“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 (ESV)
“And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Luke 24:38 (ESV)
So many Christians feel like they regret not coming to Christ sooner… but me? Well, I first gave my life to Christ at the age of 4. I say “first” because I have rededicated my life multiple times since. Multiple times.
I am going to be real with you all right now. Yes, getting saved late in life after decades of mistakes isn’t ideal. However, getting saved extremely early isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Now, before I receive an intense eye roll, hear me out. I do feel extremely blessed to have been raised in a Christian home and introduced to the Father early in life, but the cold, raw truth is that my heart has been full of doubt so often largely due to the fact that I never experienced that glorious “weight being lifted off my shoulders”… never felt my 4 year old “guilt” flow away with the cleansing tears spilt over my “salvation experience”.
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Psalm 51: 2 (ESV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (ESV)
Some people come from a difficult past, so they feel God’s forgiveness wash over them like a cool breeze on a stuffy day. But, at the age of 4, would I have comprehended that my sins nailed Christ to the Cross? Could I grasp that deep concept when I sassed my mommy or daddy? Would that have condemned me to hell at that age had my life been taken from me suddenly and without warning? I cannot give you a solid answer to those questions, but what I can say is that I thank God that He has redeemed me from what could have been… the harmful choices that could have be made had I continued in life without Christ as my guide. I sin every day, whether through my actions or my thoughts, but I have heard God’s voice guiding my choices and convicting me since I was very young.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 (ESV)
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 (ESV)
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 (ESV)
I am so grateful I’ve known to listen to Him from a young age, but it has made faith a little more difficult to achieve. This is why I have rededicated my life multiple times. It is sort of my way of saying to the Lord, “Hey, I still want you, by the way! I still believe you and love you and want you as the Savior of my life!”
However, whether or not you got saved late in your life or early on in your life, the important part is you are clean. Washed by the Blood of our perfect Savior. Isn’t that a relief? He loves people despite the mess they were prior to Christ, and He loves me as the mess I am after Christ came into my life (After all, the only mess I really created by the age of 4 was possibly involving finger paint or spaghetti!).
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 19:14 (ESV)
“And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.” Deuteronomy 1:39 (ESV)
The point is, the past is the past, regardless of how messy or clean it was. And the beautiful thing is, even though I have a hard time with my faith, I have reassurance through the redemption I feel on a daily basis- the cleansing touch of Christ as He reminds me that I am not enough, but He is. I feel the tug of the Holy Spirit in my daily thoughts and decisions- more proof of my life in Him. One of the best ways to confirm my relationship with Him is when I am reading the Word and He speaks to me directly through it.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 (ESV)
Sometimes it happens outside of the Word- one of those rare, golden moments where I am forced to just smile, shake my head in amazement, and thank the Father for choosing to knock me over the head with His presence!
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Romans 8:9 (ESV)
“Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” 1 John 3:24 (ESV)
There are always ways to draw nearer to Christ and feel close to Him so He can wash away your doubts (whether they are brought on by reasons similar to mine or otherwise). Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8 (ESV)
So cheers to you, Christians saved at a young age! You, most likely, escaped more pain through accepting Christ early! Be encouraged that you are redeemed- even if that redemption came as a “pre-cleansing” for the devastation of sins that were going to be committed later in life. You don’t have to have some extravagant testimony to be a believer. Feel blessed if you feel you have a “boring” testimony. So many would do anything to have had an easier time coming to Christ. And cheers to you as well, Christians saved later in life! Know that although you endured a hard beginning, you have those times in your life to look back on as proof of your new, white-as-snow life with your Savior.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)
Wherever you stand, don’t allow Satan to taint your relationship with Christ by filling your heart with doubt. Choose to learn from Peter’s mistake when he faltered while walking on water to Jesus. Walk your Christian walk with your eyes locked onto Jesus, never glancing nervously at the waves crashing around you wondering if you truly are safe (Matthew 14:22-34). Keep focused on Jesus, trusting that you will make it to Him. When you do feel that pull to wonder or doubt, call out like the father of the demon-possessed child in Mark, chapter 9:
“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Verse 24, ESV)
God already sees your heart and mind, He already knows if you are struggling, so be real with Him, choose to believe, and ask for His help. Just as I love my children and desire to help them, God desires to help us in every area.
“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26 (ESV)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (ESV)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (ESV)
Know that you know that you know that you are a child of Christ- blood bought. End of story, or rather, the beginning.