Our identity in Christ is a miracle of grace.
The Lord chose us to bear His image as His unique workmanship.
The question of wrestling with self identity is not a new problem. People throughout history have experienced the transforming power of the collision point of faith and accepting their self worth in the eyes of God.
One such person is Charlotte Elliot, born to a Christian family in the mid 1800’s in England. Her nickname was “Carefree Charlotte” because of her love for life and great sense of humor.
At age thirty, chronic pain and weakness invaded her body. When the illness didn’t improve over years, she became sour, angry, and bitter. For the next fifty years of life, Charlotte laid in bed, overpowered with weakness. She hated God for making her a prisoner to her bed.
Her father invited a traveling evangelist to stop by to see Charlotte. Instead of just asking about her physical state, he asked about her spiritual condition. Surprised to hear that question, she responded with her own bitter question: “How can I come to God?”
The evangelist simply said, “Come as you are to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
Those words broke through her bitter heart. She prayed and went from utter despair to the joy of knowing Christ.
Later Charlotte wrote the words to Just As I Am. It was published in a small newspaper. Unbeknownst to her, a wealthy lady took the poem and had it printed in a leaflet that was distributed all over England.
Her illness didn’t improve. Once when visiting her doctor, she talked about some of her emotional struggles. He pulled from his drawer a booklet to give her words of hope. She was surprised to see she held her own words printed on the paper in her hand.
It was the very reminder she needed to know that she was accepted by God. Her heart was transformed to find true joy and praise for her Creator.
The rest of her life carefree Charlotte wrote hymns about God’s love. Over one hundred and fifty songs appeared in “The Invalid’s Hymnbook,” with Just as I Am being her spiritual autobiography.
Over seventy years after her death, it became the signature song of the Billy Graham crusade, calling millions to faith in Jesus Christ. She never knew the impact her poem had on so many lives. It is a declaration of joy in the midst of suffering and confidence in the midst of doubt.
Like the stained glass in the photo above, the pieces of our lives become beautiful when we surrender to Christ.
What a blessing that we are accepted by Creator God just as we are!
“Just As I Am”
Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O lamb of God, I come! I come!Just as I am, tho tossed about
By many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come! I Come!
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find—
O Lamb of God I come! I Come!
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!