Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee;
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

I think I first understood the gospel good news through the words of that song, in the church of my youth. I joined in singing this invitational hymn during the closing prayers of many evangelistic services, as a preacher was imploring people to come forward and accept Jesus. The phrase “just as I am” seemed to say it all. You didn’t need to have money, good looks, personal righteousness or even Bible knowledge to come to Christ; he would accept you just as you were. Even as a young boy, I took that literally and personally. When I came to my moment of conscious conversion at the age of sixteen, I felt as if the heavenly Father was welcoming me into his family unconditionally.

I recently read the story of a man who learned that when he extended this attitude toward others, it was very liberating. It began with a simple habitual part of his daily morning prayer, “Thank you, God, for my wife.” One day, he added a phrase: “Thank you, God, for my wife, just as she is.” He kept this in his prayer routine, and over time, he found that it made a difference in his attitude toward her. He was less demanding and more understanding of her feelings and ideas.

This was so effective that he began to extend this prayer practice in other directions: “Thank you, God, for my life, just as it is“; “Thank you God for my family, just as they are“; “Thank you God for my job, just as it is.” He found that his whole life was being changed by this “just-as-it-is” attitude of acceptance. He was happier, more peaceful and more satisfied. This simple positive acknowledgement has transformed his life.

Tired of hearing yourself complain? Try this man’s formula. Begin by reminding yourself that God’s acceptance of you is unconditional — just as you are. Then, start extending the same attitude toward the people and situations around you, beginning with the one who is closest: “Thank you, God, for [fill in the blank], just as she is.”

— Pastor George Van Alstine