I know I told you guys I'd show you our playroom/classroom today, but my camera isn't working properly. So I'll hopefully have that for you tomorrow. I have something else I'd like to talk about though. I've been pondering this lately because sometimes I'll hear parents of young children (preschool-aged or so) say that their children have stated that they want to invite Jesus into their hearts. My first thought when I hear parents say this is, That's great that your child has picked up on the proper church lingo and learned to regurgitate it. I'm sure she received plenty of "Aw, isn't that precious" comments. I know...my thoughts can be sarcastic. I honestly do think it's great that the child at least has been taught about God though. And I understand that when most people use this language, they are merely conveying that they are in a relationship with Christ that hopefully involved what is necessary for salvation: repentance and belief. My children would never say something like that, though. First, they know that Jesus is in heaven and He certainly wouldn't fit inside an organ in our chest. Secondly, they already know and love God. They have since they were babies.
This brings up memories of my own childhood, because I was also a baby when I was introduced to God. And it was always annoying when others asked me at what age I was saved, or what my salvation experience was like. It seemed like everyone else had such amazing stories of turning from their old ways and being born again with life-changing evidence. Most Christians seem to remember a concrete date or point in their life. But I have no recollection of when I was saved. I was born into a Christian family with parents, aunts, and grandparents who, by spending time with them, made it pretty much impossible to not come to know God. None of them beat the Bible or Christian traditions into my head. They acknowledged God in various areas of life--not just on Sundays. By noticing and listening to them, I gradually stepped into a realization of who God is.
A couple of people told me that if I can't remember when I was saved, I must not be. Some told me, "Even though you were raised in a Christian family there must have been some point in your life when you became serious in your walk with God." But, no. That's just not true. I have always been serious about my walk with God. I haven't always been a perfect Christian, and never will be. But every day I learn and grow and my faith in Him is made stronger.
Someone insisted once, "But you have to remember when you became a Christian. The Bible says that your life is changed because of it." I do agree that the course of my life changed when I first believed in God. Had that not happened I would be heading down a totally different path right now. However, I don't remember when I first met my mom, dad, or brother. But my life most certainly changed when I met each of them.
Someone else told me, "The Bible says that you must confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord," inferring that I should have said the sinner's prayer at some point in my life in order to be saved. I believe they were referring to Romans 10:9: "Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." But people often forget about the next verse: "For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation." You see, just as good works and baptism are not a means of salvation, but the evidence of salvation, so is verbal confession of faith. Confession confirms our salvation. How else can we confess Christ as Lord if we don't already believe He is? And remember: confessing Christ as Lord back in New Testament times didn't mean reciting a sinner's prayer. It meant being unashamed, completely on board, and willing to give all of their being for the purpose of publicly identifying with Christ. It meant facing the possibility of losing their job, property, friends, status, and even their life. Confession of faith in Jesus Christ is not a one-time magical formula. We don't just profess Christ once and Bam!--we're eternally secure. Faith and verbal confession is necessary for one's entire life. I am not saying that it is wrong to say a sinner's prayer. It's definitely a great thing to tell God that you want to start following Him, or following Him more closely. But faith doesn't start or stop with a prayer. What does confessing Christ look like today? Of course, Christians who remain committed to Christ despite living in an area that is hostile towards Christianity are the epitome of what it means to confess Christ. But I also believe that those who display scripture in their homes, share Christian articles on Facebook, have discussions about God in public, send their children to Christian schools, and make a deliberate effort to reflect Christ in various aspects of their lives are also "confessing with their lips that Jesus is Lord."
Do I remember when I was born, physically? Of course not. But it doesn't mean I wasn't. The blood running through my veins is proof that I am alive. And the proof that I am alive spiritually is that I have a passion for the things of God, that I enjoy holiness, that I believe His Word is true, and that I have a desire to see others experience His kingdom. How can someone tell me that my Father, my best friend, whom I love with all my heart, is not my Lord, because I don't remember a concrete salvation experience? How insensitive and haughty. I have found that many times those types of Christians are also the ones who believe that all Christians should experience God in the same way that they do. And that's just not possible. We are the body of Christ. Each member of the body has a different relationship with God, different perspectives on His Word, different burdens, different experiences, and for a good reason. The body would not function if we were all the same. But that is another theme for another time...