The following post is an excerpt from a talk I recently gave to our local Christian Women’s Connection. The response was so positive, I decided to post it to my blog. Enjoy :)
Half a world away but not too many years ago, I made my entrance into the world. The daughter of missionaries, my Dad tells the story of how they made him the courier for the life saving blood that was delivered from one hospital to mine where I was struggling to stay alive. Three blood transfusions later, I was finally in the safety zone and allowed to come home. That blood, that was so carefully placed on the passenger seat of his car and driven across the busy city of Johannesburg, South Africa, saved my life.
By the time I was 6, I remember feeling pretty smug about my eternal future. You see, with my father as the pastor of our church, and my mother as my Sunday School teacher, I felt like I had been handed heaven on a platter. Unfortunately, all I had was knowledge of God without a personal relationship with Him.
Now in the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a whole lot a little 6-year-old girl growing up in a preacher’s home can do that could be labeled as “bad”. I know I fought with my brothers, I’m sure I goaded my older sister, I do remember washing my baby brother’s hair with baby oil, but are any of those things seriously worthy of an eternal punishment?
Well, I didn’t write the Rule Book, God did, and according to the Bible, “all our righteousness are as filthy rags” in His sight. That concept, that ON MY OWN I couldn’t be good enough for God didn’t hit home until I went through a phase where I would wake up in the morning and promise myself that I wouldn’t do anything wrong the whole day. As we all know, that just isn’t possible and it began to bother me.
What made it worse was the next week, sitting in Sunday School, with my white bobby socks and black “shiny shoes” as I called them, my Sunday School teacher Mom was teaching and all I remember is one thing she said – that going to church every Sunday wasn’t enough to get you to heaven. I remember sitting up straighter and thinking, “Well, my Mom is the teacher, so it’s different.” As if she had read my mind, she went on to say that nobody could get to heaven just because their Mom was their teacher or their Dad was the preacher. I couldn’t believe it! That meant I wasn’t going to heaven? She went on to explain to that group of first grade children, that Jesus had died on the cross for all our wrong doings and that His blood could wash away all of our sins. All we had to do was ask Him.
That was it? God’s Son, Jesus, whose birth we celebrated at Christmas, had grown up and died on a cross as payment for my sins? And there was the beautiful simplicity of it all. It wasn’t what we could do, nor where we came from, nor who we were, but the fact that each person had an individual responsibility to accept Jesus’ gift for themselves.
Some time passed before I finally invited Jesus into my life. Eventually, though, I remember talking to my Mom and asking her to pray with me. I don’t remember what words I said, but I remember praying and asking Jesus to take away my sins (no matter how insignificant they might have seemed to the world around me) and come into my life. That image, of sitting alongside my Mother on the edge of her bed, praying to accept Jesus, is forever imprinted in my mind.
I remember feeling such relief afterwards, knowing that I no longer had to wonder about heaven, knowing that heaven was something I could count on, knowing that the God who made the world sent His Son Jesus to pay for the sins of the world, and that included a little girl living in Johannesburg, South Africa. At birth, my Dad had brought me the blood that saved my life. At 6 ½ years old, the knowledge that “the blood of Jesus Christ…cleanses away sin” saved my soul.
Maybe you have never asked God to be in charge of your life. Maybe you want that peace and contentment of knowing you have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. But what does that really mean? We can’t see Him, and this claim some have that Christ is a part of their life may sound strange. So what exactly is a relationship with Jesus?
Well, for one, it’s the knowledge that I am never alone. In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus promises us in Hebrews 13:5 that He will neither leave us nor forsake us. I left South Africa at 18 and flew halfway around the world to the US to come to college, and sleeping all alone in a hotel in Belgium I was lonely, but never alone. Having my husband travel to remote places where I can’t contact him, I’ve gotten lonely, but I’m never alone. Spending hours cocooned with a migraine I’ve gotten lonely, but I’ve never been alone.
Secondly, a personal relationship with Christ is the comfort that God knows each and everything I am going through. There’s a little children’s song that says “if you read your Bible and pray every day you will grow, grow, grow.” (My own daughter used to sing the 2nd part of the song that says “neglect your Bible, forget to pray and you will shrink, shrink, shrink – only she substituted “shrimp” for shrink!) Anyway, how can I know God is intimately involved in my day to day life? Because when I read my Bible daily, the verses I read for that day turn out to be the verses I need for that day!
Thirdly, it’s the knowledge that I can talk to Him anytime, anywhere. For two years we went through a very stressful time with the health of my eldest daughter. I would get off the phone with a doctor and feel my neck tightening, my nerves jangling, and I would just want to fall apart, but all I’d have to do was tell Jesus. I tell Him what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, and I sense His calming presence. Sometimes I’ll open the Bible and start reading and as the words wash over me, I’ll feel the tension ease from my shoulders and my body will visibly relax.
Wouldn’t you like to have a personal relationship with Jesus for yourself? It’s the simplest, most straightforward life-altering self-improvement program that you could ever wish for. It’s free, and you are the sole beneficiary. All it requires is an admission to God that there is wrong in your life, that you believe that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and shed His blood for all the wrong we have committed, and that He will take away that wrong if you ask Him to.
Your prayer could go something like this:
“Dear God, I thank you for who You are and for what You have done. I thank You that You shed your blood on the cross all those years ago for all the wrongs that I have done. I confess these to You and ask You to remove them from my record. Please come into my life and be my personal Savior. In Your name, Amen.”
Now, that’s a prayer that can be worded a million ways with the same outcome. But if you have prayed that prayer, you now have a relationship with God for eternity…welcome to His family!!! In order for that relationship to grow, spending time in daily Bible reading and prayer will draw you closer to Him every day. Also, finding a good Bible-preaching church where you can be encouraged by others is invaluable. If today, you have prayed and asked Christ to be a part of your life, I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading my own personal testimony. I hope that what you have read will stay with you. Remember, I was saved once as a baby by the blood my father brought to the hospital. But when I was six, I was saved for eternity by the blood my heavenly Father provided on the cross. And this same gift of eternity with Christ can be yours!