WHICH IS BETTER?

Driving home earlier this summer from a Men’s Retreat I was listening to a CD of some old songs and hymns. One of our seniors had loaned it to me and wanted me to listen to it. I was on something of a spiritual high from the retreat and thought it would be a good time to listen. While I didn’t enjoy all of the selections, there were a few that inspired me as well as caused me to think. One song in particular got my attention and I have been thinking about it on and off since that Sunday morning.

Here are the words of one of the verses and the chorus:

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you how He changed my life completely;
He did something no other friend could do.

Chorus

No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
O how much He cared for me.

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me;
All my heart was full of misery and woe,
Jesus placed His strong arms about me
And He led me in the way I ought to go.

As beautiful and powerful as the words are, it is not my story. I became a Christian and was baptized a few months short of becoming a teenager. Stay with me on this, but my life was not completely changed that day (as the song writer meant it). At that point my life was not full of sin, my heart was not full of misery and woe, and I don’t recall the sin and darkness being taken from me as the song notes. All I knew was that my older brother was going forward that Sunday morning to be baptized and I was going to do it too.

I had started attending the church at the invitation of my best friend. It was a small church with no children’s or youth ministry beyond Sundays, but it was a warm and welcoming church. My brother and I were accepted and loved without either of our parents accompanying us. The people rejoiced in our decision and congratulated us like we were their own. And we were.

The small church we began attending grew in every way eventually bringing on staff a part time youth minister God greatly used in my life. I stayed an active member of Forest Dale Church of Christ until I left following high school graduation to attend Cincinnati Bible College.

Here’s what sometimes troubles me when I hear songs like No One Ever Cared for Me like Jesus, Amazing Grace, and many others: I don’t have a testimony that matches those words. In my life I have committed my worst sins since I became a Christian. We wouldn’t describe too many 12 year olds as wretches, would we?

Not to be presumptuous, but isn’t my story similar to many Christians who are reading this? Churches, parents, pastors, and children’s ministry leaders have done and do a great job of leading young people to accept Jesus and make a faith commitment to him.

I was baptized at the age of 12, but my father came to Christ in his forties a few years after my brother and I did. If I could talk with him about what I am writing, I’m confident he would identify with Amazing Grace and No one Ever Cared for Me like Jesus far greater than I can.

So let’s ask the question that is the title of this post: which is better? Some may disagree with me, but I don’t have an answer. Regardless of when we came or come to Christ, what is most important is that we have done so or do come to Christ.

Going back to the song, in my case Jesus did change my life completely. He changed it from what it would have been had I not started going to that little church. In my dad’s case, the Lord changed his life completely as a father with two teenage sons from that moment forward.

Feel free to leave a comment below and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.

photo credit: Frits Ahlefeldt – FritsAhlefeldt.com <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32066106@N06/5726812891″>man-2weights illustration</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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7 thoughts on “WHICH IS BETTER?

  1. I too am in the group of 12 year old baptised and confirmed christians. These songs of grace, forgiveness, friendship, and guidance describe my life many years later, after i matured in my faith that I received so very long ago. I”m just glad i knew the path back to Jesus, who had never left me, but was likely saddened by my journey. For those like you father who did not know the Lord from a young age, the transformation was dramatic and inspiring. For me, it was like being reunited to an old friend, who always guided me without my knowing, during the young adult years. Now in my twilight years, I look back at the foolishness, and thank my God and King, that He never tires of waiting on us to come to Him at any point of our lives. If only we could love Him as much as He loves us, but its just impossible for mortal man, but very possible with the Grace afforded us by Jesus. I know the Amazing Grace of Jesus because He never left my side.

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  2. Bob, My story is similar. Accepted the Lord at 12. Don’t know what I would be without Jesud. It’s almost all I’ve ever known. Like you I have committed my worst sins since becoming a Christian. However I am lucky to have a God who forgives and forgets and that’s the beauty of our story. Music is so powerful and sometimes it will provoke a thought that we can use to become better. As always great thoughts in your message today.

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  3. Excellent thoughts Bob. My story is very similar. What would life have been like if I had not made that decision relatively early in life? Even though my testimony is not as dramatic as some, He saved me all the same.

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  4. Thank you for this blog! I can completely relate to what you shared. I too, became a Christian at a younger age (14) and can’t really relate to some of the hymn writers descriptions of coming to Christ. In fact there were times when I heard other people’s testimonies about being delivered from depravity I almost felt guilty because I didn’t have a conversion as dramatic as theirs.
    I have sinned in greater ways since becoming a Christian. It is good to hear that others share like conversion/Christian walk experiences.
    Thanks for your continued teaching via your blogs, Bob.

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  5. My story is quite different. I accepted the Lord in my late 20’s when I was going through a very difficult time in my life and was invited to go back to church. I was raised in a Catholic Church and attended Catholic school, but I never experienced a relationship with Christ until I had dedicated my life to the Lord. It took a while before I felt my “wretchedness” start to fade away and my mindset changed to understand that even though I was a sinner, I was also a child of God which was what eventually changed my life. Many of the hymns sung on Sundays at church never really penetrated my heart as I didn’t understand the words really and thus they didn’t really impact me. But now when I hear them, they have a very different meaning to me. Good read, Bob… as always.

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