Jesus Isn’t My Buddy

Not all that long ago, I had a conversation with the youth pastor at our former church. I was telling him about how I thought for many, many years I was a Christian because I’d prayed a prayer.

Everyone around me kept insisting and assuring me that I was saved because of that magic little prayer that I’d prayed years before.

But no matter how much they sought to assure me, I knew … that I knew … that I knew … that something was missing. Without even knowing what I was doing, I was examining myself to see if I was in the faith or not. And the answer I kept getting was a resounding, “No.”

Finally one day I came to see myself as a wretched sinner who deserved nothing but a final destination in Hell, Suddenly the gospel made sense. I “got” why Jesus died. The light bulbs all came on in my mind, my heart and my spirit.

I realized that by thinking I was a “good person” my entire life, it had basically kept me from salvation. After all, what does a good person need a savior for? It almost seemed like an over-dramatic thing for Jesus to do. But once I saw myself as a sinner … a real, going to hell sort of sinner … the good news became good news.

So that was the story I shared with the youth pastor. And do you know what he said? He told me that he didn’t think it was necessary for someone to recognize their own sinfulness in order to be a Christian. He told me he wasn’t sure he’d ever really grasped that fact about himself, but he “knew” he was saved because he’d prayed a prayer when he was younger.

It was so disturbing. I sat there in the youth pastor’s office thinking, “Oh, this poor man. He’s missed the basic truth of the gospel. It appears that he’s probably never truly repented because he’s never even seen his own wretched condition and his own personal need for Jesus’ sacrifice.” He seemed to think that as long as he prayed his little “magic prayer” as a young person, he was good to go. And then he not only had his entrance into heaven someday, he also got to go through this life with Jesus as his personal “buddy.”

Well, ever since that day when my eyes were opened to my own sinful condition, Jesus hasn’t been my “buddy” … He’s been my Savior and my Lord.


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