"Just as I am — without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me..."
Now that you're likely singing this beloved hymn with me, I want to share the story behind these powerful words with you:
"Just As I Am" was written in the 18th century by Charlotte Elliott. Charlotte faced chronic illness, causing her to suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually. One day, her illness left her feeling particularly useless to the world. Rather than giving in to these feelings,
"She gathered up in her soul the great certainties, not of her emotions, but of her salvation: her Lord, his power, his promise. And taking pen and paper from the table she deliberately set down in writing, for her own comfort, ‘the formula of her faith.'" (Source: Louis Benson, Studies of Familiar Hymns, Second Series, 201-202)
We receive over 600 reports from JESUS Film teams each month, and it's amazing to me to hear the testimonies of a fraction of the many, many people God calls just as they are. Fifty-year-old Enrique in Mexico's story is the perfect example of this:
“I lived a very messy and worldly life, without any direction or hope. I partied, drank a lot of alcohol, was a womanizer and a vagrant. Sometimes I drove when I was drunk.
I would fall asleep at the steering wheel and my young son would sit in my lap and drive because the alcohol was too much for me to stay awake.
My wife was ashamed of me and always worried because we did not have money for food. I spent all I earned on drinks and mariachis. I escaped death many times: in my car and in street brawls. I heard about God and His divine plan, but wanted nothing to do with it.
One day, I fell off a horse and it kicked me in the head. In the hospital, fear overwhelmed me. I believe the Holy Spirit was working in me. I remember seeing moments of my life flash before my eyes, the hair-raising ones, like in a movie.
When I went home, I received a visit from a JESUS Film team leader who was sharing the gospel and inviting people to a street showing of a film. I suggested she show the film in our home instead. I saw the JESUS film and decided to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.
From that day on, my life has changed, as if I was born all over again. I told my bar buddies how Christ is the solution to all our problems. My family decided we would host a Preaching Point. We meet at our house for worship. I want to do what I can to fulfill the Great Commission.”
God is using the 681 JESUS Film teams serving around the world to share the Good News. Enrique has a dark past, but as Charlotte wrote and we sing today, God will "welcome, pardon, cleanse, receive" all who believe His promises. We don't have to be a certain profession or type of Christian to help redeem the lost and fulfill the Great Commission. We must simply come.
What can you do for the Kingdom as you serve God just as you are today?