“My dad was a manager of a company that required frequent transfers to different cities. My mom and dad were both raised in church, but we did not go to church as a family unless we were visiting my grandmother. When I was nine years old we moved to a small country community, and rented a house next door to a mainstream denominational church. I began to attend on Sundays by myself.
Even though I was not raised in a church, I believed in God (as I chose to make Him). In this church I began to attend I learned that being a good person and good works would get you into heaven. I never heard the plan of salvation or anything about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In 1972 our pastor took our youth group, approximately eight in number, to a youth rally where I saw many other high school kids from other denominations. When the invitation for salvation was given at the end of the rally I went down. Then I was taken in a back room and was prayed with. I prayed but I honestly was very confused and could not accept salvation as a free gift because I thought I had to work for what ever I received. I continued at the same church near my house and was president of the youth group, sang in the youth choir, and was very active in attendance. There were no changes in my life.
When I was sixteen, one of my best friends was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) which required her leg to be amputated. A year and a half later she died. I went from a person who believed being a good person and good works would get you to heaven (my interpretation of a Christian) to someone who wanted absolutely nothing to do with God. In my anger I turned further and further from the church I attended.
After high school I attended nursing school. I remember as I studied anatomy and physiology I thought “How could anyone not believe in a God when the human body is so complex”? In my anger I still did not seek Him though. I married a man who did not believe in God and at that time in my life his lack of belief appealed to me. After eight years my marriage failed leaving me a single mom with a son. I later began dating a man who was also a single parent. He told me how God had changed his life on our first date and shared his testimony or “story” with me. There was such an assurance of peace in him that I did not have. I began to go to a different church with him.
The pastor would give the message each Sunday and go from scripture to scripture from the Bible. Even though I grew up as a teen in church I did not know or read God’s word. I began to see the plan of salvation unfold right before my eyes in black, white, and red. One Sunday morning when the invitation was given at the end of the service I prayed for God to forgive me of my sins and for Jesus Christ His Son who died for my sin to come into my heart and reign as my savior. I wept for hours afterwards.
What peace to realize I could never be good enough and did not have to be (Romans 3:23). That is why Jesus died to take away my sins and restore me to a relationship with my heavenly Father. I also had peace about my friend who died at sixteen because she knew the Lord and now I know she is with Jesus. I went from thinking I was a creation of God to knowing I am a child of God. As His child I now know I am not saved by service but for His service (Ephesians 2:8-10).
I am so grateful the truth was revealed to me from the Bible. Jesus Christ paid the price in full for my salvation and it is He who has given me citizenship in heaven. Now I know my works are to glorify Him (Philippians 2:13 and 1:6). I know I am saved by the grace of God and nothing can take me out of His fold. I am sealed by the Holy Spirit and God’s word excites me. Now when I serve it is out of gratitude not accomplishment.”
This woman was not even taught the way to be saved. She went to church and was taught exactly what the Bible says is not the way! The critical importance of reading and studying the Bible, A Balanced Diet, was not explained to her. Notice that the word of God began to change her heart and bring understanding just like it did for me.
She went through the motions of salvation and still did not receive Christ because her heart was not right. It’s All About The Heart. There is no magic formula, scripted words, or anything that can save you except Jesus Christ by grace through faith. Every self proclaimed Christian needs a Risk Management assessment on their relationship with God.
This is just one of countless tragic stories illustrating the state of Christianity today. When the complete work of God is traded for the works of men we are in trouble. When do, do, do is traded for Done then man can’t “do” much more to destroy Himself.