Two Epiphanies: How I Became a Believer in Jesus Christ
Description of my life before salvation
Before I knew Christ, I was in fairly common circumstances, as I grew up in a Christian home, and my family always attended our Baptist church, and sometimes we had devotions in our home. Many people recall early God consciousness from their youngest days, but that is not part of any specific recollection of mine. I clearly remember being hateful to a little boy in first grade - that's probably my most vivid memory of early sin. In short, I was in the shared condition of all mankind - a sinner, though not in any way a rebellious child in my family of origin.
Biblical truths I understood and the circumstances of my conversion
I had gone forward as a child (maybe age 6) to make my public profession of faith before my church and was baptized. I remember it being a pretty emotional experience, but that's about all. Life moved along and I continued to attend Sunday School and VBS and learn about the Bible. When I was 18 and just out of high school, I attended a youth-led revival at our church and something the youth minister said led me to question my salvation. I sought help from my mother and my pastor on this matter, and they did their best to help, but I still had doubts. I guess I wanted to feel saved. Also, I just could not see why God would want me - I felt like a bad person, certainly not one worthy of the riches and inheritance of Almighty God.
In no small way, my extreme shyness contributed to my lack of confidence, not only in myself, but in God's being able to keep me. Before long, I turned all my frustration inward and gave up most conversation on the subject. I'm not trying to give you a psychological portrait, I'm just telling you how it was. I didn't know it at the time, but I believe my stumbling block was 1 John 3:20, "For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things." I struggled with my faith, but did not seek counsel during my college years. I am sure I read the scriptures occasionally, and I attended church, but I had little semblance of a prayer life. I was never one to be influenced by what the worldly crowd did, though. There was none of the rebellious partying type behavior that you see so often when kids get away from their parents' home. I simply questioned and doubted, not an uncommon mental state of late adolescence.
Due to the prayers of my mother, and no doubt my grandmother, I finally came to a place of peace with the Lord and to confidence about my spiritual condition. That happened right after graduation from college, when, I believe, God decided to turn the light bulb on. I finally got it. I knew I was saved, and the Lord not only picked an unusual way to make me see that truth, but He did it with exceptionally good timing. From then on, I became much more open with other believers and was able to encourage them and walk alongside them in their spiritual journeys. I not only rejoiced that I was able to tell concerned family members about what God had done for me, but I also experienced immense relief to have the matter forever settled in my mind. Some time later, I was baptized.
I once heard a pastor say, "The first time you meet the Lord, you will remember it. If you can't remember it, you need to go to the foot of the cross!" That is exactly what I did - I went to the foot of the cross, and trusted in Jesus Christ to save me - I just stayed at the foot of the cross a little longer than most do.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life. 1 John 5:13
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