If there’s anyone out there like me, we’ve been taught growing up that salvation comes when we ask Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and come into our hearts. Not only is this the method we heard for our own personal experience, but were also taught to lead others in the same in evangelism. You had to have faith by believing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and once done, ask Him to forgive those sins, and come live within us.
I never even thought to think any different until I read “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee, an excellent read! Well, I take that back. The Holy Spirit had done some prep work ahead of time, and that was using my own personal experience. I was “saved” at the age of four. My brother and I were talking one evening, when he asked me if I was going to heaven. “Of course I’m going to heaven!” I said, “Mama and Daddy are going there, so I’m going too!”. He adamantly denied my claim by telling me I hadn’t gotten saved so I couldn’t go. After a long and heated discussion in which neither gained any ground, I resorted to simply talking to Daddy and Mama that night. They took me through the whole “plan” and I bowed my head in prayer. I remember it all very distinctly, to the point of kneeling beside the couch thinking on how Jesus must have hurt, hanging on the cross, and to think that it was my sins that put Him there! For years gone on, I could be assured as a dog is his master, that I was saved 100%.
However, for years after that I could be sitting in Church and hear a scary message on hell, or maybe just one on assurance itself, and I’d all of a sudden be flooded with doubts. It didn’t even have to be at church. I could be living daily life one morning, trying my utmost to be the best Christian I could and that evening folding laundry I’d have to fight the devil as he slowly, one by one, inserted the doubts. I’m a deep and random thinker, if you haven’t noticed :D, and so I can remember instances exactly like the afore given. That very time folding laundry I tried using the technique I had heard of taking the devil back to the beginning of everything, and telling him “No!” that he was wrong and I was right. You can only guess that it didn’t work! It was really starting to bear on me. I had been saved at the age of four with doubts occasionally up the age of 12 when I was baptized. But they didn’t stop there, they continued.
I knew it just wasn’t right. A true Christian doesn’t doubt their very name. Much less the one who gave them that name! I knew something was wrong, but I had tried everything I knew and just didn’t know how to fix it. I’m not sure if there was one thing in particular that sparked the interest, but I remember reading multiple portions of scripture where it spoke of faith and belief. No where could I find this thing of praying a prayer! It all of a sudden hit me, clean out of no where, that nothing prior even mattered. This day this moment, was I believing? That’s all that mattered! Once that concept was revealed to me, and I understood, not one time since have I come close to a doubt. I know for sure! For I am believing! These last few years I can, with all my heart sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a for-taste of glory divine!…” Once I got over that hump I could actually grow in my Christian life!
I don’t know how many testimonies I’ve heard, probably and upwards of 80 percent of all testimonies, in which the person, likewise, experiences similar occasions of doubts. The biggest cure I’ve seen is full out evangelism, but it is with one, and one very huge problem. They preach years of doubt or else false assurance, right into other people. I know it’s in ignorance! That’s why I’m writing! These people are either going to doubt time after time again because of that prayer, or else they’re going to run with the idea of having prayed the prayer so I’m going to heaven type of thing. Either way it’s not right. Faith and faith alone. It isn’t even our faith to begin with! It’s the faith of Jesus Christ! I do not, absolutely DO NOT want to know how many people will stand before the judgment seat with the words ringing in their ears “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, for I never knew you!” as they cry out in desperation, “But Lord, I prayed the prayer!!!”