A few weeks ago we shared our stories of salvation in our small group. It was very interesting to hear how each person met Jesus.
My story is not particularly riveting. I grew up in a Christian family that went to church every time the doors were open. I heard the gospel regularly.
- God created me.
- My sin separated me from God.
- No matter how good I might try to be, I couldn’t earn my way into God’s family.
- Jesus came to earth to be my kinsman-redeemer. He died and rose again for my sin.
- If I trusted in Him, in the work He did on the cross on my behalf, He would save me.
- In that moment I would become a new creation, His child, living in His kingdom.
“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”Romans 10:8-11 NIV
I remember on particular Sunday School class, sitting at a rectangular table. I don’t remember the teacher or her words, but I distinctly remember bowing my head and asking Jesus to be my Savior. I was about nine years old.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.Psalm 71:5 NLT
I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
I continued in church regularly. I was very sensitive to the Spirit in our worship services. I attended a holiness church that extended an invitation in just about every service. We were often invited to pray at the altar, to have someone pray with us, or to be anointed with oil for healing. I prayed at that altar many times! I still felt the burden of sin, and wanted to be good so God would love me. The old invitation hymns, “Is Your All on the Altar” and “I Surrender All” often prompted me again and again to pray. At this point I did not have a good understanding of my identity in Christ!
I left home at age 18 to attend a secular college. My parents took me, helped me to get settled, and also took me to the nearest church, introducing me to the pastor, establishing a ride for me, making sure I would have spiritual guidance. I didn’t mind – I fully intended to continue in church.
Campus life was very different from my home life. I had grown up in a very safe bubble. On campus, I was introduced to people who had no idea who God was, who lived a very different lifestyle, and to be honest, I was out of my element for sure.
One day feeling particularly bereft and lonely, I walked across campus to a pond. My thoughts were dark, I was unsettled. I called out to God, asking Him if He was really real, would He reveal Himself to me. And He did. I did not see a vision, nor did I hear an audible voice. BUT I knew the presence of God was there, it was real, obvious, and illuminating. God made Himself known to me.
“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you.Jeremiah 33:2-3 MSG
I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that
you could never figure out on your own.’
The next time I went home from college, I attended Sunday School. Our pastor was meeting with the class I was in. I don’t remember his question that Sunday morning, but I remember my response. I spoke up to say, “I’ve learned that Jesus is my friend.” My relationship with God had changed and I’ve never looked back. My burden of sin was lifted. He has been my friend ever since, my older brother, the one who walks with me through life.
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ.Galatians 2:19-20 MSG
In thinking back to my teen years, I realize that while I attended church, I missed out on the development I needed to affirm my faith. My spiritual development didn’t start until later with marriage. God gave me in marriage to my dear husband, a student of the Word, who challenged my knowledge and understanding of scripture. As I read more deeply and broadly, I learned better who I was in Christ! My husband and I have been walking through and talking about the Word ever since!
O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,Psalm 71:17-18
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.
I share my story in hopes that it will encourage you, the reader. Even as I type this out, I pray for you – that you will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I pray that you will live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way. May God strengthen you with all power, and fill you with overflowing joy. And as you are going day by day, may you share your story of God’s redemption with those you meet!
PS: Here are links to previous #hopewriterlife challenge posts: