I was never perfect and I never will be. One thing is for sure, I wasn’t always faithful. But when I look back at my life I see faithfulness to God. Many times I had to pick God over people, hobbies and lifestyles. I didn’t always remain faithful, I can’t stress that enough, but I didn’t go down this road of rebellion and destruction like you read in Luke 15 of the prodigal son. How did I do it? Not alone. Here’s who helped me…
One. My Parents personal relationship with God had a major impact on my own. I knew what faithfulness to God looked like through their relationship with Him. They were not a burden on me. They didn’t make me think twice about God. In fact, my parents and I had conversations about God all the time. We all were pursuing God so that made it easier. I had parents who were wiser and closer to God. I made it a point to push past the awkwardness and ask them questions about the Bible, God, girls and friendships. Overall, my parents made obedient choices and I was reaping the benefits. You may be reading this and saying, “Well, my parents don’t really love or serve God.” Or, you may have a tougher situation and a parent or both parents are absent in your home. I have good news for you. People everywhere are still being faithful to God because he is the greatest father of all. He’s better than my mom and dad! God also brings other people in your life to help you walk obediently in your relationship. Many people are walking with God, without parents and you can too.
Two. My Youth group played a major role in my Christian walk. I can’t remember any of the sermon’s specifically, but at that time they definitely impacted me. I remember falling to my knees in prayer and brokenness after hearing the messages from my youth pastor. Youth group was always there and it was extra time with God to help me in my most vulnerable and impressionable times of life. Through other students I was inspired and pushed by their worship and commitment to God. I learned to serve God and serve others through ministries in our youth group. I still remember at a young age when God put it on my heart to share a message to the youth ministry. From that point forward I realized God wanted me to help others fall madly in love with Him. Without youth group I’m not sure I would have a passion for ministry and God the way I do. The students in my youth group played a role and they don’t even realize it, neither did I. I guess it never really hit me that I grew in my love for others because God called me to love them. The students became a hands on training that would grow my relationship with God to another level.
Three. My youth pastor and leaders were always an inspiration. When I messed up my youth pastor was there to lift me up with the truth of God’s Word. When I needed to confess my youth pastor listened. When I needed someone in my corner, the whole leadership team was there. My youth pastor pushed me to grow and not be a status quo Christian. I have him to thank for that. I was pushed to truly follow Jesus because of his time with me.
Four. The right friends made being faithful to God much easier. Think about this. Because I surrounded myself with Christian friends I didn’t deal with as much temptation and influence to do what is unfaithful to God. I had friends who were pursuing God, which made my pursuit easier. Is following Jesus easy? Not at all. But when you follow Jesus in a pack like the disciples, there is strength, and “a chord of three strands is not easily broken” (Eccl 4:12).
Five. I had the privilege of attending our church’s private school, Calvary Christian Academy for my education until 9th grade. My private school helped me get a great education, a strong Biblical worldview and a core group of God-fearing friends. When I went into High School I was ready to battle and face testing. Now, Calvary Christian Academy offers a high school education. We don’t realize how much an education and the influence of our schools play a role in our spiritual formation. We spend 40+ hours in schools, ideas and convictions will be shaped. I’m thankful God established a school in our church which gave me a foundation that still benefits my life.
Six. The Bible was my life-line in the trials and peace of following Jesus. I fell to my knees on a regular basis to read my Bible beside my bed. I found the words within the Bible to be my guide in all situations. If I didn’t read the Bible I would have had no idea who I love and what I believe. God’s Word convicted me, broke me down in tears, lifted me up from despair and was a shield against the enemy. I truly found the words of Psalm 119:11 to be true: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” I could go on about the Bible’s role in my life as a teen but it would take an entire book.
Seven. God. His grace. His mercy. His sovereign plan in my life. God brought these incredible people into my life and provided my family with an incredible church. Ultimately, all the praise and glory goes to my Heavenly Father. When we are faithless, he is still faithful. I learned my faithfulness more from God than anyone else. As a young man I dug through the Bible and discovered that God was faithful to everyone, even his enemies. How is that so? Well, he said he would forgive Nineveh, one of many enemies of God, if they repented. When Nineveh repented, he was faithful to His word. When God said he would destroy a nation for fighting against His people He followed through, as gloomy as that sounds it still showed faithfulness. He is faithful, it’s who He is. The faithfulness in me, is Jesus living in me. The Holy Spirit has taught me and empowered me to live a faithful life and he started helping me when I gave my life to God and surrendered my life over to Him as a young man. I encourage you to do the same and then learn from God what it means to be faithful.
When I think about it more, it wasn’t really my faithfulness, but the faithfulness of God to me.