A few minutes ago I got to thinking about the seven words I said to God 44 years ago. As my thoughts lingered on that memory, I thought it might be good to post this essay once again. It originally appeared here a couple of years ago.
On this day 44 years ago I said seven words that changed my life. “God, I believe Jesus is the Messiah.”
Christmas Eve. 1972. I was 22 years old, kneeling beside my bunk in Barracks ‘M’ on the navy base in Yokosuka, Japan.
Back then I knew nothing about theology. I knew nothing about the Sacraments. I knew nothing even about the Scriptures. What I did know, after reading Hal Lindsay’s book of Bible Prophecy, The Late Great Planet Earth, was Jesus is the Messiah God promised to Israel and to the world.
Jesus. The Lamb of God who would take away our sins; even my sins. Even the worst and the darkest of my many sins.
Seven words. “God, I believe Jesus is the Messiah.”
No telling Him what He already knew of my past. No promise of repentance, or a plea for His forgiveness.
Just, “I believe.”
But what I did not say to God with my mouth, I said to Him with my heart : “From this moment I’m going to live for you. With your help, I'm going to walk a holy life. With your help I'm going to serve you for the rest of my life.”
Without even thinking to punctuate my words with action, I got up off my knees, walked to my chest of drawers, grabbed the plastic bag of marijuana and emptied it into the toilet. Then I went to my footlocker, grabbed the porn magazines, and threw them into the dumpster behind my barracks.
On Christmas Eve in 1972 God gave me the most wonderful Christmas gift I could have ever received. In a moment of time, like the twinkling of an eye, before the seven words had even crossed my lips, God gave me His gift of eternal salvation. He made me a new child in Christ. Old things had passed away. Everything became new. And on that same Christmas Eve, I gave God the best gift I could ever have given Him. I gave him my life. Forty-four years later, it still ranks as the best thing I have ever done. And Oh, I still love to sing it:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
(I hope you have at some time in the past said to God something similar to the seven words I said with my mouth and with my heart – and that you still live those words. If not – please know that you still can do so).