Growing up, my parents have always been strong believers. But I on the other hand chose to do otherwise. I always hated church because why should I believe something I cannot even see?
John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I thought everyone in church was ridiculous and what I saw was that Christianity was just a set a rules that we had to follow. I was the one that was pushed to go to church and I would just stand and wait for the service to end; I even fell asleep in many of them. Looking back, I was sincerely lost. I used words that I shouldn’t have, was around things that I shouldn’t have, and did things that I shouldn’t have. I was the person who lied about being a Christian but I now know you cannot be a Christian by just saying you are; instead, it’s by your actions and what fruits they produce. I also learned that God does not care about what it looks like on the outside, it is what happens on the inside that he cares about. It’s the transformation in heart and behavior that really matters. The desire to pursue a relationship with him. You’re reading this and probably wondering then how did I change? I’m going to share with you exactly that and to start, God used someone to answer my parent’s prayers.
It was about 4 months ago when I had the desire to pursue a relationship with someone again. I missed having a person support me through times of hardship and laugh with me through times of happiness. So I resorted to dating apps. It was actually a horrible decision and I’m not going to go into detail of why it was horrible but I stopped using it for a while. However I did keep the notifications coming. Then one day a person reached out to me and sent me a message saying hi. Hi was definitely better than any other message I had received so far so I decided to respond. We talked and talked and I figured out that she was a strong follower of Christ. It was in that moment when the lies of being a “good” Christian started. I thought in my head, this person isn’t going to like me if I was not a “good” Christian, so what did I do? I started to tell lie after lie. It got to a point where we cut off communication with each other. What did I get out of all this? This whole thing got me to pick up the Bible for the first time ever in my life. I felt like I needed to be knowledgeable about the Bible and be prepared in case we did meet. Anyways, after we stopped communicating I kept reading the bible because I was so intrigued by it. About a week passed and I decided I want to go to church and study the Bible more and more. The message I received is that sometimes God will withhold things from us to make sure we stay focused and follow through in his purposes. And in my case, it was to withhold me from any distractions and to find him. I think God sometimes withholds valuables from us because if he were to give us everything we wanted, there would not be any challenges or trials and we would just forget about him and lose faith and purpose. But it was at this moment right after the message, I knew God had reached out to me. This was no coincidence. That night I prayed my first prayer and was in such awe of him of how through everything I’ve done, he would still love me and want me to be with him.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I cried tears of happiness. I started to go to church week after week and my parents were so surprised but more so delighted. I had a small conversation with them and they told me they have been praying for me for years. Prayers do work and are so powerful!
Mathew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
I also learned through this experience that everything we do should be to glorify God, it should not be used for our own gains or make us look “good”.
Mathew 6:1-2 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your father in heaven. So when you give to the needy do not announce it with trumpets…
Some more time passed and I started to look online for groups to help me walk this new and dedicated path of faith and I somehow found IMPACT. I think it is so important to have fellowship and to have people to support and be supported by.
Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
This whole journey has been amazing and I have met lifelong friends that God has provided for me. Surrounding yourself with people who want the same thing is so important and that is what God has given me through IMPACT.
About a month ago, the person who God used to lead me on the right path, contacted me back. I was so happy but not expecting this at all and so I took this as an opportunity to tell her everything. I chose to be vulnerable and open and also shared all my lies. Everything turned out perfectly after and just looking back, everything happened for a reason, none of it happened by accident. I’m just so amazed by God’s power and cannot believe what I’ve been missing out on for so long.
This concludes my story of how my walk of faith started. The Bible verse I want to focus on and the theme of the story is:
Ephesians 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved.
It is just so amazing to me that he would love all of us when we don’t deserve any of it. Through all this I’ve felt his presence and my faith has never been stronger. Each and every one of you should know that God loves you so much and wants you to spend eternity with him! We need to pursue him!
2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
All Glory to God!
IMPACT has and will continue to help me pursue, model and teach intimacy with God at a vastly secular campus.
John Chien, Member of Impact Christian Fellowship at IUPUI