Jim Joyce - Leechburg, Pa

jim joyceBecoming a Christian dramatically changed my heart, my life, and my eternal destiny.

As a boy, I was taught from the Bible that I was a sinner and that God will punish every sin even though He loves every sinner. I learned I could be forgiven because "Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).

Although I saw the reality of eternal life in my family and others, I put less and less importance on "getting saved.” The Bible says "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:14). I was choosing my own way. I thought real living was having fun and going after a thrill. I loved Rock and Roll music because it has so much energy. I became a regular user of drugs and alcohol. However, I couldn’t get my fill of them. They only increased my desire for more.

In our home, God and spiritual things were most important. However, my life style was very different. One night, when I was 16, I decided to leave home and live on the street. However, just as I decided to leave, it occurred to me, “If I leave, I will leave behind the gospel. This will be my final decision to reject God’s mercy.” I knew someday I would be punished for my sins. It was as real as if I was opening a door and walking into hell. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to be lost. I wanted to be saved.

I wondered would God save me now? Did He care about me any more? I didn’t think so. I hadn’t cared about Him for a long time. But if there was any chance of salvation, I was going after it.

The following day I was with some friends in the school court yard. As usual marijuana was being passed around. When it was handed to me I looked at it and my stomach turned. “This is what is taking me to hell,” I thought. I pretended to take a hit and walked away. I was done with it all.

I had learned many scripture verses about salvation but couldn’t think of what to read. Even John 3:16 seemed cold and dark with no meaning. I began reading through the New Testament, hoping God would reveal something to me. I attended a gospel meeting where a man preached on Romans 5:6: "For when we were yet without strength in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” This verse began to run through my mind continually. The next day I was alone at home thinking about salvation. Again the verse came to me. I knew I was without strength. I had tried everything to be saved. Suddenly I realized, God clearly says in His Word that Christ had died for my sins. There was nothing more I could do. God wanted me to rest on this fact and nothing more. It was true! Christ had already suffered for me. I wouldn’t have to suffer. Right then, I was saved. Are you?