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I suddenly became aware of the condition of my soul at twelve years old. I vividly recall lying on my back during many long nights, working my way through the sinner’s prayer that I had learned from my dad, and trying to understand its various elements. What does faith mean? What does it mean for Jesus to be a savior and lord? Thankfully, God guided me through my inner turmoils to an understanding of what salvation means.

However, there were a few unhelpful folks along the way. All you preachers who compared faith to sitting on a chair and trusting that it would hold you up–you should know that you didn’t really help me at all. I was only confused about how to put that same sort of trust in Jesus. How do I get from trusting a chair to trusting Jesus? Maybe if I concentrated really hard and somehow exercised faith in Jesus.

Oh, and all you guys who describe the sinner’s prayer in terms of accepting Jesus into your heart, please stop. Stop it right now. What the heck does that even mean? How does inviting Jesus to come live in your heart equal looking to Jesus for your forgiveness? Where in the Bible do any of the apostles invite their hearers to just ask Jesus into their hearts? You are only confusing little boys and girls by using such meaningless imagery.

I shake my head now as I remember how confused I was over something so simple. Thankfully, the Bible (of all things) cleared it up. What did the tax collector say when he was weighed down by all his sin? “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Seven little words, all of them easy to understand. What does Paul say? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).  Gone are the mysteries of just how we exercise this vague thing called “sitting-on-a-chair faith” when one understands that all that it means is that you are asking for mercy.

I love the movie Luther. There is a scene at the beginning where Martin Luther is struggling with his sin before the unrelenting wrath of God. His priest and mentor hands him a cross and commands him to pray, “I’m yours. Save me.” I like that. I’m yours; save me.

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