I have had a battle I have been dealing with for quite some time. I became a Christian 9 months ago I beleive and have had much confusion on when someone actually becomes a Christian and when i did. This seems to bring up doubts and negative thoughts when God doesn't seem to be so present whether when He is testing me, strengthening me, disciplining me, or whatever He is doing. I know feelings are unreliable and I know what happened to me and that the Lord is all I have to live for now. I am just going to give my basic view of what I have gathered so far in my little study time I've had in trying to understand what happened to me and how I can use it to learn and remember what God has done and is doing in my life. For those you have placed their faith, trust, and beleive in the Lord Jesus Christ its almost as if you can't really explain what happened to you when you decided to turn to Christ in revelation to your sin from the Holy Spirit. The only way I can explain how I became a Christian was that it was all God and was my decision at the same time, but I do look back and see such biblical series of events I chose to follow that lead me strongly into my new life. I obviously was clueless on what was going on other than I was releasing my life to Jesus who I knew about for a long time. I know now that it was not me that lead me but the Lord. I dont want to make this sound like a fantasy, but it was so natural for me and so divine at the same time. God clearly spoke to my heart and gave me a ton of strength to turn to Him at the lowest point of my life. A little background, I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and asked Christ into my life at age 11 and was Baptized. I clearly remember that I wanted Christ in my life but didnt know much other than I was a sinner and needed a savior. I know theology is not important, but hearing the gospal was which I understood that God sent His Son Jesus and He died for my sins in which I needed a savior so I wouldnt die in sin. Well a long story short I went down hill as I grew up, granted I had no real help in my family to guide me in the right direction. I did have a Christian raised friend shortly after I had a great deal in common with but he was like me in that we were sneaky and clearly didnt turn to God. I was good at hiding my bad side from my parents and I was definetly living in the material world not seeing that God had a purpose or anything of the sort. I ended up after 20 cars, alcohol, sex, drugs, and failing out of college switching my major 3 times. At age 22 I turned to Jesus and basically said I am done forever. Literally thats all I knew other than I wanted to obey Jesus, stop doing many things even though I didnt want to but for Him, and so on. At that point my life changed and everyone around me noticed big time. I was honest with Him, broken, sad, excited, and a hundred different emotions and confusions. I just knew that I had a new direction and it was after His heart. I now worry about all those around me and in the church I attend that they have been deceived by thinking that a prayer or whatever else lead them to Christ. It is obviously Christ alone that saves and that it is something that is different in everyones lives and may take some time for them. It is in no way our work at all but only the Holy Spirit who convicts truly when weve turned to God. The disciples never asked Jesus how He worked or how He did anything other than how to pray. It is not for us to decide how God works because it is obviously out of our hands which means that we dont lead everyone to Him the same way. The more you grow the more you rely in God and the less you question and try to figure out His ways and just do as He asks and out of a true loving heart share the love of God and as Jesus and John both said at first "repent, for the kingdom of the Lord is at hand". The disciples doubted at times and obviously no matter how much God does in our lives, we to doubt things when God seems distant, but the truth is for Christians that all we have is Jesus and He is righteousness is our longing. Now I know that prayer, asking, trusting, beleiving, having faith, and all of the essentials that are given are what happens when Jesus finds a lost person who is ready to give their lives to him. I do disagree with those who try to lead everyone to Christ by saying a prayer and convincing them that they beleive or making them convince themselves or whatever. I struggle with this greatly because I know that Christ deals with people differently and personally to lose their lives into trusting Him. I am not saying that those who pray to receive Christ are or arent saved but It is common sense that everyone doesnt come to the Lord in the same way or by the same repeated method. That puts God's good work aside and taking matters into your own hands in some cases. You can't just hop on someones door step and tell them to say a prayer and mean it to be saved. There is the obvious false teaching that people seem to fall for because that have jumped ahead and tried to do the work of God themselves for whatever reason, immaturity, not a true Christian, etc... I know that it is impossible for us to put together any kind of tactic to lead someone to Jesus and is totally unbiblical. I know we are not perfect and we all try to take control at times and get ahead of God, but I have noticed when I focus on the Lord and relax and enjoy what is given I find myself preaching to everyone in different ways and words that are so clear and easy to understand. But when I try to figure out what to say, how to say it, plan how to talk, or anything of that sort I find myself forcing myself to say stuff or having battles that arent necessary inside that throw me all out of wack. I think that those who know Christ see them and it does bother them highly because in time and growth with Christ they learn from Him to lean and rely upon Him more which makes a lot of false teaching evident and painful. Sometimes we are right in seeing that and sometimes we are wrong. I dont think we can stop it, but fruitfully correct it rather when we have the chance. It is painful to see and hard for those who have reached a higher level of maturity but let God be the one to root up the weeds and we should keep preaching the truth in spirit as we are also learning to do. I do in fact from looking into how Christ worked in my life see that repentance seemed to be beieif, trust, and faith all in one or something. Not that I had it in mind, but I see losing your life, following Jesus, finding the treasure, givng your life or heart to Christ, seeking first the kingdom, loving God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, etc.. meaning repent. It seemed as Jesus preached to repent for a reason. Forgive my bad parable, but here There are 3 men 1 being a very rich man, the other an average, and the last a poor man. The rich man says to them, "I have a 1 million $ check for each of you, but I will not show you." "I am going to place them somewhere in the world, and give you a map to find it." The men knew that the rich man was a very good man of his word, but the average man also had much to do with work, family, and friends and was weary and said ok but just went away forgetting the rich mans promise because in his heart he had no faith, trust, or beleif. The poor man also had much responsibility and no time, but without question He took the map and went out to get the check. I know that was rough, but it gets the point across. If the average man beleived and trusted in the rich man He would have by faith in Him went out to get the check. And the poor man also in the same situation did even hesitate and beleived, trusted, and had faith and went for it. My point is why would someone repent losing their lives in Christ if they didnt beleive, trust, or have faith. losing your life for the unseen is clearly an act of faith. True repentance is strength given by God to turn to Him and seems like an action putting beleif, trust, and faith to life and not just words or convincing yourself. As I said there are times were I struggle with doubts a literally feel blinded to my life and what God has done, but the truth is that I chose to follow Jesus (really He chose me) and not thoughts or feelings seem to be able to penetrate the fact that I have nowhere else to go or desire nothing else other than Christ. So again a doubt is in the mind and seems to be triggered by a feeling for me, which is not reliable or true. I never will perfectly not doubt, worry, fear, or be anxious until heaven. It does seem that these things are foolish and are not of God which we dont have to entertain them. Sorry for jumping back and fourth, but I am just trying to learn something here and see if anyone else battles this or can give some advice.