Friday, July 22, 2011

Little Girl, Big Decision

"Mom, someday I'm going to ask Jesus into my heart!"

These are the first words I heard today from my five-year-old daughter, Miss J.  "What are you waiting for?", I asked.  She shrugged her little shoulders.  I wondered aloud if she knew what it meant to ask Jesus into her heart, to which she answered "Not really."

Thus began a brief conversation with myself, my husband, and Miss J.  Not one we haven't had before.  We talked about sin, and how we all sin.  How we can't ever be good enough to be with God, because God is perfect.  How Jesus died to save us from our sins, and how we just need to be sorry and believe that He died for us to be with Him someday in Heaven.  To have His Spirit dwell within us, to have Jesus "live in our hearts".

She knew this all before.  None of it was new to her, in fact, she answered every question correctly, just as a little girl raised in the church would.

But something was different this time, and I'll tell you what it was.

Miss J acknowledged that she was a sinner. 
She now understands that she needs saving.

Being only five-and-a-half years old, this is a new concept for her.  Miss J is an especially compliant child by nature, rarely pressing the limits set by Mom and Dad, and almost never requiring discipline beyond a few stern words and the occasional time-out.  She kind of floats through life with a smile on her face, being silly and sweet and staring off into space like her ADHD mother.  People generally like being with her, and like I said, she's just an easygoing, compliant child.

It's easy to see why she might think of herself as being "good".  For as far back as she can remember, she's seen her older brother and sister get into trouble.  Lots of it.  She's heard them be disrespectful, she's seen them kick and scream and throw horrible tantrums.  She's witnessed stealing, lying, and outright disobedience, but she's rarely, if ever, done any of these things herself.  She's just watched.  And of course, although it's never once been said, she's assumed that "they" are "bad", and "she" is "good".

And don't we sometimes do the same thing?  Don't we hide behind our belief that we are "good people"- people that don't need saving?  We may have a few areas of our lives we're not proud of, but at least we're not as bad as those "other" people....the ones that cheat on their spouses or embezzle money or steal cars or murder children or do drugs or have casual sex outside of marriage.  Now they need saving....but me?  I'm a "good person".

And maybe, by the world's standards, you are a good person.  Just like Miss J.  And maybe, just maybe, you're on the verge of discovering something new, like my baby girl did this morning.

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"  Romans 3:23 (emphasis mine)

We all have faults.  We all have evil in us somewhere.  We've lied, we've cheated, we've hated, we've lusted, we've been content to sit our days away instead of accomplish.  We've been arrogant, selfish, thoughtless, greedy, ungrateful, stingy, immodest, judgemental, and unkind.  We've disrespected our husbands, been harsh with our wives, humiliated our children, and denied our Creator.  We are sinners.  Every last one of us.  And we all need saving.

I'm incredibly proud of my little daughter today, and it's not because she's obedient, sweet and silly.  It's because for the very first time, she's looking at what's wrong with her instead of what's right with her (in her own words, that she doesn't always obey Mom and Dad, and she fights with her brothers and sister) and she's come to a pretty major conclusion.  She needs Jesus. Today she decided on her own to tell Him that, and so she's accepted the free gift of salvation.

A long time ago, I looked at my own life and recognized the same thing...and it's as true today as it was all those years ago.  I need Jesus, too.

What about you?

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.   Romans 3:22-25

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