August 19, 2009

Salvation

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-5

The simplicity of the gospel is beautiful. Unfortunately, the gospel of Jesus Christ has become corrupted in our country. "Christians" have ruined Christianity. I have pictures in my mind of televangelists who claim Christ as their Lord, but live their lives in a way that they discredit the gospel for which He died.

Ella doesn't know about money grubbers who are perverting the gospel to their advantage.

She knows Jesus loves her. She talks to God at night. She watches her family and learns that we live a certain way because we want to please our Lord. In her literal world, this was it.

A few weeks ago, we began memorizing scripture as a family. Our first verse was, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23" She memorized and repeated it with clarity. I explained each day what the verse was saying. Each one of us has done something wrong. We cannot be in the presence of God because we aren't perfect. So simple.

The next verse gives us the good news. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23" Without intending to, I was methodically explaining salvation to my daughter. I didn't intend to lead her down that road. As a rule, there is no pressure in our family. We read the Bible, pray, and try to live our lives to His glory. We don't shove Christ at our children. It needs to be something they hear and desire on their own. We don't ever want them to feel like they have to choose the gospel because, "Mommy told me to."

Imagine my surprise when I was tucking our kids in one night and Ella began crying. She said she was crying about heaven and Jesus. I wasn't sure if she was being sincere. She is seven--she was tired and possibly trying to stall. I was unwilling to get into a big discussion with her late at night. We prayed together and told Jesus we love Him. That was all.

The next day we continued our discussion. I was using analogies and getting flustered. Finally, I wanted to admit that she really wasn't able to understand Christ's sacrifice for her. She was upset, so I felt like pacifying her was not right. The gospel is simple...childlike faith. Why am I getting in the way of this being simple? I didn't care if she chose to walk away, but I felt like it was ME that was keeping her from getting a clear understanding.

So I nixed the analogies and asking her what she thought. Then, I drew a picture of two hearts on a sticky note. One heart was hers and the other was Christ's. I explained that to be in heaven with God you have to have a heart like Jesus--clean and perfect. Then I showed her heart, starting clean and perfect but then drew a spot for a lie. Another spot for hitting, another for cheating, another for disobeying. Ella started crying. So I quickly gave her the rest--the second half of Romans 6:23 'but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' God loved Ella so much he sent his son, Jesus, to live a perfect life. Then, Jesus said I'll take your heart and give you mine. I'll take the punishment (for the wages of sin is death) for you, Ella. Romans 5:8 (our next verse to memorize) says that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

At this point, she reached out and grabbed the clean heart I was holding and said, "I want that. I want Jesus to take my dirty heart and give me his."

The beautiful simplicity of the gospel. My daughter, raised up seeing the gospel, but never knowing it. Believing that talking to God at night would secure her a place in heaven. Believing that she is good enough to spend eternity with God. And a mom who didn't think she was capable of understanding the simple truth.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

10 comments:

jill coen said...

Jesus wants us all to be a little more like Ella.

Ella, we're so excited about your new relationship with Jesus!!

love, Marshall, Jill & Silas :)

(ps the word verification for my comment is "washed")

Roscoe and Julia Richardson said...

Awesome :)

Erica said...

The best post EVER written! Congratulations, Ella!

Lauren said...

:) Rejoicing with you! :)

Team Dragovich said...

What an amazing gift... I'm just smiling all over for Ella-- and for you, too, Mamma!!!!

On another note, You have been soooo busy, girl! I am sad that I have missed so many posts since Nuts! Guess I've been trying to raise my own five crazies... or some such madness. I LOVE that the boys did a tri! But I have to agree, this is why I stick to running ;) I bet Seth is crazed now-- at least Tony would be. And as for Sally's hair... BEAUTIFUL and FUN!!! So, is the yarn light?? Because that is a LOT of hair!! And, how do you get those parts so clean? Just wondering.

Take care and keep 'em comin'!

Love ya,
Shari

KLT said...

How marvelous! I can't think of a more joy-full experience than watching the child you adore reach out to the God you love! Thank you for sharing how this happened for you.

Tara said...

Praie the Lord!

Ella we are so happy that you are now a child of GOD.

What a wonderful God we serve, that he would make his holy word simple enough for a child to understand.

Love you guys

Tara

the Osterink family said...

YES. YES!!!!

beBOLDjen said...

Rejoicing with you!!! I feel like having party after reading that post.... Never gets old!

ethiHOPEia said...

Beautiful! :)