I grew up in a Christian home. My parents were, and still are, amazingly solid followers of Jesus. I look to them and, when I grow up, want to
- Have a marriage like theirs
- Follow Jesus like they do
- Lead like they do
- Find wisdom like they’ve found
They did a great job pointing me to Jesus and, at the ripe age of 6, I began following Him. I didn’t understand it all. But I understood enough to know that, without Jesus, I didn’t have a relationship with God. And I desperately wanted a relationship with Him!
So my journey began.
As I got into high school, I started hearing “those testimonies.” You know which ones I’m talking about. The radical conversions. The “I was a drug addict when I walked in tonight, and now I follow Jesus and I don’t even want for those drugs anymore.” The “I slept with every guy I looked at for 5 years…and now I love Jesus.”
Part of me, the sinful part of me for sure, wished I had a testimony like that. I mean, come on…I began following Jesus when I was 6. What kind of serious trouble can I get in by then? If I’d waited a few years, say, at least 10, maybe I could’ve added a bit of flair to my testimony. I wish I had a cool story. For a few reasons:
1. I bet they had a crazy amount of fun. Sure, it was empty. Sure, it didn’t ultimately satisfy. But dang, they had a good time doing it! (I know…don’t judge me. You’ve had those thoughts too). I know Christians can, and should, have fun, but…
2. They can look back on their life and assuredly say, “I’m different now that I follow Jesus.” From drugs to hugs. From passionate love with the opposite sex…to passionately following Jesus. From fights with classmates to fights with the devil. From…ok, I’ll stop. You get the picture.
That second reason really hung over me. And if I can be honest, some days it still tries to hook me in. “You’re not really different” I hear whispered. “What has Jesus really done in your life?” is shot my way. “Are you sure you’re following Jesus?” enters my doubt.
If I only had a sexy testimony!
The homely testimony
But wait. My testimony is sexy. It is radical. It is powerful.
Once I was lost, and now I’m found. Once I was an enemy, and now I’m a son. Once I was bent against God, and now He’s my friend. Once I was pointing towards an eternity apart from Jesus, and now eternity with Him has begun.
The radical part of anyone’s salvation isn’t the “sin” part. It’s not in highlighting the depth of depravity that the human soul can dive. It’s in highlighting the love of a beautiful King who’s kind enough to save a sinner like me. It’s in pointing people to a God who rescues the powerless. Pointing people to a God who is gracious enough to save someone who, at the age of 6, doesn’t even fully grasp the depth of His love. Someone who, at the age of 6, has no idea what life holds and how grace will be such a powerful part of it.
A word to the doubters
I share this because I know I’m not the only one who has doubts. I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a radical conversion story. I’m not the only one who has sinned more after I began following Jesus than before.
And I’m not the only one who needs a reminder that salvation is about highlighting the love of a good King whose willing and able to rescue.
*image credit: creation swap user Rob Gros