I remember clearly how terrified I was when my father described hell to me when I was five years old. I realised that I was a sinner and immediately decided to accept Christ as my Saviour out of fear. I had always regarded God as a fearfully perfect and strict God when I was young. After a little while, however, I realised that God was a loving God whose love is deeper than the ocean (Psalm 30 5-11: “For his anger lasts only a moment, but His favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”).

I soon grew out of that fear after I realised how much God loved me. It was not, however, exactly a good thing because I no longer feared His laws as much. I began to revert to my sinful self in satisfying my human wants. These included protecting my pride, having a tongue that was unbecoming of a godly person, et cetera. Consequently, my appetite for God worsened. Nothing I read in my Quiet Time made an impact on me (Ephesians 4:18: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”). Day after day I became more and more insensitive to sin (James 1:24: “and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”).

Thankfully, God is faithful even if we were not (Romans 3:3-4: “What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: ‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.’”). He will bring us back to him. Like any other father, God disciplined me by taking away things to which I had worldly attachment. Of course, it was an unpleasant period. Hebrews 12:11, however, says that all occasions of being disciplined would not seem pleasant at first. Every day when I sinned against God by repeating the same old sinful habits, I would always fear that God would one day refuse to forgive me. Then, “hell” would break loose again.

But I thank God that 1 John 1:9 says that God is faithful and will always forgive us our sins. In fact, those times of discipline changed me. Then, characteristics which were becoming of a Christian surfaced. Everything in the Bible I once thought was unimportant and useless began to impress upon me (for instance, Luke 6:46: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”). God’s Word began to penetrate my heart like no other words ever since my sinful nature that blinded me was taken away. I started to devote myself to God in my speech and action (there is still much work to be done). Through the Bible, I threw away my pride because God also descended to earth. Through the Bible (the Book of Ecclesiastes), I also began to find everything which I did on earth meaningless because everything will one day crumble. This was also the time that I understood what the Bible meant when it instructed me to devote myself to do God’s will because my work for God will never perish. Since then, the many objectives I set now take on greater meaning. I found it easier to attain them because God is there for me.