Home > Uncategorized > Twenty-Five Years as a Christian

Twenty-Five Years as a Christian

By Richard Zowie

NOTE: This column originally appeared in Saworship.com in 2006, 25 years after I became a Christian.

As you’ve probably guessed from the title of this column, I became a Christian 25 years ago. In October 1981 in Alvin, Texas, our pastor came to our home and led me and my father to the Lord. A week or so earlier, a minister preaching on how Jesus was the only way to God had shaken me out of my cocoon of innocence; children normally are considered “safe” until they reach the age of accountability, and I was starting to realize that I had an eternal choice to make. I thank God that I made the right choice.

How time flies! It seems like only yesterday that I was a young lad, taking my navy blue paper-bound King James Bible to church and learning about Bible characters in both the Old and New Testaments. Now, I’m an adult who takes a hard-cover Zondervan King James Study Bible to church and still tries to learn about Bible characters along with doctrines. Back then, I went to Children’s Church. Now, my wife Jennifer and I teach Children’s Church and assist in Awana. Life’s full circle is indeed funny.

In my two-and-a-half decades, I’ve had many spiritual ups and downs. For several years after getting saved, my attendance at church was off-and-on. I can remember returning to church at 16 after several months of spiritual inactivity, my life changed by a youth conference I’d attended that summer. I stayed on fire after that, attending church and trying to serve God however I could. I kept up my walk with the Lord at Pensacola Christian College and in the military, where I made it a point to attend chapel even during basic training.

Because I’m not really a morning person, the battle for 30 more minutes of sleep versus having devotions is one I fight daily. After I left the service and would sometimes work three jobs to make ends meet, I spent almost three years completely out of church. My pathetic excuse: working more than 60 hours per week didn’t leave me with time to worship God. Finally, I wised up and got back into church. I realized that I was cheating myself out of a relationship with God, and when you consider that people die and go to hell every day and that there are countless Christians who need encouragement and growth, excuses are worth as much as a bounced check. If there’s one thing about heaven that I’m absolutely certain about, it’s that no excuses will work-whether used by Christians at the Judgment Seat of Christ or especially by non-Christians at the White Throne Judgment.

Christians who share their faith get opportunities to lead someone to the Lord or to help be a blessing to someone. I’ve had the privilege of leading people to the Lord, and occasionally I receive an e-mail from someone telling me how much they enjoyed reading one of my columns. One of the reasons that I write My Two Shekels is to serve the Lord by trying to share Biblical truths with the saved and unsaved alike.

Over the years, I’ve seen God work in incredible ways:
* A man who was a self-described alcoholic getting saved and completely turning his back on alcohol. He later became related to me by marriage and is now a well-respected businessman.

* Bringing my wife Jennifer into my life.

* Bringing me back from depression, where I dwelt for a few weeks many years ago and came close to making a terrible decision.

* Providing for us countless times when we had only a few dollars-and sometimes only change-in our bank account.

* Allowing us to move up to Michigan despite our shoestring budget.

* Bringing Jennifer back to full health. Earlier this year, Jennifer had an ovarian abscess that burst, resulting in a near-fatal strep infection that sent her into septic shock and a high fever. She ended up getting an emergency hysterectomy and spent weeks in a hospital intensive care unit in very critical condition. One doctor told us that Jenn was as sick as a person could get without dying.

* Allowing the Bible to become clearer the more I read it.

And after 25 years, it goes without saying that there are plenty of things I’ve learned:

* The more resolved you are to live for the Lord, the harder Satan will work to thwart your efforts. If you find many obstacles in your path to serve God, although you attend church and have devotions, keep one thing in mind: Satan doesn’t bother the dormant, complacent Christians. If you’re having troubles, you must be on to something that terrifies the Father of Lies.

* Regret is something you should do only enough to learn from a mistake, and I’ve made plenty. One of my biggest regrets is that my lack of interpersonal skills has led me to miss plenty of opportunities to be a more effective witness for Christ.

* Be careful not to be judgmental over a visitor or even a fellow Christian who acts differently or doesn’t seem to dress correctly (at least not by your standards). Jesus spent much of His earthly ministry associating with the undesirables of his culture. Besides, you never know if you’re dealing with the next C.S. Lewis, Steven Curtis Chapman or Dr. Chuck Swindoll.

* Life is far too short to be wasted on the minor, insignificant issues. If the Bible gives no clear principle for an issue, whether directly or indirectly, then the best thing to do when encountering someone of a different opinion is to agree to disagree and move on.

* Fewer things are more destructive in a church than when Person A has an issue with Person B, but instead of talking to Person B, they choose to tell everyone else in the church.

* Two verses in the Bible that should be used when dealing with people: Proverbs 18:19: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and their contentions are like the bars of a castle” and Jude 22: “And of some have compassion, making a difference…”

* Faith is something I’m still learning on a daily basis, and I expect to be doing so for a very long time.

* I still have a lot to learn about life, people, women, theology, apologetics, church history and-most important of all-the Bible.

From here, I move on from my silver anniversary in Christ and work toward my golden anniversary in 2031, when I’ll be 58. Assuming I’m alive and that the rapture hasn’t taken place, I hope to be able to have fewer regrets and much wisdom to impart. Time will tell.

Time will tell for us all.

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