As a wife, daughter, granddaughter, niece, and cousin of preachers, I have been blessed in many respects with a rich spiritual legacy. It is really a blessing to have grown up and watched men and women in my blood family as well as my blood-bought family serve God with fervor, throughout trials, and despite unbelievable odds.

But I have a very special place in my heart for those “first generation” converts–the ones who came to Christ later in life, perhaps not knowing God from childhood. Not being blessed to be raised in a Christian home. They seem to have a special spark, and I love to see it.

Later converts tend to have a better understanding of how close to the precipice of death we all stand.

Having come to Christ at a later (and perhaps more drastic point) in their lives, they have a higher sense of urgency to reach the lost. Realizing how close they came to being eternally lost, they understand and see the world around them with compassionate eyes for lost souls.

They have a special empathy for those in the “muck” of the world.

Let’s be real here. Sin makes life messy, whether in the Christian’s life or the unbeliever’s life. Sin makes things complicated, awkward, hard, tearful, and exhausting. The difference? In the Christian’s life, we have the hope of better things. The later convert really understands the unbeliever’s struggle–and the fact that they do so without the hope of heaven afterward.

They have truly counted the cost.

Later converts came from a life centered around self and sin and move to a life submerged in the blood of Christ. They “gave up” their free time on Sundays and Wednesday nights. They “gave up” their previous pastimes for service and Christian fellowship. And they also realize what a precious gift we have received in return.

They spark joy, energy, and life into the church.

Having been convicted by the Spirit to conversion, they have an incredible, burning zeal, and it is contagious. That joy spills into all parts of their lives–at work, among non-Christian family, in the community. They are a breath of fresh air and a stirring up among us.

Later converts have an incredible sense of loyalty and gratitude to their church family.

When you are converted later in life (especially as an adult), you are often left without your blood family. But in return you gain a precious gift–a blood-bought family stretching across countries, borders, and cultures. You are granted the gift of people who, like you, have an understanding of their own great debt to the One who paid it all.

I am so grateful to those “late” converted Christians in my life. You inspire me, you push me, and you humble me. I am often drawn into complacency or weariness, and you urge me to realize again the great gift God has given us, simply by your lives, steeped in the service and grace and love of God. I am thankful you are a part of my “real” blood-bought family.

Romans 5:8

Tracy Watts
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