I Surrendered My Life to God
-Joel Hammett

I Surrendered My Life to God

My name is Joel Hammett, and this is my story.

Hello. My name is Joel Hammett, and this is the story of how I found peace with God. 

I was born into a home where my parents were Christian, and I grew up attending church several times a week. The atmosphere in my home growing up was Godly, and I learned a lot of facts about the Bible. I was taught from the Bible about the holy laws of God and how God saw me as guilty of violating His laws and in need of salvation (salvation is a Bible term that speaks of being rescued from your sinful condition). Growing up, I knew the “right” thing to do was to profess to be saved and live a good life. I thought salvation was just something to check off a list of duties. I thought of salvation like a get-out-of-hell-free card.

As a young child, I did not understand clearly what it meant to be saved from my sins. I thought that all that was needed to be saved was to pray and say something about wanting to be saved, to ask God to not let me go to hell. At age 10, I prayed a prayer like that and thought for a few years that everything was ok between me and God.  The problem was that I had never surrendered my life fully to Jesus. I had never placed my faith in Him alone to save me or confessed that I was a sinner in need of salvation. After I prayed this prayer, nothing in my life changed; I had no desire to abstain from sin. My life was made up of me sinning and not caring about it. I didn’t worry that my sin hurt God or that I was supposed to live a life free from sin.
"The problem was that I had never surrendered my life fully to Jesus. "

This state of things led to an utter disregard of God and His Word. I just didn’t care. If something sinful pleased me, consider it done. I John 2:15 says, “If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” In this state of mind, I started looking for other things to fill my mind, to push God out of my mind, and I succeeded for a while. I distanced myself from thoughts of God. I filled my thoughts with worldly, carnal thoughts, pushing God away. 

But God was merciful and did not cease to send conviction to my heart. Some people around me challenged me about my relationship with God and how I was not demonstrating the fruits of salvation. They challenged me with verses like 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 7:10: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new... For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” After salvation, there should be a change in one’s life: a significant change. A true mark of salvation is Godly sorrow over your sin. Godly sorrow is when you feel pain in your heart because you know you hurt God and broke His law. I had never experienced Godly sorrow for my sin: mine was all worldly sorrow, sorrow caused only because I was caught and punished. 

"The hard part of salvation is surrendering to God, allowing Him to take control of your life."
Growing up in a Christian family, I knew the Gospel, and I knew how to be saved. I knew everything I needed to; I just didn’t want to surrender to God. Salvation is simple: confess your sins, repent of them, and place your faith in Jesus Christ as the only possible hope of a relationship with God. The hard part of salvation is surrendering to God, allowing Him to take control of your life. I stayed in this state of non-surrender for a couple of years, until August of 2018.

One day in August of 2018, I heard a message from Romans chapter 10. This chapter teaches extensively about people who know the facts of the Gospel but fail to believe it. The Lord used this message to show me that I was in danger of being judged by God because I knew the Gospel but was choosing not to respond. I knew after I heard that message that something needed to be done. I decided that day, August 28th, 2018, to surrender my life to God. I prayed to God, confessing that I was a sinner and had broken His law. I put my faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to be saved from God’s eternal, righteous wrath that I deserved because of my sin.

This time, there was a change in my life. Godly sorrow is now present each and every time I sin. I have a desire to live a life free from sin, and the Lord gives me the strength to do so, when I choose to yield to the desires of the Holy Spirit. Of course, I still fail, but the Lord is rich in mercy and continues to sanctify my life. I can go to Him in prayer, seeking His help and strength. I know I have a relationship with God, because I have obeyed the Gospel that is declared in the Bible.  How about you?  Do you have a real relationship with God?