I did not look forward to church growing up. The early mornings and the long sermons were annoying, to say the least and on most days, worship felt like giving lip-service to a God who seemed distant and uncaring. I began to think that there was really no way of knowing if Christianity was true or not and as I got older, I decided it was all just nonsense, a waste of time, and I left the church altogether.
In high school, I was always looking for new source of entertainment to alleviate my boredom, satisfy my desire for pleasure, and distract me from difficult situations. I thought I would be happy if I could just have fun, be comfortable, do relatively well in school, and in that process, be liked and approved by others. Although none of these things proved to be deeply satisfying, they provided the spurts of excitement on which I grew to depend. So, I went about my days looking forward to the next event circled on my calendar. As I went to university, I had more freedom and access to money (OSAP) than I ever had before, which resulted in me indulging in new and more excessive things than I had previously. I thought I was having a lot of fun, and to some extent I was, but many nights after coming home from whatever I had been up to, I couldn’t help but feel a bit empty inside.
In my second year, I was looking for some extracurricular activities at school. It was at this time that I was approached by a group of Koreans on campus and they invited me to a Christian club called Agape Impact (AI). I hadn’t been to church since I left, and had no desire to go back, but I didn’t mind these meetings held at school. I started attending more regularly as the semester went on; more than anything, I was drawn to the people there, and how passionate they were about things beyond just studying or hanging out. I appreciated their friendliness and how they welcomed me regardless of what I believed in. I was also spending more time with one of the leaders who had initially approached me and he started sharing his faith with me and teaching me about the Bible.
At the annual AI winter conference, I was able to pray earnestly for the first time in my life and there God revealed to me the extent of my brokenness. I realized that I had never done anything in my life for the sake of others and that I was hopelessly in love with my sins. I heard many times that Jesus was my Saviour, but it wasn’t until I felt with my whole being that I desperately needed a Saviour that I was able to call out to Him. He opened my eyes to the truth of the Gospel, and that night I believed and confessed that the Son of God, became flesh, lived a life I should have lived and died a death I should have died, rose again in three days victorious over death and sin, so that he could defuse this time bomb of sin ticking in me.
Once I became a believer, I put my faith and trust in Jesus and committed to live for Him. I started serving in both AI and church, went on missions, did discipleship training, led small groups, and various other things that would have filled the “checklist” of being a Christian. I knew I was saved by grace alone, but I had a tendency to feel like I had to live up to that at times. Over time, it became difficult to see my relationship with God apart from what I was doing or how I was feeling at a particular moment. Constant failure to live up to His standards caused me to struggle with shame and guilt, giving room for doubt and fear to creep in. Gradually, as I transitioned out of school and Agape Impact, my heart started to grow dull and indifferent to Jesus and to others.
During this time, I was coming to CoaH because I had a lot of friends here. They were the ones to encourage and challenge me, keeping me accountable to remain in Christ. Slowly but surely God was giving me a hunger for His Word again, as did the sermons at CoaH, and I was comforted with the knowledge that it was Him who was not letting me go even when I was so callous towards Him.
One evening, as I was listening to a sermon by David Platt, what he said hit home hard. He said that being a Christian was not me trying to live for Jesus, but it was Jesus living for me. Everything seemed to fall into place at that moment, that just as I was saved by faith in what Christ has done for me in death, there is no way to live but by faith in what Christ continues to do for me as a risen, living God.