I was born in 1982 in Inverness, Scotland, and raised by Christian parents. As a child I was always taken to church and Sunday school - something I quite enjoyed. Biblical values were impressed on me from a young age.
On 29th July 1989, I was taken to hear Billy Graham preach. There I heard that Jesus Christ died on the cross for sinners, that I was a sinner, and that I must repent of my sins. Despite my age (I was only 6 years old at the time), this message was simple enough for my young mind to understand. While Iíd always heard the Gospel and canít remember a time when I didnít believe it, something about the message of the cross was different this time. It may well be that I was regenerate before then, but this is my earliest memory of realising that the Gospel message is powerful, solemn and personal.
My late childhood and early teenage years were, on the whole, quite happy. I continued to enjoy church and began to develop regular spiritual habits (prayer and Bible-reading), but as the teenage years progressed, in my heart I became quite backslidden - in particular, between the ages of 13 and 15. My desires became very self-centred. I was very egocentric. My future dreams were of money, success in business, a big house and so on. I thought very little about other people and was highly focused in getting what I wanted.
Looking back, I can fully understand what the Psalmist felt when he pleaded with God, "Remember not my sins of youth, or my rebellious evil ways" (Psalm 25:7).
Around the time of my 16th birthday, I went on a ĎYouth For Christí mission called ĎStreet Invaders.í Prior to the mission we had a week of training. This was spent with other teenage Christians from all over the world. Being with these young believers for a week was, without doubt, a pivotal moment in my life. I saw firsthand their zeal for God - it was all consuming. They were alive for Jesus; their focus was wholly upon Him. I found this incredibly challenging, and it prompted me to put my own heart under scrutiny.
During that week I felt strongly convicted - I had neglected my walk with God, and I also felt liberated - God had brought me to my knees, shown me how far I had fallen, and yet He had not left me there!
I can still remember lying in bed on the Friday night of the training week - I felt immense joy despite realising just how spiritually immature I was, as I knew that God still loved me and would change me. As the Psalmist said, "He took me from a fearful pit, and from the miry clay, and on a rock He set my feet, establishing my way," (Psalm 40:2).
On Sunday the 31st of January 2000, I was baptised and gave my testimony in Smithton-Culloden Free Church.
I have been greatly blessed by the Lord - He sent His own Son to die in my place on the cross, He has promised never to leave or forsake me, He has revealed Himself to me through the Scriptures and through His Holy Spirit, He has been good to me.
I have also been greatly blessed through sitting under the preaching of two excellent expository, Christ-centred ministries (Revs David Meredith and Iver Martin). Through the ministries of these men, Iíve experienced much spiritual growth. For the last four years, Iíve studied law at the University of Aberdeen. Iíve known Godís constant faithfulness during my undergraduate years in Aberdeen and have enjoyed applying my mind to legal studies from a Christian worldview.
I hope that my testimony will challenge you, the reader.
If you are not a Christian, Jesus Himself poses the question, "What do you think of Christ?" (Matthew 16:15). Can you respond as Simon Peter did? Can you say, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God"?
If you are a young Christian as I was, I plead with you to strive for spiritual maturity. Always watch your heart, guard it. Pay attention! Do not backslide as I did. If you have backslidden, however, take heart from the example of Peter, who denied Christ three times (Matthew 26:75) but who later went to preach that great sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2). With God is forgiveness. Humble yourself before Him and He will forgive you.
The greatest thing in the world is knowing the love of Jesus.