It is a general perception among non-believers that religious people have 'loose screws' somewhere and are wasting their lives by leading boring lives. I beg to differ. The Catholic group at the University is an amazing fun filled group. I see the true joy in their lives. It is a joy which feeds on the eternal source, Jesus. I pursued material things to keep me happy. I went on trips, I hung out with friends, I wanted to be cool.[:D] But I knew something was missing. Not that these things are bad, but at the end of any event I would feel low and look forward to the next dose of entertainment to give me that high. I was restless. But now I am at peace. I am happy to have found true eternal happiness in God. I wanna learn more about God, how amazing He is, about the awesome things He has in store for those who love Him.
So what do I know about Him? God is love. Plain and simple. God loves us and we must love him. Through love we have a living relationship with God. Sadly, this relationship is broken by sin. But Jesus Christ has died for our sins and saved us. We have to believe in this, repent for our past sins and lead a new life with Christ at the center. All three are important. The first is about faith. We have to believe that Christ is our savior. He has bridged the chasm that separated God from humanity.
The second step is repentance. Repentance begins by acknowledgment of sins. We are human, we are weak, we are fallible. But we have to accept our mistakes and be sorry for our failures. We have to express our sincere regrets for our misdeeds and vow to do our best to lead better lives. We must ask God for forgiveness and he will definitely forgive us because we are his children. This sequence is beautifully pictured in the parable The Prodigal Son.
And the third part is leading the new life. We have to trust God with our lives and our future. God is our father. He loves us and wants us to live a full and happy life. He has good things in store for us. To quote from the scripture, Jesus says, (Matthew 7:11) "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" And when we believe in God, it’s not about us anymore. It’s about others. Greed for power and wealth, the root causes of the world’s miseries, will vanish.But leading a new life will be tough. We can’t fight temptations by ourselves. We need God’s grace and all we need to do to get it is to ask God. And we can be sure God will never test us beyond our limits. And when we are doing this because we love God, Christian life is no longer a set of rules and regulations. I am sure we are ready to do anything for the people we truly love. And that makes Christian life so easy!
I thank SPO, especially Jimmy for taking me to the Fan Into Flame retreat. The focus of the retreat was to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to fan into flame the embers of our faith. People think being religious is an inborn thing. It isn’t. We have to cultivate our relationship with God. He is knocking on the door and we need to open it. He extends his hand to us, we have to accept it.
I ask you then, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36) It is your life, what are you going to do it?
Ref: Fan into Flame Retreat booklet and the Bible!