rebelling against low expectations

Love Moved First—My Story from Blind Faith to a Transformed Life


Do you ever think you’re too far gone for God to care about you?

That you’ve done things too horrible for him to accept you? Do you think you’ve ruined your life forever, and there’s no way home, no way out?

This was the story of my life up until a few months ago.

When Love Moved First

I was raised in a Christian home, and I had prayed for Jesus to come into my heart when I was around five years old. But I didn’t really understand the message. Instead of living for Christ and making him the center of my life, I lived the same way everyone else did.

Years passed, and I probably would have continued down that broken road for years more if God hadn’t intervened… if love hadn’t moved first.

In December 2019, I attended The Teen Leadership Conference (TLC). This year’s theme was Transformed. What I didn’t realize was how it would change—transform—my life.

I was only 13-and-a-half, and TLC’s age limit is 14 minimum. Despite this, my church let me go anyway. So before I knew it, I found myself munching on cheez-it’s in a rental van motoring across Washington and Oregon.

The camp was located inside a dry valley surrounded by orange mesa rock.

The first day two days passed uneventfully, filled with orientation, and workshops, and archery tag. But the second day was what really changed me.

The message that night was certainly not the most exceptional, nor the most convicting passage. But it went right to my heart, telling me that I needed to turn my life around, now.

Only One Someone

The message was from Second Chronicles, about how Hezekiah cleansed the Temple from all the impurities and idols that the evil kings had put there before they had been overthrown. The Temple was so dirty and defiled that it had to be physically cleaned out for months. This story went deep into my mind, and all the events at the conference came together and hit me.

“My mind is just like the Temple,” I thought. “Our bodies are supposed to be temples of the Holy Spirit, but mine is filthy and dirty, like the one Hezekiah cleaned out. I’m so dirty that no one can clean it!”

Then I realized something.

“No. That’s wrong. Someone can clean it. Only one Someone.”

Jesus. Jesus Christ.

The message ended, and the speaker stepped off the stage for the band, and they started out with another hammer blow that struck my heart, derailing it off its sinful track. The song they picked? This Is Amazing Grace.

It was perfect for the moment. I realized that Jesus had sacrificed himself for me, and I was doing nothing for him. I was being a stupid, sinful idiot, going through the motions of faith but being just like everyone else inside. I had never been surer of anything else in my life.

I’m sinful, but Jesus can fix that.

This simple message impacted me so hard I almost burst into tears standing in the rows. In that moment I knew what to do. I didn’t do the normal thing, kneeling and folding my hands. I just sent up a silent message to God:

God, I’m so sorry. I don’t ever want to be the person I am again. If you’ll just take this away, I’ll serve you forever. Please!

I tried not to show it, but tears leaked from the corners of my eyes as the band switched to another song perfect for the moment: Who You Say I Am. Guess what a line of the chorus said?

“I’m a child of God, yes I am!”

In that moment, I knew God was real, and he had accepted my plea to become part of his family.

Transformed Heart, Transformed Life

Since TLC, normal life has resumed… except it’s not really normal compared to the way I used to live. I’m a transformed person now.

But the best thing is, this transformed life can happen to you, too.

Anyone who realizes the depth of their sin and asks Jesus to forgive them, and truly means it, will be welcomed into God’s family. There are no limits on who can do this, either—you don’t have to be someone special, or have to do something to earn it. This gift is so priceless that no one could ever earn it.

Before TLC, I didn’t realize how much I needed Jesus. I had blindly assumed faith since I was in a Christian family and I thought I was a good person. But I wasn’t really living for Christ. Sadly, so many people live like that. They think they’re good enough and miss out on truly accepting the incredible grace of God. They miss out on a transformed life, because they’re content with the life they already have. After TLC, I felt new. I felt like a changed person, and in that moment I knew what Jesus meant when he said those who accept him are “born again.” I felt like I had just restarted my life from scratch, except with God as the head this time. It was the best thing ever.

I walked away with one thing in my mind:

I’ve received Christ. Now I’m going to live for him.

If you’re simply coasting by, if you haven’t accepted Jesus’ free gift and truly allowed him to transform you, you can do it now. You don’t have to have a perfect prayer ready. You can just tell God you’re sorry and ask him to forgive you, and he will. He promised in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

That’s an eternal promise that will stand forever. That’s a transformed life, just a choice away. So if you haven’t taken the gift yet, what are you waiting for?

You’re just one step away.

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About the author

Samuel Robbins

is a 15-year-old Christian fantasy author from Washington State, shining the light of Christian values into a dark world through the medium of fantasy fiction. He writes novels (usually stupendously long) about broken characters walking broken roads, discovering God is all they need. He believes in the power of creative storytelling to glorify God. He is an ENFP.

1 comment

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  • UPDATE: Two years later

    Hey, all! Samuel Robbins here.
    Two years, 730 days, have showed the beautiful truth that God is always good, no matter your current circumstances. I’m now a regular worship leader at my church of attendance and making plans to study for a degree in that area at a Christian university in Tennessee. I’ve grown SO MUCH spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and (yes) physically. I have definitely been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is so good. ❤️
    Last year, I was unable to return to TLC due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For most of 2021 I have been looking forward to this year’s TLC (which will start tomorrow), but because of a freak wave of snow that covered the Pacific Northwest, I won’t be able to go. Again.
    But God has been so good to me. He has shown me that He is always, always good, through anything.
    If you didn’t know, the title of this article is taken from a song by Casting Crowns called “Love Moved First.” Another line from that same song is now my life anthem: “Now I live to tell the story of a God who rescues.”
    I pray all who read this will be blessed. Merry late Christmas. 😊 All glory be to Christ.

By Samuel Robbins
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →