Blue Oxfords and Born-again

There are parts I remember like yesterday. My blue and white saddle oxford shoes, for instance, the bandaid, and that odd feeling in my stomach. I had never felt it before and even though I have felt it many times since it’s still hard to describe. If I was limited to one word I would use, trembly. I know now “it” was actually a “Who” and at 5 years old I was sensing the Holy Spirit for the first time. The Sunday evening service was drawing to a close and I suddenly felt an urgency to get out of my seat and walk forward to receive Jesus. By ‘suddenly’ I mean the urgency and trembly feeling seemed to come out of nowhere. In a flash, I went from never considering such a thing to feeling like it was the most important thing ever. No offense to the pastor and his sermon but I do not remember a word he said. In fairness to him, I was probably to young to understand the sermon but what I did understand was that I needed to go and say yes to Jesus and I needed to do it now. I mistook the Holy Spirit drawing me and the trembly feeling in my stomach for nervousness. I also vividly remember feeling like I was the rope in an invisible tug of war. How could I be so certain I needed to do something and still question it at the same time? Where was the pressure to keep me in my seat coming from? I know now the devil was trying to use fear tactics to intimidate me and keep me from following through. This is where the bandaid comes in to play. I am not exactly sure where the bandaid came from. If I had to guess I would say I peeled it off some cut or scrape out of boredom before finding myself in the middle of a cosmic battle for my eternal soul. Here was my plan, with my right leg crossed over my left (not like a lady crosses hers but like a man crosses his) I stuck the bandaid to my blue oxford leaving a small part of the end free. This created a tab I could pull. That tab became like a pin on a hand grenade that would set my trip to the altar in motion. I pulled the tab, released my right foot to the floor, and stood to my feet in one fell swoop. Once on my feet, I didn’t look back or at anybody but began making my way to the nearest aisle. The walk from my family’s row of seats to the front is a blur. The next thing I remember is the pastor leading me in prayer and a smile on my face that seemed to come from somewhere inside of me. I remember thinking then, “Whew, I did it!” I know now the relief I felt was not because of what I did but because of what Jesus did for me and inside of me that night.

Turning control of my life over to Jesus is the most selfless thing I have ever done. He gave Himself to me before the foundation of the world, I gave myself to Him in 1972. All of Him for all of me. How could anyone understand this opportunity and say no? Considering how much I gained, it is hard to think of this as a selfless act. He died so I could live, He became my sin so I could become His righteousness, He became poor so I could become rich, He became cursed so I could live in blessing, He was separated from His Father to make me one with God. He made me a co-heir together with Him and raised me up, and seated me together with Himself in the heavenly places. Jim Elliot said it well, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

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