I grew up in a strict Christian family when I was a kid, my parents were (and still are) very spiritual and strong Christians, for better or for worse it was a sheltered life. I’m not saying being sheltered was a bad thing, just giving you a little insight on how I was raised. From the eyes of a little kid being a Christian was going to church, praying before you ate your food, before your went to bed, following the rules and getting baptized.
I was baptized at a young age; I didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t want to be baptized. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing like any good young Christian, I wish I had waited. A little while later I got caught up in the middle of some church politics and experienced my first buffeting in my faith. I couldn’t understand why anyone who professed to follow Christ would act so un-Christ like.
For many years I allowed this to affect me, I floundered along spiritually through high school and college. I would have spiritual highs during week of prayers and times spent with my high school Chaplin Fred Riffel, but they wouldn’t last long. I would refer to my Christianity during those years as lukewarm. I still went to church, I still prayed, but the zeal for Jesus wasn’t there.
After college I wasn’t able to find a job. I applied, interviewed but never got a job, it was a hard time for me. The positive of the situation was that it gave me time to spend with my grandparents. During morning worships I saw just how close to God they were, I knew of the struggles they had earlier in their life and how they overcame them with God’s help and it pointed to their being hope for me. I talked at length to my grandpa (Poppie) one day while golfing about my past; he asked me why I would let anyone affect a relationship that they weren’t involved in? “What does anyone in the church have to do with your relationship with Jesus Christ?” he asked.
It started to hit me that I was allowing outside forces that were not directly involved mold my relationship with God.
It’s been over six years since that talk, but I won’t forget it. It was a turning point for me in my relationship with God. Luckily I didn’t have to travel it alone, I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my grandparents between 2009 and 2012. Having worship every morning with them was a big help for me. I started having my own worships when I wasn’t with them, whether it was reading a chapter of Proverbs or reading devotionals.
The time with my grandparents taught me a lot of what being a Christian really was, it wasn’t just following rules and going to church. It’s about building a relationship with God and then doing what Jesus did when he was here, he went about doing good. Following Jesus and focusing on a relationship produces the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
Would I go back and change my past? Absolutely not, all the up and downs led me to where I am now in my spiritual walk with God. I would advise others though to take your decisions about God seriously, don’t let others come between you and him. Make those decisions for yourself, don’t feel rushed, God will meet you where you are at, focus on building a relationship with him and everything else will fall into place.
As I have grown older my idea of what being a Christian has changed from what it was when I was little. I now see that Christianity is more than just praying before my meals, my bedtime and going to church. It is about having an undisturbed vertical relationship with God, and allowing him to use me to do good to others.
My grandparents have taught me so much in my walk with Christ and I want to share the wisdom he has shared with me. Below I’ve added a list my grandpa gave me that has helped over the years; it is what my grandpa has attributed his relationship with God to. I hope they help you too!
The Gospel of Joy and Happiness according to Poppie
- Have a thankful heart
- Have a forgiving spirit
- Have a child like trust in God
- Have an optimistic attitude
- Give more-expect less
- Live simply
- Love generously
- Care deeply
- Speak kindly
- Free your heart from hatred and your mind from worries. Worry is pain suffered for something that hasn’t happened and most likely won’t
- Get in the word-Bible- morning worship
- 12 Leave the rest to God
I hope you have enjoyed this awesome post from Josh. I love what he said about being in a vertical relationship with God. Take a moment to really think about your relationship with God. Are you vertically lined up with God? This is the second post in this series that gives the awesome wisdom of “Poppie” and I hope to meet him some day.
If you have not caught the other posts in the “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith series” you can read the other posts by going to the tab in the menu bar and clicking on the series name. Blessings from the Midlife Domestic Goddess