I can’t believe it has been thirty-nine years! So many things have happened since January 17, 1974. Life has not always been the easiest, but the decision I made that day has influenced the rest of my life.
January 17, 1974—I was nine years old and attending a church service at Parkland Baptist Church in Tulsa. Brother J. Harold Bryant was the pastor. I really can’t remember what he said that morning; however, at the end of his message I told my dad, “I need to be saved.” He took me by the hand, walked me down to the front of the church, and we talked with Pastor Bryant about what I needed to do to become a Christian. He simply led me in a prayer admitting I was a sinner, believing that Jesus died for my sins, that He arose from the dead, and that I was committing the rest of my life to Him.
When we got home that afternoon I wrote the following:
“From this day on I will be a Christian and have everlasting life. For God has been knocking on my heart’s door. He has been wanting me to be saved. But I was to [sic] scared and wouldn’t let him in and I knew I should let him. So I let him in. Bobby Pittenger January 17, 1974”
Now I realize the grammar is not that great, but I was only nine! Nevertheless, notice what I understood:
1) God was pursuing me
2) Becoming a Christian means everlasting life
3) We must choose to accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal life
4) We must turn from our sinful ways and commit to living a life of righteousness
Sometimes I think adults make it way too difficult. Jesus told us to come with a child-like faith. We want to know all the details and have everything figured out before we make a decision. The only way to become a Christian is to admit our spiritual poverty, cry out to Jesus, and then live out the decision we have made.
Over the last thirty-nine years I have made a lot of mistakes, and for several years, most people could not tell that I was a Christian by the way I was living. However, God’s grace has been sufficient for me. At the age of twenty-six I realized I had spent several years out of the church, and I was no longer sure if the decision I made in 1974 was genuine. So, once again I made the long journey down to the front of the church and recommitted my life to Jesus. That was twenty-three years ago, and my life has been filled with incredible peace and joy. Regardless of what happens in this short life, I know that one day I will stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords and will worship Him forever!
How about you? Has God been knocking at your heart’s door? He wants you to be saved. If you are not sure, please contact me at Living Oaks Baptist Church and I will tell you how to become a Christian.