Many of us are on some type of spiritual journey where we are seeking God in some way. Could I share my journey with you? I was raised in what might be called a religious Christian home. I use the word religious in the way it is typically to used – my family regularly attended church and was dedicated to their beliefs. Yet instead of this environment making it easier for me to find God, it actually made it more difficult for me.
If someone is on a journey seeking God this means that they are admitting, at least to a degree, that they need God. Right? Despite the fact that I knew all about God, I failed to see my personal need for him. Growing up, I was a compliant and sensitive child that wanted to please my parents and others in authority. I was always the well-behaved child in the classroom. The home I was raised in was also like a shelter around me that did not give me opportunity to be exposed to or get involved in “bad” things. I really was a good kid. Yet, that doesn’t mean I was perfect. No one is.
Sometimes at church a person would share their “testimony” (story of how God has changed their life) and at times these testimonies were sensational. The person had found God from a very bad background – drug addiction, crime, jail time – and their new faith in Jesus Christ had transformed them. Well, I certainly didn’t have a background like that and was a good kid. You likely know the song Amazing Grace.
I think my thought process was:
“amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like…that person giving the testimony!”
Not me! I wasn’t like that!!
The Bible says that every person in the world is sinful. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I knew that verse, and knew that I was part of the “all” that were sinful. Yet, there is a difference between understanding yourself to be guilty of sins, and knowing yourself to be guilty of sin. I generically or generally could admit I committed sins, but I did not see myself as a sinner. I didn’t see myself as a wretch. After all, I was an overall good kid!
My goodness and my Christian environment made it difficult for me to see the truth about myself. Even good people need God. Salvation isn’t only for the “really bad” people. Actually…compared to God, we are all really bad people! God is perfect and we all fall short of God’s perfection. We are all wretches and we all need God.
This finally became clear to me when a special speaker came to my church. He spoke about sin in a way that I’d never quite heard it before, and suddenly I realized what a terrible wretch I was!
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch…like ME!“
The burden of my sin was terrible and I could hardly bear it. It was crushing me. I went home from church that night and prayed a personal prayer in the privacy of my bedroom to accept Jesus Christ as my savior from sin.
Jesus Christ was God in human form, and came to earth to pay the penalty for our sin. We were the sinners who deserved punishment. Yet the perfect and sinless God, through Jesus, took our punishment for us by dying on the cross. I cried out to God that night and admitted what a terrible wretch I was, and placed my faith or trust in what God did for me through Jesus Christ. By the way, Jesus did not stay dead but came back to life 3 days later proving he was God and that the penalty for sin had been paid for us.
After I prayed that night, the crushing burden I’d felt was gone. My prayer of faith brought tremendous peace and comfort. I had begun a new life, walking in the truth and realization of what God did for me in Jesus. It is not about me, it is about Jesus!
My faith is in him alone, and not in myself. If you think about it, it is absolutely amazing that the God of the universe became a human and was willing to die for us.
When we see ourselves as good, we are devaluing or diminishing this amazing thing God did for us!
Maybe, like me, you have gone through life thinking of yourself as good. Yes, you realize you are not perfect but you certainly aren’t a wretch. Maybe, like me, you’ve thought “only those really bad people need God.” But we are all wretches who need salvation. I hope you will reach a point in life where you realize this and place your faith in Christ alone.
Then you can sing with gusto: amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch…like me!