Testimony is “Christianese” for how a person came to place their faith in Jesus Christ. Here is my story.
My dad tells me that when I was three, I prayed the “sinner’s prayer” in Sunday School and was very excited about it. I don’t remember that at all.
Raised in Christian home, I knew about Jesus ever since I could remember. I knew I was supposed to give my heart to Him. Then He would live in my heart, and I would obey Him. I would be His child, I would go to heaven when I died, and Jesus would be my Friend and He would help me live for Him. But I was putting it off.
Because of Communion. See, Dad and I had a conversation about the Lord’s Supper. Only born-again believers could take Communion. As a child who hadn’t asked Jesus into her heart, I didn’t take Communion. And I had this crazy idea that if I became a Christian too soon after that conversation with Dad, he and Mom would think I got saved just because I wanted to take Communion.
Yeah, six years old and already worried about “what other people think.” Seems remarkably silly now that I’m older.
Anyway, one day during nap time I was reading my Bible. I had an NIrV kid’s devotional Bible, and one of my favorite devotionals was in the book of Ecclesiastes. This day as I skimmed the Scripture on the opposite page, I ran across chapter 12, verse 1.
“Remember the One who created you,
Remember him while you are still young.”
That spoke to me and said, “Now, Darcy. Give your heart to Jesus now. Don’t wait.”
So I didn’t wait. I asked Jesus into my heart, and I was so joyful, so glad, so full of lightness and excitement. Of course, the first thing I did was tell Mom. She rejoiced with me, and she wrote in the front of my Bible: “Darcy prayed to Jesus asking for Him to forgive her sins & come live in her heart. She believes the Bible & believes that Jesus died on the cross & rose on the 3rd day to save her from her sins.”
And I remember thinking, “Well, yes, I believe the Bible. I believe that.” But I didn’t understand what Jesus’ death had to do with me asking Him into my heart. But I did know that I had turned my life over to Jesus. I belonged to Him now, and I would live for Him because I was a Christian. I was God’s child.
I was baptized a couple years later, after having “pre-baptism counseling” (I don’t know what to call it) with our pastor. That was a glorious feeling, too. But I still didn’t understand the depth of my sinfulness and the awesomeness of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.
Then when I was ten, I scared myself to death thinking I’d committed the unpardonable sin (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit). Satan tormented me with that fear for a few years before I got it resolved in my mind. Although I still sometimes feel uncomfortable reading those passages in the Bible. I hate to think that anyone could burn their bridges with God, and later want to come back, and be unable to return.
The Bible says that no one can come to Jesus unless the Holy Spirit draws them. And I want with all my heart to be close to Jesus. So surely the Holy Spirit is drawing me, and He wouldn’t draw me if I couldn’t come.
So the summer I was fourteen, my family took a ten-week class on evangelism called “The Way of the Master.” Wonderful, practical instruction; I highly recommend it. The instructors talked about how sometimes we witness to people and urge them to come to Jesus so their problems will be better and we don’t talk a bit about the sin Jesus died to save us from. Early in the class, the instructors told us to search our hearts and see why we came to Jesus.
I agonized over searching my heart. By this time, of course, I understood more about Jesus’ atonement. How his death paid for my sin so that God could forgive me. How I needed Jesus’ blood to wash away my sins. But I was desperately afraid I hadn’t gotten saved properly the first time. I got on my face and begged God to save me if I wasn’t saved.
Around the same time, I read a book called Enoch Roden’s Training. Excellent book; I’ll read it again some day. But one of the characters mentioned, almost in passing, that if a Christian had never learned to call God “Father,” perhaps they weren’t a Christian at all. (That’s how I read it, anyway.)
Which, of course, gave me more fear. I’d never taken to calling God “Father.” It never really occurred to me to do it regularly. I knew He was my Father, but I always called Him Lord. So, feeling rather desperate, I learned to call God Father. Now I call Him Father out of love, not fear. He is a good, merciful, perfect Father.
It was also somewhere during this time that I read a biography of John Wesley. He had been a preacher for several years when he realized he wasn’t really a Christian. Talk about something to scare a person. A preacher! And he realizes he isn’t saved! He realized he didn’t have the trust in God that the Moravian Christians had. John Wesley realized he was afraid to die.
So that night I lay in bed and pretended I was going to die. Death was coming, and I couldn’t stop it. I have a good imagination, and when I thought of dying I worked myself into a horrible fear. So bad I got out of bed and went to talk to Mom about it.
Thank the Lord for a calm, wise mother who assured me that just because I feared death didn’t mean I wasn’t saved. (You will perhaps be as glad as I am to know that when I think of dying now, I don’t feel fear.)
Three things–an evangelism class, a novel, and a biography–crushed me with fear that God hadn’t really saved me when I was six years old. I did a lot of wrestling that summer. I worked out my salvation with plenty of fear and trembling (see Philippians 2:12).
And this is where my wrestlings arrived:
I believe Jesus looked at the heart of the six-year-old girl who sincerely desired to follow Him. He knew I had no knowledge of His atonement, and only limited knowledge of what it meant to turn my life over to Him.
But He took me anyway. He knew the knowledge would come. And He has given me wonderful parents and a wealth of pastors, teachers, and books to increase my knowledge. He has been faithfully with me. Always.
So, yes, I believe I was saved at the age of six. (And if not, I surely was saved sometime in my fifteenth summer.)
Because it is Jesus’ blood alone that saves. It’s nothing I can do anyway. I have staked my life on the Truth of God’s Word.
And that’s how I’m going to live as long as God gives me breath.