How Are You Answering God’s Call?

God is calling to each of us. How are you answering God’s call?

God is calling to each of us. How are you answering God’s call?

Woman bows her head in prayer over an open Bible

I can’t remember a time in my life when God wasn’t calling me to Himself.

When I was a young girl – even before I was in school – I remember feeling the need to read the Bible every day. I knew it was what I should do, and I tried to look at a big book of Bible stories every now and then.

Frankly, the huge book was boring and didn’t have many pictures to interest me, so I ended up trying to read it every few months. These memories are remarkable to me now, because my family was unchurched at the time.

Once I could read, I asked to go to church with my grandma just so I could sing hymns while the rest of my family slept in on Sunday mornings.

From unchurched to churched

Things began to change once I started school and my mom convinced my dad that we should try the tiny country church his family had attended for decades. I loved going to Sunday school and vacation Bible School, and soaked in all I could about Jesus.

When, in the seafoam green basement of our church, I learned the song,

“Into my heart
Into my heart
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus,
Come in today
Come in to stay
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus,”

I prayed that Lord Jesus would come into my heart. I wanted that more than anything. I was 7.

God is calling to each of us. How are you answering God’s call?

As a 10-year-old my family spent a summer’s day at the Ohio State Fair, where my dad and I met with an evangelist at a small booth. We were ushered into an enclosed area and the man explained that all people are sinners, yet Christ died for us.

We needed to choose to make Him Lord of our lives… and we needed to ask Him to come into our hearts to be forgiven of our sins.

My dad and I both prayed to accept Christ that day – but while praying, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ve already done this! I know you’re in my heart, Jesus. But just in case you’re not, please come into my heart again.

After our trip to the fair, things changed in my family. My dad’s life was completely transformed and church became a much bigger priority.

A question with eternal consequences

Right around my 14th birthday, I once again felt the need to read the Bible every day, so I got a version of the Bible I could understand and made a New Year’s resolution to read it each night before bed.

As I learned more about God’s Word, He revealed to me how much I needed to commit my life to Him. But I worried that my previous prayers hadn’t been enough.

Was I truly saved? If I died, would I spend eternity with Christ?

One morning I took my questions to my Sunday school teacher. I was especially concerned about Matthew 24:5 – “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” I wanted to make sure I would know Jesus when He returned. And that He would know me.

“Hilary,” my teacher said, “You are such a good girl. Of course you’ll go to Heaven. Don’t worry about that.”

That answer did not sit well with me AT ALL.

What did my Sunday school teacher truly know about me? She didn’t know my sins. But I did.

And I may have seemed like a “good girl,” but I knew how rotten my heart was.

I may have been relatively young, but even then I realized that trusting in my own good works would NOT give me assurance of an eternity in heaven.

That afternoon, I stretched out on my bed and pored over the pages of my Bible to try to find an answer to my question. I kept reading, pondering, and praying.

"I may have seemed like a 'good girl,' but I knew how rotten my heart was. I may have been relatively young, but even then I realized that trusting in my own good works would NOT give me assurance of an eternity in heaven." - Hilary Bernstein, HomeToAHaven.com

A profound realization

Shortly after, my family began attending another church. And through a lot of studying and biblical teaching I realized that all people sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Each one of us is imperfect – and we have been since Adam and Eve tasted the apple.

But there’s forgiveness and a way out of that sin in Christ alone. Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

My suspicion had been spot on. I couldn’t depend on my good works to get to Heaven. 

There was and is absolutely nothing I could do to save myself.

If I trusted solely in my attempts and works, my sin would get in the way every time. The brutal yet perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cross was the only thing that could cover my sins and bring forgiveness.

And every time I heard that message of truth, I accepted Christ – yet again.

God is calling to each of us. How are you answering God’s call?

It’s becoming a pattern …

This pattern of eternal insecurity and accepting Christ over and over again continued until I went to college.

After I chose to declare my faith in baptism, I got involved with a Bible-teaching church and Campus Crusade for Christ, then dove into Bible studies and was discipled by godly women. Through all of these avenues, I grew so much closer to the Lord and was reassured that “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

If I had accepted Christ – and I had – and my life was reflecting that – and it was – I didn’t have to worry about my salvation.

While I did need to ask for repentance when I sinned – and repentance still is completely necessaryI didn’t have to fear an eternity apart from God.

God is calling to each of us. How are you answering God’s call?

How are we alike?

I don’t know what your walk with God has been like. I do know He has been calling you to Him – but have you paid attention?

How have you responded?

Just like me, if you have accepted Christ and your life is reflecting it, you don’t have to worry about salvation. (It’s called eternal security.) Just keep walking with Him day by day.

If you haven’t accepted Christ, it’s not too late. If you are fully aware of your imperfections and sins, know that there is one way out: it’s Jesus Christ.

Simply choose that you do want Jesus to come into your heart today – to stay. He will. 

(If you do, could you please e-mail me? I’d love to be praying for you.)

Just like Romans 10:9-10 instructs,

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

As a believer, I’m thankful for Jesus’ assurance in John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Just as He called me to Himself when I was a little girl, God still is calling me closer each day.

Can you hear Him calling you? How are you answering God’s call?

God is calling to each of us. How are you answering God’s call?

Ive shared my story. Whats yours? How are you answering Gods call?

Hilary

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your testimony, Hilary! I, too, was intrigued as a young girl and toyed with it all through 4th through 12th grade. Then in college, in January, 1979 at 1:00 in the morning–my boyfriend (now hubby) asked me if I died that night, did I know where I’d spend eternity. I said, “I guess Heaven, ’cause I’ve gone to church.” He said, “I guess and gone to church aren’t enough to know without a doubt” And then he told me to pray the prayer of salvation. And my response was…”on the phone?!?” And he said, “YES! Before you go to sleep tonight so you’ll have the assurance of your eternity if you want that.” And I did, I was ready to know for sure where I would spend it!

    1. I LOVE your story, Tammy! Thank you so much for sharing it! Now I like Larry even more … what a wonderful boyfriend and future husband!

  2. Thanks for your story, Hilary. I also loved God from an early age and Jesus has been my friend and companion all my life. Sharing your faith as you are doing is a very important and beautiful thing. I admire you greatly for doing so in such a strong, but understated and gentle way. The assurance of heaven cannot be underestimated. It is huge! What a gift we celebrate at Easter! And with the angel, we say ” He is risen! “

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