In the Bible it's written that our lives are like mist which is seen for a short time, and then is gone. Maybe when you think about how short your life on earth will be, you feel a longing that your life should have some kind of meaning. You would like to experience that God is a living God, and you want to believe in Him. Maybe this deep desire is difficult to put into words, but it may be the first step on the road to a completely new life.
A new direction
So the first step is to want to live a new life, and to tell God about it. The next step is to do something! Someone who wants to start a new life turns away from something and towards something else. That is what it means to be converted.
Up to now you have gone in one direction, away from God. Maybe you know about something that isn't right in your life. You may have said or done things that are wrong, causing others to lose their trust in you. Maybe you have been unfair or dishonest. When you decide to give your heart to Jesus, to ”get converted”, you have to go in the exact opposite direction of what you did before. You must clean up and put things right where your life has not been in order.
Does it feel difficult to have to turn around 180 degrees? You do not have to do it alone. Jesus wants to help you! He has given us a promise: “Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (BBE). In other words, Jesus is saying: "Repent, turn away from your sins, and come to Me, all you who are longing to be happy through and through!"
God creates a longing in you to turn away from your sins
The longing you feel to change the direction of your life has been placed in you by God. In the Bible the question is asked, “Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to turn you away from your sins?" Romans 2:4 (NIRV). The apostle Peter once spoke to the Jews. He made it clear for them that they had sinned when they crucified Jesus. When they heard this, "their hearts were filled with shame." Acts 2:37 (NIRV).
That's how it can feel when you know you've done something wrong and your conscience reminds you of this, and it can feel like a heavy burden. You feel sorry, and maybe you feel grief. It is God's goodness that you become sorrowful! You can actually be glad when you experience this sorrow. It gives you a longing to turn away from your sins and it proves that God has started working in you! Now you can get rid of these heavy burdens and get rest, but in order to do this, you first have to admit your sin.
A new person with new thoughts
"Yes, but what is sin?" you may ask. To sin is to do something you know is wrong, to act against what you know is right and the good laws that God has given to us and that we find in the Bible. Jesus says very clearly that the commandments that God gave to Moses still apply, but He adds: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another." John 13:34.
We understand much better what this commandment means when we read more of what Jesus says: "You have heard that it was said to our people long ago, 'You must not murder anyone. Anyone who murders another will be judged. But I tell you, if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged. If you say bad things to a brother or sister, you will be judged by the council. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:21-22 (NCV). Here Jesus is talking about the deepest thoughts and intentions inside people’s hearts and minds.
When you are converted, it means you are willing to listen to all that Jesus wants to tell you about your life. You must totally leave behind the way you have thought about things up to now. It's not worth holding on to! You have to start anew with everything you say and do.
To be converted is a radical decision, because in the words of the Bible, it is that you "become a new person created to be like God, truly righteous and holy." Ephesians 4:24 (GW). The new person doesn’t think about what is good for himself, but what is best for those around him.
Jesus will lead you and care for you
In the Bible, Jesus has many names. "The Good Shepherd" is one of them. A shepherd makes sure that there is good food for his sheep. He looks after his sheep and protects them from danger. When you are converted and choose to let Jesus be your Shepherd, you will experience that He has a true care for you. He knows what kind of food and help you need in order to come to the place where He wants to lead you.