I originally wrote this article for the "By Grace" column for the January-March 2010 issue of my magazine, the Tuckleberry Times. I thought, because some of you may not have read it, I would share it here.
In each person's life comes a point of turning from self unto God; from reliance on one's works to reliance on the finished work of Jesus Christ. Sometimes this point comes later on in their years, after many long, hard years trekking down a pathway of sin. For others, it comes early on, at the beginning of the journey of life, giving that person a whole lifetime to travel that new road of salvation.
The latter was the case for me. I was only six years old when I asked Jesus to come into my heart. I don‟t remember much of that night; only, I remember sitting on my bed in the room upstairs in our house in Erie, and my mom talking with me, and I remember praying a simple, heartfelt prayer.
Because I was so young then, changes came alongside the regular growth of most elementary-age children. Early on, God placed in my heart a deep love for His Word (one afternoon I spent entirely in reading the Gospel of Matthew out loud to my toys!) and a passion to proclaim His truth to the lost (one of the most memorable instances of this was when I prayed out loud in front of a Catholic friend for her to be saved! That didn't go over very well...)
As I got older, however, doubts began to fill my mind. I would hear preachers say that you ought to be able to identify the exact day, time, and place you were saved, which made me worry, because the details were, for me, so very fuzzy, and I couldn't even remember what month it was! Then I would hear about people being saved out of terrible lifestyles and experiencing complete, radical change, and I worried because I couldn't remember any radical change in my life. To add to all that, I doubted the sincerity of my faith because at one moment I might be so passionate about someone getting saved and the next moment be mad at my sisters or doing something behind my parents' backs. Whenever I heard a sermon on repentance, I felt sick inside, because I just wasn't sure whether I had ever experienced true salvation or not. Whenever I heard about the return of Christ, I feared—even in my sleep, I would dream about Christ returning and me being terrified because I did not know if I would be left behind.
The climax for me came when I was thirteen years old. A sermon I heard at church helped me to realize that I needed to stop worrying about my salvation and hoping that my prayer had “got me in”; I needed to just rest and trust in Jesus Christ completely. That afternoon I consulted my mom, knelt down by the couch in our basement, and talked to Jesus about it. I confessed that I really didn't know whether I was saved or not, but I wanted to rest in His saving grace and His work on the cross, not on any prayer that I had prayed. And He gave me peace and reassurance, reminding me that His grace is sufficient, and His promises are sure. It was such a burden off my shoulders, to know that my salvation was secure in Christ, and I did not need to doubt any longer!
Since that day, I have seen the Lord working so much in my life. I definitely can say that I am far from perfection, but the Lord is helping me, reminding me of His truth, teaching me about Himself so that I can strive to live like Him through the power of the Holy Spirit. What a great joy it is that we do not need to live a life of fear and despair in trying to reach favor with God. Jesus has taken the penalty for our sin and clothed us in His righteousness so that we may be justified (“declared righteous”) before God and have a living relationship with Him. It is truly by His grace that we are saved! Let us praise Him for it!