Happy Valentines day everyone 🙂 I have especially been enjoying the thought of Christ’s love for us this week. Think of Galatians 2:20
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Ok so Tim and I were at Starbucks the other day and he told me that he wanted us both to do a “story” post on our spiritual life. I enjoyed Tim’s post and through my post I want to show how God moved in my life to bring me to where I am today (including meeting Tim and starting this blog with him).
So, much like Tim, I was raised in a pretty conservative church. Except, ours went a little further than even Tim’s upbringing did. Sure, we were a suit and tie type place, but women also wore head coverings and were silent. We had no pastor because the priesthood of all believers was something we really believed in. The requirements for church membership were clear salvation and full immersion baptism and only those in fellowship are allowed to partake in communion on Sunday morning. I still attend this church and will gladly discuss why I believe God has called me to be there with anyone. Growing up this way though had its downsides. I don’t blame this on the church at all or my parents but I developed an attitude that I was better than some people because of how I was raised and certainly the kids I went to school with weren’t as good as me because I was a REAL Christian! I grew up listening to a very clear gospel ever Sunday night and usually in the summer we had special gospel meetings for an entire month every night except Saturday. I made a profession of my faith in Christ at the age of 12 (in 1999) during one of these summer meetings and held onto that for many years. Really I was only depending on my own faith to save me instead of the work of Jesus on the cross. I knew the gospel enough to give a good story and convince others I was saved. I even had myself convinced at one point. But oh the lingering doubts. I got baptized to try and suppress some doubts and then joined the local church because that is what Christians do (Forsake not the gathering of yourselves together)! But it was all a facade.
As I started college in 2005 I began to date a girl who by no means was a Christian and was into all of the things I always stood against (drinking, smoking, etc). To this day I’m still not sure why I dated her but I’m actually glad I did. This was the beginning of my REAL encounter with God. I truly believe God was using this relationship to show me what a fraud I was that I didn’t care about anything that I was claiming to believe. That is when God was speaking clearly to me, showing me daily that I had never been “born again” and I was still a sinner on my way to hell. On spring break in 2006, I was down at my parents house in NC visiting. My parents still go to a very similar church but just down there in NC. Whenever I was around them they had a joy and peace that I knew I didn’t have. I longed for it. One night I was on the back porch with my friend Daniel and we were playing some guitar together. He would play all these nice Christian songs and I would play all these secular songs I was into (this is not a sermon against secular music at all). But that spoke to me loudly, that I had no interest in this Christian life and didn’t care about God or Jesus or anything to do with the Bible.
That night I reached out to my friend Jimmy and told him what had been going on inside my head for some time. That I really had never been saved. He read some verses with me and as I was reading 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened” I realized two things. First, was that I had been depending on my own belief to get me to heaven. I had convinced myself that I had believed enough and that is what salvation really was; believing God. Second, I saw that no matter how much I believe that he suffered for sins doesn’t change the fact that he did; just like I can believe that the sun will not rise in the morning but it will not change the suns rising. I realized that the Bible says he suffered for me and if the Bible said it that it was enough for me. It wasn’t depending on my faith to save me but depending on the Bible saying that “It is finished” and there was nothing for me to do. That was March 30, 2006.
Since then my life has been perfect and I have made no mistakes….. NOT. Christianity is not perfect living, which I very quickly had to admit as the sins didn’t stop. But as we grow in our faith the desire for sin lessens and we should look more like Christ. Fortunately God has given us His spirit to accomplish this because the REAL Christian life is impossible without the Holy Spirit.
Now, how I met Tim. Actually, it comes out of a lower point in my life. It is not that I was doing anything wrong but I had some of my priorities a bit messed up. I was reading less and cared more about hanging out with friends, having fun, and going to open mics. But at Starbucks is where I met Tim and we hit it off instantly. He encouraged and strengthened my faith as he challenged me. He doesn’t go to a church like mine and doesn’t share some of my beliefs about how worship should be done but I love him anyway and he has caused me to dive deeper into Christ. I met some other cool people through him as well. I was always one to openly discuss my faith with anyone and everyone. I am not one to shove it down your throat but if you ask me about it I’m going to have an answer. I have a huge interest in Christian life, the church, apologetics, and science. All of which integrate into my pursuit of Christ. The more I talked with Tim the more I loved the challenges we brought eachother as we wrestled with what our faith means everyday.
Tim and I don’t agree on some things but we are definitely both in love with Christ and want to see him lifted up and his people encouraged to follow His example and His word. When he asked me about a blog I thought it was an excellent idea and was honored he wanted me to join him. This has been a great learning experience for me and we enjoy seeing discussion and wrestling with our readers as well. That is really our desire with the blog, to make us all sit back and think and dive into God’s word together to be a better embodiment of our Savior. We also value the opinions of those that aren’t Christians because isn’t that our commission? To go into all the world and preach the gospel? Our testimony is at stake to and we want nonbelievers to look in and see a church body that is all about love and truth and God without all the other distractions and headaches that Christians are sometimes known for. Let’s all grow together as Christians and be a light to an ever darkening world!
Thanks for reading and keep commenting!