like measurable progress, accomplishing goals. Those of you who know me know that I always have lots on my plate. Some people tell me they feel my accomplishments are simply because of some great traits that I have. But I know, as it is written in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…‘” I praise God for the opportunities that He’s given me.

I used to the think that becoming a Christian meant that I couldn’t do a lot fun things that I enjoyed. No more partying, no more having cool stuff, no more joking… but I’ve come to understand now that God wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labour. It says in Ecclesiastes 5:19 that “when God gives people wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil & this is a gift from God“.

I remember in high school and university, some Christian friends would tell me that the only way to heaven is through Christ. I was told that if I wasn’t a Christian, I wouldn’t have salvation and would spend my eternal life in hell. For me, that wasn’t a good enough reason to become a Christian, at that time I wasn’t really concerned with my eternal life. I was struggling enough with my earthly life! I’m not a ‘big picture kind of person. For me, life is in the details. It’s great that as a Christian, in the long run I would be in heaven… but what good was that if I couldn’t even bear today? The amazing thing is that God not only saves us for an eternal life in heaven, He saves us now! Here! Today! 1 Corinthians 10:13 says ‘…God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.‘ And I wonder how many times I’ve ignored His way out, overlooked it or justified my way instead.

I can honestly say that my life has been changed since I began my walk with God 9 years ago. Now, my purpose is to live a life that demonstrates the difference God makes. Not that it’ll be perfect, but so that people looking in will want the same God that I have.

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