Everyone’s life has defining moments. They can take different forms. For example, I remember where I was and what I was doing exactly 8 years ago at the moment I’m typing this: I was sitting in a service centre waiting room having the brakes on my van repaired.
Why would I remember something as relatively insignificant as vehicle repairs, 8 years ago this moment? Well, look at the calendar: today is September 11th. Aside from the fact that it’s the day before my wedding anniversary (another defining moment!), it was 8 years ago this morning that the face of terrorism in the western world took a new twist. I sat in that waiting room, watching a small television on a news channel that followed, moment by moment, the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York.
Life has not been the same since that time; you’ve noticed this especially if you’ve travelled by air, but it’s noticeable in so many other ways, too. Defining moments change our lives. The magnitude of the defining moment can change much more.
Many followers of Christ are not able to define a “moment” when they made the most important decision of their lives. I count myself among them. I can say at what point I became convinced of the claims of Christ, and decided to follow him – but I am unable to state at what point God’s grace opened that door. If I’m to believe the Scriptures, I can’t define that moment because it happened a long time before I was around: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8.29a, NIV); “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1.5a, NIV). In other words, God chose me long before I chose him. It was his grace alone that enabled me to choose him!
However, there are many followers of Christ who can define a “moment” when they decided to follow Jesus. They know the exact hour at which they made a personal commitment to believe that Jesus died and rose again for them.
Each of these approaches to faith is good. What matters is what follows.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if I can remember (or not) what I was doing on 9/11. What matters is that airport security has been improved, and there is a greater vigilance when it comes to safety in the world.
It’s not such a big deal whether or not I can remember exactly when I became a Christ-follower. What matters is whether or not my lifestyle, my belief system, and my inner life reflect the reality that I made that decision.
If you’ve made a decision, at some point in your life, to follow Jesus, is that reflected in who you are today? Ultimately, a defining moment is defined by what it leaves in its wake.