A simple answer in my son's Bible curriculum stopped me short.
".....I guess I don't have much of a testimony. I was only 12.......but I'm glad I didn't waste half of my life procuring a 'good' testimony."
Yes, Son, I'm glad too, you didn't!
But the issue he addresses here is a serious one.
How often are our "good- christian- home -raised" kids made to feel like this? How often does the "hell raising sinner's" conversion story get repeated over and over and glorified??
We carefully guard our children's environment. We teach them of Christ before they can talk. We read the Bible to them and then teach them to read it as soon as they can sound out "God". We teach them that we are all lost souls in need of a Saviour . We teach them the story of Adam. We tell them that through disobedience the whole race of mankind has lost a relationship with God and must find it only through the saving power of Christ's blood . We stress there are no Christians by inheritance and God has no grandchildren and clever things like that to try to instill in them that they are lost even though they are being raised in a Christian home.
We tell them never to do "those bad things"!
We rejoice when they give their heart to God and acknowledge to Him that they are lost and doomed for punishment without Him. We rejoice and baptize them and we praise God with them.
And then....then what??
Who ,outside of their parents ,(if we even do enough)encourages them, walks beside them, reminds them they were a sinner saved by grace!!!? Who affirms to them that they are remarkable , a set apart holy vessel unto God, special in His eyes and ours because they chose Him!!??? Who looks close enough to notice when the dark temptations of this world try to allure that "good kid" ? Who is there to remind him of the reaping and the sowing and how very very blessed he is that he will never have to live to regret???
Does He see or hear enough of that?
He sees the "new convert" that everyone flocks around. You know the one, the drunk who lived under the bridge who now sits in the church pew. He hears the exclaiming about the mighty power of God that worked in that man's life.
He listens to the testimony of guest speaker who spent in his life in riotous living and now found the answer to his soul's cry. And he hears the Amen's and hallelujah's roll when that man says he stands here by the grace of God .
He watches when the fatted calf is killed for the rebellious son who returns after years of running from God.
He attends all the returned missionary film shows about the amazing work of God among the sin darkened heathens.
He sees. He listens. He watches.
And somewhere along the line , he begins to feel that his conversion didn't really amount to much. He begins to question whether he really knows the grace of God. He wonders if maybe a person does need to continues in sin in order for grace to "abound".
He feels insignificant. He's just the "good kid".
And when the tempter whispers that there are good things out there to see and experience, he listens...because he has heard it sound so exciting.
And when the discourager tells him "who cares" , he listens.... because he's not sure anymore if anyone does.
And when the dark one taunts 'hath God said" , he wavers, because....he thinks ,maybe ,just maybe, he's not saved.
And while the saints rejoice over the prodigal and while the missionary recounts the conversion of the demon possessed, the good kid slips outside the door.
He becomes the runaway, the sinner...
Then we all pray...we mention his name at every prayer meeting. We rock heaven's gate with our fervent prayers for his salvation and his return.
But what if he doesn't ...then what...what if the lies and whispers grow so strong ,he takes his own life, as a "good kid", my son's friend, did just yesterday.
It is too late for that "good kid" but then...maybe then....
....will we gather our children around and tell them how blessed they are...how valued they are.....how in the sight of God there is no respect of persons? Will we remind them that we are so very blessed by their godly, right choices and tell them how special a sanctified vessel is in the service of God? Will we tell them they are so wise to feel "glad that (they) didn't waste half of (their) life procuring a good testimony"?