Introduction - My Purpose for Living
"What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" - Deuteronomy 10:12-13, NKJV
These verses really express the sole purpose for my life, and, I believe, what every Christian should hold close to them. That is why I am alive: to fear and worship God, to walk in His ways, to love Him and serve Him with all my heart and soul, and to keep His commands. I, as a Christian, am here on this earth to be an ambassador, an emissary, unto a world filled with so many false 'saviors' and so much utter darkness. To do this, I need only to follow Jesus' last command in John 15:12, to love as He loved.
How do I "love as Jesus loved"? Through His strength, I need to have such an overflowing love in my life that others cannot help but notice Christ's absolute love for everything and everyone that I have in my life. It means that we may have to lovingly rebuke friends at times, or stand up in front of strangers for what we know is right in the eyes of Christ, or get to know the local outcasts for who they really are. Oftentimes, this overflowing love may make me not only step out of my comfort zone, but make a flying leap out of it to share Christ's love for all of us. It is certain that if I truly practiced this love for others, and above all for God, I would be able to more easily practice following God's commands. (See John 14:15.)
I am doing my best to follow this in my life. I have been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few months, yet I know that I am still far from where God wants me to be. It is my fervent prayer that I can make up for the years I've lost as a spectator Christian, and to start truly participating in His kingdom.
I, David Alan Hjelle, was born on July 1, 1980, nine weeks earlier than my expected due date in September. My family lived in a house on Lincoln Avenue then, and has since moved to a larger house at 1025 West Linden. I went to preschool at Claire Ann Shover nursery school, and attended kindergarten through eighth grade at the Fergus Falls Public Schools.
I've been heavily involved in Boy Scouts, Knowledge Bowl, Odyssey of the Mind, and band as the opportunities came my way. In Scouting, I earned the Eagle Scout award, which is the highest award attainable. My team was always very successful in junior high Knowledge Bowl, and I was third trumpet in the Middle School band, as well as being involved in the Honors Band during the seventh and eighth grades. The Odyssey of the Mind teams I participated in were also successful, advancing to state competition five separate times. We placed second three of these times, and third once.
Church has also always been a priority in my life. For most of my life, I have attended Lord Jesus Fellowship (LJF) church along with my family. We usually went to Sunday school and church, as well as Bible study on Wednesday evenings. I am really thankful that my parents brought me to church, especially such an alive church, where the Bible was taught as the infallible Word of God and people were not afraid to be excited about the awesomeness of God. God wasn't treated as some far-off impersonal deity, but rather a loving Father who, through His Holy Spirit, was right there with us. Yet, I still knew only about God. (This was not, by the way, anyone's fault but my own.) I didn't know Him nearly as personally as He wanted me to, nor was I truly excited about the great things He's done for me.
Then, during eighth grade, my parents brought up the idea of attending Hillcrest instead of the Fergus Falls High School. A second cousin of mine had attended, and we received glowing reports from some friends of my parents whose daughters attended Hillcrest. After thinking and praying about the matter, I felt that I was supposed to come to Hillcrest, and receive an education that would be not only of higher quality, but be given by teachers who were committed Christians. I am very thankful for that decision.
As I look back on the many things that I've done in my life, I realize that God has put so many circumstances into place to train me up to do His work. Yet, so many of my accomplishments and accolades are those of the world. Jesus said, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:20.) For so many years, I have strived to do my best at everything I did, except church. I've realized in the past few months that if I focus on God fully, He will worry about the things of this world and help me with them.
Two things started this change in me. First, I participated in a missions trip to Hermosillo, Mexico. Seeing the amazing faith of some of the Christians there, as well as so much poverty, really made me think about what was truly important in my life. I started to realize that I wouldn't have been willing to give up much for Jesus, especially the things I had been so successful in. God's really helped me get my priorities back in the right order. Secondly, our church began having praise and worship times at 7:00 on Saturday and Sunday evenings. This started after our pastor's son came back from visiting the revival in Pensacola, Florida. The freedom to worship God however we felt led, the encouragement given by the others, and just being around some teenagers who were totally sold out for God really began to change my life. Now, my one goal is Jesus, and the things of this world are just an afterthought. (See Matthew 6:30 and Matthew 6:20.)
Belief System Explained
Who is God? I think that the most vivid description of God is that of a perfect father. A father who knows what you have done wrong, and still loves you. A father who wants to be your best friend. A father who is always by your side and supporting you. A father who hates your sin, yet can still love the sinner, His creation. A father who is slow to anger and patient. A father who is jealous when anything comes in the way of Him and you. A father who is so big and strong that He can take care of you forever throughout any circumstance. A father who will punish us for what we do wrong, yet completely wipes our slate clean when we ask for forgiveness. A father who loves us so much that He sent His Son (in essence, He sent Himself through His Son) to be squeezed into a human body, be under imperfect parents, be beaten horribly (See Isaiah 52:13-15.), and to die because I sinned. Because I disobeyed my parents. Because I hated my brother. Because I cursed Him. How amazing!
So, then, why did God create humans? I think that the reason springs back to some of the characteristics of God. The first is forgiveness. God created us in order to have someone to forgive! The angels, who were inherently perfect, did not need forgiveness. The demons, who became inherently evil after their fall, would not (and could not) repent, so they could not be forgiven. Humans are the only part of His creation which He is able to forgive; we are the only ones both aware of our sins (unlike animals and plants) and able to repent (unlike the angels and demons). Now that we have been created, we are able to be loved by God as His creation and His children, and we can love Him and He who forgives our multitudes of sins. (That is, by the way, another characteristic of God - loving.) Finally, God created humans to praise Him, as evidenced by the word praise appearing 340 times in the Bible!
How do we know the difference between right and wrong? This question does not require any deep theological answer. We can find the answers to what is right and wrong by one book: the Bible. A study of the Bible will often reveal to you verses that apply to whatever issue you may be facing (as it has so often to me). This is the only sure way to determine what is right and wrong. Prayer is also a valuable tool. Through prayer, God will reveal His answer to you. Often, He will speak to you directly, but He will also speak to you through Bible verses He points out, or sometimes through other people.
What is my role in society? My role in society is to love, worship, and serve God, and be the best witness for Him that I possibly can. I need to love as Jesus loved, I need to share Him with others, I need to worship Him, I need do His will, I need to save those who I come in contact with from Hell. That is my single, yet gigantic, role in society, and I cannot do any of it alone. I need God's strength.
What happens when I die? According to the Bible, I, as a Christian, will go to heaven. Heaven will be the most incredible place, a perfect world where we will be in the entire presence of God forever - how incredible! I cannot imagine it, especially when small portions of His presence are so awesome they are beyond human words. But Heaven won't be for everyone. Only those who truly love God and put Him first in their lives will truly be happy in heaven - and I know that I am going there when I die because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my forgiveness of sins and I love Him with all of my being. But what about those who have not accepted Him? God's Word says that all such people will be sent to Hell, a place of torment by demons and utter separation from God. When I think how blessed I am, to be alive, to have such great health, to have all of my senses, etc., all because of the blessing of God, I cannot imagine Hell. All of these blessings will disappear, because of God's separation, and yet death is no longer possible to get out of the misery. I thank God I am going to heaven.
To conclude, I draw everything I believe from one source: the Bible, the Word of God, His message to us. I need to read as much as I can of His Word so that I can find out more about what I believe, and why. I pray that God will grant me understanding while I do this. I also thank Him for the incredible blessings He has showered down upon us; I am so unworthy. Praise be to God!