A personal decision

Ryan White
Ryan White knows he must make his own choices

Eighteen-year-old Ryan might seem young but he knew the decision to trust and follow God was one that only he could make, not something to be pressured into by family or friends.

Growing up in a family of seven, Ryan says his parents were convinced that the Bible is true, and taught him all about God and his Son Jesus Christ.

However, His parents never pressured him into anything, Ryan says, instead they waited for him to ask why the Bible is true.

"When I was 11 years old, I remember coming home from Boys Brigade with a certificate saying that I had given my heart to Jesus and it was signed but I had not dated it yet," he recalls.

He remembers seeing concern on his mum and dad's face when he said that he was not yet ready to allow Jesus to come into his life.

Wanting to better understand why his parents cared so much about this important decision he had to make, Ryan asked them to explain its significance.

"They explained to me that because I was a sinner, like every other human, the reality was I was heading to hell," he recalls.

Ryan felt the weight of these words, knowing that the Bible warns that he could do nothing good enough to make up for any of his sins, no matter how small they may have seemed to him.

"Then they told me the good news that Jesus had come to earth and died on a cross to pay the punishment for all my sin and that all I needed to do was ask Jesus to forgive me and to help me live my life for Him," he says.

Recognising God's love for his soul, Ryan asked God for forgiveness but admits that he did not feel the need to live any differently to how he had before.

"Particularly during high school I started doing more of the things I knew were wrong and was living for myself just trying to fit in and have lots of friends," he says.

"It wasn't until a few years later that I went on a men's camp with my church and the speaker read some Bible verses from Romans that had a big impact and made me really want to change my life and live fully for Christ."

The verse that particularly stood out to him was from Romans chapter 12 verses 1 and 2 which says, "So, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable.

This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

Ryan realised that it was not enough to just believe in Jesus Christ but that, as an act of worship and out of gratefulness to God, he should be seeking to please God always.

"I realised that, although I am not saved by my good works, I still shouldn't take part in the things of the world that go against God and His Word," he says.

"And because I have His Spirit living in me, guiding me, I have the power to overcome anything in me that rebels against God, and live for Him instead."

Praying for God's forgiveness for his wrong thinking, Ryan says he has a greater sense of peace in knowing that God has forgiven him for his wrongs and he can be confident that he will spend eternity with Christ.

"God has changed me by giving me a desire to want to know Him more by reading scripture and praying to Him daily," he says.

"He also helps me trust in Him when I am stressed, tempted to do the wrong thing and He carries me through all the tough times."

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