That long walk down the aisle to the waiting ministers in that little rural church to proclaim my decision to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior is one that will always remind me of freedom–freedom from sin, and the promise of eternity spent in heaven with the Lord God.
There was however, a sense of something held back: even though I knew Christ and wanted to be like Him, I was still making child-like decisions. It was not until I became an adult and spent many hours on my face recognizing my sinfulness that I made a decision based on adult knowledge to truly commit to the ways of the Lord. My salvation at nine years old was genuine, but it took the adult Patti to seek Christ on a whole different level. Things were much more clear and my understanding was much greater as I got older and was able to study the Word in depth.
Many adults today wonder why life is like it is, and it is partly the way it is because they are basing everything they know about the Christian life on decisions made as young children. Some are afraid to break away from the traditions of their churches so they are bogged down with denominational beliefs that are not found in Scripture. It’s the if it was good enough for my parents then it is good enough for me syndrome. When we seriously consider as adults the things we learned as children, much of it carries over appropriately and is biblically based. However, we need to search the Word of God for truths that we can only learn from Him, at His feet, listening to His heart. He will teach us how to understand Him and how to know His ways, which will be right for us now! We will learn how to make adult decisions that are appropriate for where we are at the moment. He longs to hear from us and He longs to teach us His truths. As Hebrews 9:12, 14 explains, God will purge our very conscience from dead works so that we will serve the living the God, in the present.
I remember well the hour that I finally surrendered my all to Christ. Having lived the life of a confessing sinner, having served in the church, having looked the part for so many years of the prim and proper church person, I was still unable to know real freedom in Christ. It was a night when my heart was so broken over my life of pretend that I finally surrendered to Christ–everything, every part of my being. It was then that the most amazing thing happened–I was set free! Nothing has ever been the same. It took a willingness to lie before the Lord God and to allow Him room to minister to my aching soul. I ended up that night not wanting to go backwards any longer. Moving forward and upward became the focus of my life. Christ became so much more than a savior to me that night. He became my All.
Life still happened all around me, and I still blunder. “O wretched sinner that I am,” however, the depth of my soul was not the same, and I was then able to see life through His eyes and to accept and deal with life with a whole different spirit. Everything had changed from black to grey back in that little church when I was nine, but now there was a distinct white to my life. The grey was gone. It could have vanished when I accepted Christ, but I like many, held on to stuff that needed to be released. Once the Lord helped me to understand that and to cast All my burdens upon Him then I was set Free, Free indeed!
Freedom is a precious gift that God the Father offers all of us as Ephesians 1:7-8 expresses: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
He promises to lavish upon us His wisdom and His understanding. That is awesome no matter how we say it. But to accept that marvelous gift of His to us is what it takes to let His freedom ring in our hearts and lives.
My prayer is that you, too, will know what it means to be free, indeed!
About Patti M. Hummel
Patti M. Hummel was called to missions in a youth revival. She was married to the late Rev. Donald R. Hummel, Sr. Patti has certificates in Bible from Moody Bible College and Duncan Park Bible Institute. She served in Christian Children's Homes and as GA State Sales Manager for Zondervan Publishing House. After her husband died, she and her three small children spent seven years in the South Pacific as long-term missionaries. Patti is an author and compiler/ author of 18 books. She is an international speaker to Christian groups. She is currently President of The Benchmark Group LLC in Nashville (benchmarkgrouppublishers.com) and is the grateful mother of 3 adult children and 2 precious granddaughters with another grandchild due spring of 2010.