I get questions every once in a while about how I became a Christian. When I joined my church some years back, I was asked frequently on “when” I accepted Christ as my Savior. At the time, I felt a little pinned down because I didn’t have an exact date like some of the others I knew. October 21, 1981, someone would proclaim, June 6, 1997, another had, and January 12, 1969 another would say.
I was very blessed, because God has always been a part of my life. This is mainly due to my parents who raised my sister and me in a Christian household, sent us to Christian schools and would insert God somehow into fights when they got bad. We sinned just like any other family, but being educated on the bible, going to church every Sunday and surrounding ourselves with other Christian families gave me a closeness to God since day one.
With all of that being said, I can say there was a time in my life where I feel my relationship with God increased its intimacy. In the later 1990’s two things happened in my life. First, I met my wife and she really turned up my sensitivity to how a Christian should live. She grew up similar to me, and we had talk after talk about our faith, and the impact it made on our lives. The second thing which happened was we started to attend another church, outside of the ones we attended all through our lives up to that point.
My goal of this entry is not to rip apart the churches we used to go to. I have some distinctions I want to share about that, and I’ll cover that in another post. The point I want to make here is that the church we started to attend put more emphasis on the “relationship” you have with God, as opposed to the “rituals” you do every Sunday (and every other day throughout the week). Once again, this is not to say that the churches we went to were “bad”… their focus was just more authentic I believe. But, as I said before, I’ll cover that in another post.
This church educated me on a very simplistic way to live a Christ centered life, and by talking to me in plain English, I was able to start “living” that way the second I left the church building. By having the Pastor say during the message that he sins just as much as I do blew me away. Relating every part of my life, from physical to mental to financial, to how God wants us to live our lives made things so practical, it helped me grow everyday. Although every teaching was completely bible based, the messages (sermons) cut out the scripture jargon which clouds our ability to relate its important lessons to daily life.
My wife and I would sometimes talk about these lessons for days, and in all honestly, many times the messages held me at a level of accountability which I had never really had before. I could no longer say, “Hey, I’ve been to church almost every Sunday for the last 25+ years of my life”… or “Do you know how many Bible classes I had to take in college?”. What mattered was how was I living my life TODAY? How is God affecting my life TODAY? How am I living better TODAY, knowing what God has done for me?
“TODAY”, I have a long way to go to live the life which God expects of me. I fall way too short, even on my “good” days. God is way to gracious to me, for all of the crap that I’ve pulled. And having the main person in my life, my wife, who I can share this with, and a church which fills me every Sunday was, and is key to my personal growth in Christ.
So there it is. Where I’ve been, and where I am now, in a couple paragraphs. I’m finding out in writing this, that I think we all (me included) need to continue to ask where we are in our spiritual journeys and where we are going. I don’t care if you’re the Pope, or a person who considers themselves so far away from God that you don’t know where to start. We all need to start with a simple question: “You are where?”. Simply writing down what you believe today can help you start down the path to where you are going.