I was told today that a young child could not make the eternal decision to accept Christ. Actually, it was a little more personal than that, because I was really told that I couldn’t have accepted Christ at the age of six. Yes, apparently another Christian feels that they can judge my salvation experience. What adds insult to injury to this is that it is someone very close to me.
I’m trying to figure out why this bothers me so much and it boils down to the fact that my encounter with God is discredited with one fell swoop of an opinion. I was told that a person truly couldn’t make a decision for Christ until they were 12 or 13 years old.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t find ANYWHERE in scripture where God says we have to be 12 or 13 before we can choose him. There is an often agreed upon term among theologians coined ‘The Age of Accountability’, which is basically the age that we are held responsible for our decision to either accept Christ as our Savior or deny him.
There is debate about what this age is, ranging from 13, because it’s the age for a Jewish barmitzva, up to 19, due to brain development. I personally believe that our age of accountability is a number only God knows. Our God is an individual God, he knows each one of us intimately. He knows our mental abilities to even understand our need for Him, along with our individual emotional and spiritual maturity.
However, even then, an Age of Accountability, signifies when someone is held responsible for making a decision, the term is not used to say it is the first moment someone can make a decision.
I was only six years old when I asked Jesus to come live in my heart and forgive me of my sin. I remember so many details about the experience, which alone is rare, considering my memory or lack thereof. Honestly, this is probably the clearest memory I have in my childhood. I remember the Holy Spirit’s prompting and the feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin waiting for the invitational hymn to start. As soon as it did, I popped out of my seat and heading to the front pew. I had no doubts.
I sat there with my pastor and prayed. I immediately felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders and thrown as far as the East is from the West! I felt light and free. Even at six I was amazed because I couldn’t remember ever feeling that weight until, all of a sudden, it was gone.
I will NEVER forget that moment. You know what I love most about it? It is the fact that I never, ever question whether I was saved that moment. It’s as clear to me as the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. It bothers me that someone I love is trying to tell me that it didn’t happen or didn’t “count” because I wasn’t a certain age.
I have walked with Jesus since I was six. I’ve not been perfect, but I’ve never strayed far either. I’ve always said that God has kept me on a short leash. I didn’t have to come back to God and re-decide. I was eternally grateful from the instant He saved me. Thank you God for OUR story….I love it and You! I just wish others wouldn’t box you in and limit what you can and will do in the life of a child.