Robert E. Alderman, Jr. - Personal Testimony
I've heard that the odds or the likelihood of anyone coming to know and accept Christ as Lord and Savior past the age of 18 are very slim. It’s supposedly even more uncommon for type “A” personalities - those who are hard-hitting, stubborn and proud - to acknowledge Christ and surrender their lives to Him.
In spite of those statistics, I'm thankful to God that I beat the odds on both counts when I received Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of 35 and was able through His conviction of my heart to overcome my self-reliance-attitude and realize the emptiness of such compared to what He offers.
By that age I was, in fact, very set in my ways; was running my own law practice with a growing staff and was moving steadily up the world's success road financially, in status and in self-fulfillment. I had decided a few years earlier, however, that I probably should learn more about the Bible. After all, I reasoned, it is the most quoted book ever written and surely there would come a time when having a good grasp of what it says would make me a better lawyer.
With that goal as my motivation, I asked one of the pastors at the church I was dutifully attending with my wife if I could be one of the 12 students to join the two-year Bethel Bible Series study program he was beginning that fall. Though he knew I was just a surface churchgoer and not truly a believer in Christ, he let me have one of the places in his class.
As I went through God's Word from the beginning to the end (Old Testament the first year and New Testament the second year), the truth of who Christ is with His mercy and grace for every person who will accept Him as Lord and Savior began to change my life. Finally, in 1982, I gave my life over to Him following a dream I had about a volcano and then confirming that decision in a wakened state of mind.
In that dream, the volcano was symbolic of my future and whether or not I would trust in God to provide for me. As I stood at the rim of the crater, the rising smoke and gasses blocked my view of what the crater held in store. Nevertheless, Christ was inviting me to jump into the crater in faith and trust that He would protect me and provide for me.
From behind me there was another voice, however - the voice of Satan. He was imploring me not to make the jump saying that if I did I would surely die in the molten lava and jagged rocks he claimed awaited me even though I could not see them. His suggestion was that I should keep control of my life rather than giving it over to God. After all, I seemed to be doing a pretty good job, so why give it up?
But that night, I decided to give my life to God and in my dream, I jumped into the crater in a free-fall for Christ.
When I awoke, my wife was still sound asleep next to me and our house was quiet. To confirm the commitment I made in my dream, I perched myself on the edge of the bed and jumped out onto the floor to consciously give control of the future of my life to Christ.
Though my life has not been the same since then, it did not change drastically right away, in fact, it’s still changing and evolving because God’s not through with me yet! Part of that change is the very reason I am sharing this with you now.
Since 1982, I've had some wonderful periods of delight and excitement in pursuing a personal relationship with Christ. However, there have also been long stretches when I would seek to resume personal control of my life without allowing God to participate. In fact, during much of the past 33+ years, I settled into a state of complacency and failed to grow further in my knowledge of God and my relationship with Christ. Though I would read the Bible from time to time and attended church semi regularly, I had slipped away from the abiding, obeying and rewarding connection and constant interaction with Jesus that had been created when I first believed.
I more or less felt, "Okay, I'm in. Heaven is my assured destination, so for the rest of this life, I just need to try to do the right things and deal as best I can with whatever comes along – without any particular need to grow closer to God in this life."
About ten to twelve years ago, however, God decided to wake me up and bring to my attention once more that all of what I thought I was accomplishing in the way of success and prestige was empty and not what He wants of my life - especially because I didn't really have Him as first in all that I did and was not seeking to grow in my relationship with Him.
He brought that to my attention through a couple of books written by Christian businessmen that “coincidentally” came into my life while attending a professional seminar. Those books led me to additional books and eventually back to the Bible.
Through God's Word and my increased prayer time (now greater than it ever has been and yet still continues to grow), I am so pumped in how my relationship with Christ is expanding and the awesomeness of each new discovery of the Glory and Holiness of who God is and what He offers that I'm ready to explode with joy and wonder and have a great desire to know Him more and more and more!
What I mean by that is found in the lyrics of a worship song we sing from time to time in church. The title is simply: "Come, Now is the Time to Worship". The lyrics are these:
Come, now is the time to worship; now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are to worship, come, just as you are before your God.
One day every tongue will confess You are God, one day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose You now.
I’m so grateful that God drew me to Him and that I accepted Him at age 35 rather than later, and that He has remained faithful even when I drifted away.
I wish I had accepted Him 30 years earlier and had pursued a course of absorbing His Majesty through prayer and the study of His Word all those years in the same way I've done for the past decade. The reason I say that is that the result of my current faithfulness is so utterly inspiring, fulfilling, positively mind-boggling and thrilling that it's humanly indescribable!
Because of that, my prayer is that each of you will make the pursuit of God and the Lordship Salvation of Christ (whether for the first time or as a re-growth and expansion of a relationship you already have with Him) your number one priority. Get into the Bible in a real study format and develop a talking, dialog prayer life with Him. It's awesome!!!