How I Became Born-again at Age 20 || by Precious C Philip
A friend reached out to me some days ago asking me to share my conversion story with him, with the hope that it would somehow help him become a serious Christian and stop rising and falling into sin. After honoring his request, the Holy Spirit impressed it upon my heart to share the story with the public - I don't know exactly why, but the Lord knows why. So, let's get right into it. I got born again when I encountered God on the 9th of June 2012 - that's 8 years ago, but the incident is still fresh in my memory like it happened yesterday.
Well, this is my story: My younger sister and I returned home from school to spend the weekend with our parents like we usually did. After spending a sweet time together; we were to leave for school the following day being Sunday. On Saturday night, my parents called us into their room to give us godly counsel before we returned to school. While my dad spoke, he made this statement: "If God is not first in your life, all your academic achievements and every other achievement you'll make in life is a waste. It is good you're doing exceptionally well academically, but if God is not first, it's all a waste. You can only make me proud if God is first in your life." Those were the words that pierced my heart deeply. It wasn't the first time I was hearing "Put God first in your life" but that night, it sounded new and different. I knew God was not first in my life, not even second, nor third. These words might seem ordinary and common, but it was what God used to save my soul that night. I just can't explain the supernatural power embedded in those words that made me clearly see my then spiritual state. It was like scales fell off from my eyes and a veil was removed from my face and I quickly regained my spiritual sight to see the real me. Because when I look back now, those words seem ordinary, but the Almighty God of Heaven uses simple and ordinary things to confound the wise. After my dad spoke to us, we went back to our room, but I could not sleep. Tears began rolling down my cheeks as I ruminated on the words of my dad. My then real state as a sinner, filled with unholy addictions that my journey to overseas and being exposed to modern technology and the internet brought into my life was exposed. I saw how religious and pious I looked on the outside but unholy on the inside. Yes, my parents are ministers, but I was not saved, neither did I have real personal relationship with God. I wasn't going to church because I knew God personally and had a relationship with Him, I was going because it was a tradition and everyone goes to church on Sundays. Back in Nigeria, I was even a chorister and attended church programs very well. Yet, amidst all the church activities, I had no real relationship with God; I was not saved. I was not born-again. To the world, I was a "good girl", but to God, I was a sinner. To the majority in my local assembly, I was a good Christian sister, but to God, I was unsaved.
Back to the story; so that night, I wept bitterly, crying earnestly to God for the forgiveness of my sin, pretence, hypocritical living and rebellion to Him. I wept and wept until I had no strength to weep again. The following day, we left for school. Right inside the taxi, tears were still rolling down my eyes as I reflected on my life. I wept because I had not been really pleasing God with my life. I had not been living holy and righteous even though it looked like I was on the surface. I had not been true to my parents. My dressing was not pleasing to God. The music I loved and listened to was not glorifying God. The things I watched on social media was not honoring God. The relationship I was into then did not align with God's pattern. And most importantly, I would have gone straight to hell fire if Jesus had come earlier or I died before that night encounter. All these made me weep, but it also ignited deep love for God in my heart.
Before I became born again, I always heard the phrase "born again", but it made no real sense to me. I believed that all I needed to get to heaven was affirm verbally that I believe in Jesus, go to church regularly, attend church programmes, serve in church, pray to God, fast once in a while, read the Bible and try to obey the 10 commandments. Being a chorister then, I believed that with it, I could not miss heaven, coupled with the fact that I was always present in almost every programme held in my local assembly then. Also, I always read a bible passage before I went to bed. So I thought God was pleased with me and that I was going to heaven. There were times some believers would stop me on the way to preach to me and in my heart I would say things like, "If only you know the service I render in church, that I am a member of the choir and I read the bible every night and fast and pray, you would not dare to stop me and preach to me. I know everything already."
It was after my encounter with Jesus that opened my spiritual eyes that night, I realised that I knew absolutely nothing. It was after that encounter that I understood what being born-again is really all about and how indispensable it is to enter the kingdom of heaven. It was then that I understood that there is an encounter with Christ that radically changes a man's life and makes it easier for him or her to obey God's commandments and live a holy life effortlessly because of the presence of the Person of the Holy Spirit living inside of them.
Dear reader, are you really born again? I ask again, are you 100% sure you're born again? If you say you're born again, is there any visible change in your life? When you compare your lifestyle before being born-again with your lifestyle now that you say you're born-again, do you see any significant difference? If you see none, I'm sorry to say but, your claim of being born-again is very questionable. Because whoever encounters Jesus and becomes born-again lives a new kind of life. Consider the life of Apostle Paul: He was Saul, the Persecutor of Christians before being born-again, and after being born-again, he became Paul, the Servant of God and the Preacher of the Gospel of Christ.
My own life is also a testimony. Because if there is no notable change in my life after being born again, this friend of mine who reached out to me would not have done so; he doubtlessly saw a difference that made him come asking me to share my conversion story with him. Are you truly born-again? Keep in mind that only those who're genuinely born-again will be allowed to enter heaven says Jesus in John 3:3-7.
Regardless of how far you may have gone in the pathway of immorality, if only you can make a U-turn, your life will also become a testimony. God's mercy and forgiveness is available now for you no matter what you have done. Please give Jesus a chance to transform your life in toto. Being born-again is a real experience. Being saved is a real experience. Having a personal relationship with God is real experience. Invite Jesus into your life and He'll give you a new life.
The Lord bless you.