Forty years ago today I chose to trust Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life has never been the same. My plans, my dreams, my path in life . . . all of it has been altered since I made that decision.
I’d been going to church for just a few months. I hadn’t learned a whole lot because I spent most of the time on the back row laughing at the preacher and mocking everyone else. But, what I had figured out on January 16, 1977 was that I was a sinner and the result of being a sinner was that I was already on “death row” (John 3:18 – “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”)
Being on “death row” motivates a person! I telephoned the pastor on Friday the 14th and asked him to help me become a Christ-follower. Rev. Gene Hitchcock wanted to do it that day, but I said I would wait until Sunday.
Sunday, January 16, 1977: At the end of sermon the “invitation” began (yes, it was a Baptist church!), and I walked down the main aisle so that Pastor Hitchcock could help me.
I’ve never been the same. Here is just a sampling of what I’ve learned from personal experience in these 14,610 days of being a Christ-follower:
- Christ really does transform us (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I’ve experienced it.
- I’m not perfect and I never will be (1 John 1:8-10), so ongoing confession and repentance is a must.
- Being a Christian doesn’t exempt me from trouble (John 16:33).
- God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).
- The Lord is serious when He says to follow Him we must “deny self.” (Matthew 16:24).
- Jesus keeps His promise to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b).
Being a Christ-follower has meant a vocational change, being far away from extended family, and having the never-ending burden of shepherding other dear people in the church’s that I have served.
I wouldn’t change anything. Thank you, Jesus, for walking every step with me on this incredible journey.