The Best Decision I Ever Made
One Sunday morning I was sitting on a hard, stiff pew next to Mom, who was holding my squirmy little brother. Sometime during my pastor's sermon, my mom leaned over to me and whispered, "Aaron, are you listening?" I nodded and whispered back, "Yeah."
And I really was listening, because, for some reason, I felt like my pastor was talking directly to me. Even though I was only 8 at the time, I was able to understand almost everything he said that morning. He told us God was the one who woke each of us up this morning. He told us God was the one who gave us life. Anything good that we have, he stressed, comes from God.
Until then, I'd never thought much about where my food, clothes and nice home came from. I'd always thought it was there because my mom and dad went to work, made money and gave it all to us. But that morning I realized—deep down inside—God really is the one who keeps me breathing and who gives me anything good I have. I suddenly felt thankful for everything God had given me.
My pastor said we need to show our thankfulness to God by making a decision to follow him and live each day for him. He then pointed out that our sins separate us from God, and that we can't even begin to follow him unless we ask Jesus to forgive our sins. He then talked about Jesus' death on the cross, and how his death made it possible for me to live forever with God in heaven. This wasn't the first time I'd heard I needed to ask Jesus to forgive my sins, but it was the first time I wanted to believe in him with all my heart.
After his sermon, the pastor said, "If you'd like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please come to the front."
I didn't need any more encouragement than that. I immediately slid out of the pew and walked to the front of the church. One of the first things the pastor said to me was, "Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?" And I responded as I'd heard so many people in my church respond: "Yes, I believe Jesus is my Lord and Savior."
I know it sounds so simple, but my life was changed that day. For one thing, I went from being a person who didn't know God to someone who did know God. I went from being someone who was forever separated from God to someone who would now forever be with God.
And today as a high school junior, my relationship with God helps me live a life that really is worth living. So many people at my school think God wants to ruin their fun. But God just defines fun differently than most people do. His rules aren't meant to keep me from having a good time. They're given to protect me from things that can mess up my life, like premarital sex, drugs and alcohol.
The truth is, when I do live for God and obey his rules, I have a good time and know my life is making a difference. For example, I really love to sing, and I'm in a number of choral groups. One gospel group I belong to is called The Soul Children of Chicago. Our choir has been able to sing for some very influential people, including Mrs. Cheney, the Vice President's wife. Along with that, I direct an inspirational choir at my high school. As director of this extracurricular choir, I've been able to choose songs that clearly tell others about faith in Christ. It's been great to be able to use gospel music to get the Christian message into my public school.