Friday, June 12, 2009

Journey Home - Part 2 - Christian Maturity

Well this post is long overdue.  It is a continuation of my journey home story that I started with Journey Home - Part 1 - Choosing a Tradition.

After high school, I decided to attend Aquinas College in Grand Rapids MI.  Looking back now, it was one of the best decisions of my life, and I recognize the hand of God at work there.  I was pretty immature when I started college.  Most people would have looked at me and thought that I was mature, and in some ways, I was.  But in the most important way - my Christian and spirtual life - I had a lot of growing up to do.

Even though I had attended all of the Christian schools and had all of those religion classes, my faith life was very weak.  I knew a lot about God and I knew Scripture very well, however my life did not reflect that  knowledge.  My decisions and my behavior and the things that I got into would have made people wonder if I knew Christ at all.  Don't get me wrong, if you would have seen me or if you would have known me then, you would not have been able to tell the sinful life that I was living, but I definitely had things that I had to yet overcome.

It was not until my Sophmore year of college that things started to turn around for me.  My new roommate, Xaviar, had a big impression on my life.  Xaviar was truly a God fearing man.  I knew that he put God first in his life.  One of the things that he asked me when he first started Aquinas was which church did I go to.  Xaviar, coming from Jamaica by way of New York, was not familiar with the area, and wanted to know where he should go to worship God.  Now at this time, I was not going to church that often.  I may have gone a total of 5 times my freshman year of college, but that was about it.  Trying to be a good role model, him and I started to visit churches in the area, and ended up finding a really good Pentecostal Church that him and I felt comfortable going to.  I stayed a member of Renaissance C.O.G.I.C. until I became Catholic.

Xaviar was not the only person that had a huge influence on my spirtual development in college.  My lovely wife to be, then just my friend, had a great impact as well.  Her and I were literally the best of friends.  I saw her go through relationships and she saw me go through relationships.  She was a cradle-Catholic (meaning born and raised Catholic), but I decided to look past that.  Of course her and I would get into deep theological conversations regarding Scripture Alone and Faith Alone, and unfortunately, I would always win those arguments - which just delayed even further me joining the Catholic Church.  When our relationship became more romantic in nature, I made it clear to her that if we were to ever get married, I would never become a Catholic.  Well, you know what they say..."never say  never".

Without going into too much detail, something happened while I was in college that made me reevaluate how I was living and the decisions that I was making.  This event's outcome would have changed my life forever.  All of the dreams that I had would have had to stay just that - dreams never to be realized.  Is it really just human nature to turn to God especially when you need Him?  If it is human nature or not, I really needed Him, and needless to say, my prayer life increased tremendously.  I prayed for His Mercy - knowing full well I didn't deserve it.  I prayed to completely change my life and the decisions that I was making.  I prayed long and hard for a very long time.  And He decided to give me His Mercy.

From that point on, my relationship with God changed.  I went from being an immature Christian with head knowledge only to a mature Christian living his faith.  I stopped making bad decisions and I put all of my head knowledge to work.  I started to live my faith.  God became a guiding light for me.  Not just someone that I went to when I was in trouble, but someone that I could go to anytime.  To thank him and to apologize for my sins and to seek his forgiveness and mercy.  I did not become perfect, but my attitude about life and how I was going to live it became more of a reflection of the gift of faith that I received from my mother and all of the Christian Religious Education classes that I received.  I knew right from wrong, and at this point, I was going to try harder to do what was right.

1 comment:

TomJahncke said...

Great post! I always find it amazing how God works through people to bring others to himself. Thanks for sharing!