The Secret of a Transformed Life I wanted to be happy.

I wanted to be the happiest person in the world. I also wanted meaning in life. I was looking for answers to questions like, “Who am I?” “Why am I here in the world?” “Where do I go?” More than that, I also wanted to be free. I wanted to be the freest person in the world. Freedom for me wasn’t just doing what I wanted to do — anyone can do it. To me, freedom meant having the power to do what you know you should do. Most people know what to do, but don’t have the power to do it. So I started looking for answers. Where can positive change be found? It seemed like almost everyone was involved in some kind of religion, so I did what was obvious and went to church. I must have picked the wrong church, though, because it only made me feel worse. I went to church in the morning, afternoon, and evening, but it was no use. I’m a very practical person, and when something doesn’t work, I let it go. So I gave up on religion. I began to wonder what prestige was the answer. Being a leader, taking on a cause, dedicating myself to it, and being popular should do the trick, I thought. At the university he studied, student leaders had control and took advantage of it. So I applied to represent the freshman class and was elected. It was amazing to be known by everyone, make decisions and spend university money to bring in the speakers I wanted. It was amazing, but it wore out like all the other things I’ve tried. I would wake up Monday morning (usually with a big headache from the night before) and my attitude was, “Well, here comes five more days”. From Monday to Friday I survived. Happiness revolved around three nights a week — Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then the vicious cycle began again. Seeking Life Change, Positive Change I suspect that few people in the universities and colleges of this country were more sincere about trying to find meaning, truth, and purpose in life than I was. During that time I noticed a small group of people — eight students and two faculty members. There was something different in their lives. They seemed to know why they believed what they believed. They also seemed to know where they were going in life. The people I started watching didn’t just talk about love — they got involved. They seemed to be living beyond the circumstances of university life. While everyone else seemed suffocated, I sensed a state of contentment and peace in them that wasn’t moved by circumstances. They seemed to have some kind of inner, constant source of joy. They had a disgusting happiness. They had something I didn’t have. Like most students, when someone had something I didn’t have, I wanted it. So I decided to make friends with these intriguing people. Two weeks after I made that decision, we were all sitting around the table at the student meeting — six students and two faculty members. And the conversation began to revolve around the subject of God. Questioning about life change, positive change They were bothering me, when I finally turned to one of the students, a very pretty girl (I used to think all Christians were ugly), and I leaned back in my chair (I didn’t want others to think who was interested in her) and said, “Tell me, what changed your lives? Why are you so different from the others on campus?” That young woman must have had a lot of conviction. She looked me straight in the eye and said two words I never thought I’d hear as part of a university solution: “Jesus Christ.” I said, “Oh, for God’s sake, don’t give me nonsense. I’m already full of religion. I’m already full of church. I’m already fed up with the Bible. Don’t give me that nonsense about religion.” She replied, “Hey, I didn’t say religion, I said Jesus Christ.” She showed me something I had never thought about before: Christianity is not a religion. Religion is when human beings try, by their own efforts, to reach God through good works; Christianity is God taking the initiative to come to men and women through Jesus Christ to offer them a relationship with Him. There are probably more people in universities with misconceptions about Christianity than anywhere else. Some time ago I met an assistant professor who pointed out in an undergraduate seminar that “anyone who enters a church becomes a Christian.” I replied, “Does walking into a garage turn you into a car?” I was told that a Christian is someone who genuinely believes in Christ. As I took Christianity into account, my new friends challenged me to examine the life of Jesus intellectually. I discovered that Buddha, Mohammed and Confucius never claimed to be God, but Jesus did my friends told me; But these people continually challenged me. Finally, I accepted the challenge. I put my pride aside and accepted to refute them, thinking that there were no facts. I assumed there was no evidence anyone could assess. After many months of study, my mind came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ must be who he claimed to be. This became a big problem for me. My mind told me that all of this was true, but my own will pulled me in the opposite direction. I discovered that becoming a Christian was actually ego-breaking. Jesus Christ directly challenged my self-will to trust Him. Let me paraphrase it: “Look! I have been at the door and I am continually knocking. If anyone hears me call and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20). I didn’t care if Christ really walked on water or turned water into wine, I didn’t want any killjoys around. I couldn’t think of a quicker way to ruin a good time. So here my mind was telling me that Christianity was true and I wanted to run away. More aware that I hate my life Anytime I was around those enthusiastic Christians, conflict would begin. If you’ve ever been around happy people when you feel miserable, you can understand how it can bother you. They were so happy and I was so miserable that I would literally get up and run out of their meetings. It got to the point where I went to bed at ten o’clock at night, and didn’t sleep until four in the morning. I knew I had to get that out of my head before I went crazy! Finally my mind and heart connected on December 19, 1959 at 8:30 pm. During my second year at university, I became a Christian. That night I prayed four things to establish a relationship with Jesus Christ that has since transformed my life. First I said, “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me.” Second: “I confess those things in my life that do not please you and ask you to forgive me and cleanse me.” Third: “Right now, to the best of my ability, I open the door of my life and trust you as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Change me from the inside out. It makes me the kind of person you created me to be.” The last thing I prayed was, “Thank you for coming into my life by faith.” It was not a faith based on ignorance but on historical evidence and the Word of God. I’m sure you’ve heard many religious people talking about their supernatural experiences. Well, after I prayed, nothing happened. Really nothing. And I haven’t grown wings yet. In fact, after I made this decision, I felt worse. I literally felt like I was going to vomit. Oh no, I thought, what have you gotten yourself into now? I really thought I had gone crazy (and I’m sure some people did!). God and life change, positive change But about six months to a year and a half later, I found that I hadn’t gone crazy. My life was changed. I was once in a debate with the head of the history department at Midwestern University, and I said that my life had been transformed. He interrupted me with, “McDowell, are you trying to tell me that God really changed your life in the middle of the 20th century? In what areas?” After 45 minutes he said, “Okay, that’s enough.” Let me tell you a little bit about what I told him and that audience that day. One area that God changed in me was restlessness. I always had to be busy. I walked around campus and my mind was like a whirlpool revolving around conflict. I would sit and try to study, but I couldn’t. A few months after I made my decision for Christ, a kind of peace of mind came over me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the absence of conflict. What I found in this relationship with Jesus was not the absence of conflict, but the ability to deal with it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Another area that started to change was my bad temper. I used to burst if someone just looked at me crookedly. I still have the scars from when I almost killed a boy my freshman year at university. My temper was so much a part of me that I didn’t even try to change it. I got to the critical point of losing control of my temper just to see if I had really lost control! Then I only exploded once in 14 years (and when I exploded this time, I regretted it for about six years!) Positive Change About Hateful Feelings There’s another area I’m not proud of. But I mention why many people also need the same change in their lives, and I found the reason for the transformation: a relationship with Jesus Christ. This area was hate. I had a lot of hate in my life. This area was hate. I had a lot of hate in my life. It wasn’t something manifested on the outside, but it was a kind of creaking inside me. I got irritated with people, with things, with subjects. But I hated one man more than anything in the world: my father. I had a tremendous hatred for him. To me he was the town alcoholic. Everyone knew my father was a drunk. My friends joked about my dad staggering around downtown. They didn’t think it bothered me. I was just like other people — laughing on the outside. But really, I was crying inside. Sometimes I would go to the barn and find my mother so beaten she could barely get up, lying in the dung behind the cows. When I had friends at home, I’d take my dad outside, tie him up in the barn, and park the car near the warehouse. We told our friends that he had to leave. I don’t think anyone could have hated anyone more than I hated my father. I was just like other people — laughing on the outside. But really, I was crying inside. Sometimes I would go to the barn and find my mother so beaten she could barely get up, lying in the dung behind the cows. When I had friends at home, I’d take my dad outside, tie him up in the barn, and park the car near the warehouse. We told our friends that he had to leave. I don’t think anyone could have hated anyone more than I hated my father. After I decided for Christ, He came into my life and His love was so strong that it took away the hate and turned it into love. I was able to look my dad with sincerity in the eye and say, “Dad, I love you.” And I really felt it. After a few things I did, it shook him. When I transferred to a private university I had a serious car accident. With my neck pulled, I was taken home. I will never forget my father walking into my room. He asked me, “Son, how can you love a father like me?” I said, “Father, six months ago I despised you.” So I shared with my father the conclusions I had reached about Christ: “Father, I let Jesus into my life. I cannot fully explain it, but as a result of this relationship I have found the ability to love and accept not only you but also other people for who they are.” Forty-five minutes later one of the biggest emotions of my life happened. Someone in my own family, someone who knew me so well that I couldn’t fool myself, said to me, “Son, if God can do in my life what I’ve seen Him do in yours, then I want to give Him the opportunity.” Right there, my father prayed with me and trusted Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. Usually, the transformation happens after a few days, weeks, months or even a year. My father’s life was transformed right before my eyes. It was as if someone had reached out and flipped the light switch. I had never seen such rapid change before or since. My father touched a whiskey only once after that day. He just took it to his lips but didn’t drink it. I came to one conclusion: a relationship with Jesus Christ transforms lives. Life change, positive change You can laugh at Christianity. You can mock and ridicule. But it works. Transforms lives. If you trust Christ, watch your attitudes and actions because Jesus Christ is in the business of transforming lives. But Christianity is not something you can shove down someone’s throat. All I can do is tell you what I learned. Then the decision is yours. Perhaps the prayer I prayed can help you: “Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Forgive me and cleanse me. Right now I trust you as Savior and Lord. It makes me the kind of person you created me to be. In the name of Christ, Amen.

” Josh McDowell is an internationally known speaker and author, and an itinerary representative for the student and professional Crusade for Christ. He has written over 50 books, including the classics, More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict.

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Rosimeire Vieira

Rosimeire Vieira

I have been a Christian since my adolescence and I seek to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone who believes using the Holy Bible as a basis and faith.