Aug 1, 2009

just as I am

A powerful quote of struggle, considering the source.
As a teenager, what I needed to know for certain was that I was right with God.

I could not help but admit to myself that I was purposeless and empty-hearted. Our family Bible reading, praying, psalm-singing, and church-going - all these had left me restless and resentful. I had even tried, guiltily, to think up ways of getting out of all those activities as much as I could.

In a word, I was spiritually dead.

And then it happened, sometime around my sixteenth birthday... I responded. I walked down to the front (of a preaching service), feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform. That same night, perhaps three or four hundred other people were there at the front making spiritual commitments. The next night my cousin Crook Stafford made his decision for Christ.

My heart sank when I looked over at the lady standing next to me with tears running down her cheeks. I was not crying. I did not feel any special emotion of any kind then. Maybe, I thought, I was not supposed to be there. Maybe my good intentions to be a real Christian wouldn't last. Wondering if I was just making a fool of myself, I almost turned around and went back to my seat...

Now came the moment to commit myself to Christ. Intellectually, I accepted Christ to the extend that I acknowledged what I knew about Him to be true. That was mental assent. Emotionally, I felt that I wanted to love Him in return for loving me. But the final issue was whether I would turn myself over to His rule in my life.

I checked ‘Recommitment’ on the card I filled out. After all, I had been brought up to regard my confirmation as professions of faith, too. The difference was that this time I was doing it on purpose, doing it with intention. For all my previous religious upbringing and church activity, I believe that that was the moment I made my real commitment to Christ.

No bells went off inside me. No signs flashed across the tabernacle ceiling. No physical palpitations made me tremble. I wondered again if I was a hypocrite, not to be weeping or something. I simply felt at peace. Quiet, not delirious.
Happy and peaceful.

-- Billy Graham, from his autobiography "Just As I Am"

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