On December 7th, 1983, at twenty-one years of age, I became a Christian. My conversion was similar to that of Saul of Taurus’ in that it was radical, dramatic and I didn’t come willingly. No, I didn’t hear voices from heaven, I wasn’t on horseback, and no, I didn’t receive some apostolic anointing. My point is that I sure as heck wasn’t on some spiritual quest looking for answers to life’s deepest questions when God collided with moi.
Rather, I was looking to get high, get laid and get by and that was it. I didn’t want to be good, better my life, or follow Jesus. I was a Judas Priest, Hell Bent For Leather-type who was one audition away from the lead role in Beavis and Butthead. Yes, I was a Beavis. But God had other plans for my life and dragged my sorry backside into his glorious kingdom on that fateful day, and I am forever grateful for that.
Being a hellion who’d never been to church until several months after I became a Christian, I wanted to share my new found faith and transformation with my unwashed buddies that I ran with and also with those whose lives I had greatly destroyed via me advocating they do the bad, oft times, criminal crap that I did.
Several of my running buddies were converted to Christ via my testimony. Several of them were stunned by my tale and several of them told me to ‘blank off’ and decided to deride my conversion and decry the gospel, Jesus, and the existence of God.
A couple of my ‘friends’ actually attempted to get me back to the dark side by sending hot chicks to seduce me and tried to tempt me with some of the most potent skunkweed on the planet and some of the best Peruvian flake known to mankind.
Knowing my weakness towards the twain, I did what any weak believer would do and got the heck out of Dodge and away from those soul traps. Of course, they called me a ‘pussy’ and mocked me as a ‘dumb-ass’ that was ‘missing the best partying years of my life.’
Once I started going to church, I would tell my older Christian bros about the brutal verbal dress down I was getting from guys and gals who weren’t too keen on me following Christ. My elder brethren would tell me that I was ‘Blessed when I got persecuted’ (Mt.5:10) for following the way of the Master. They would tell me, ‘Let the morons mock, just stay your course and God’ll pay you back for your faithfulness to him amidst opposition’. So, being the Texas Christian that I was, I cowboyed on not giving a crap about what folks thought as I sought to please God rather than men.
Fast-forward thirty-one years to 2014.
As a fifty-one year old Christian, who has had massive highs and deep abasing lows in the last three decades following God, I can tell you young squabs that are new in the faith, that God has blessed me indeed.
From the grace that sustains me, to the woman I married, to the amazing alpha daughters He’s given me, to a brilliant son-in-law, to making a living doing what I absolutely love, to world travel, to knowing some of the coolest and most powerful patriots on the planet; this former drug abusing redneck is stunned regarding how blessed he is. I cannot believe that for one second I could have cared what my naysaying ‘buddies’ thought about how I should live, versus living by God’s holy prescription, in light of what I know now.
What’s funny is, looking back in hindsight, when I was getting all the smack for following Christ, my ‘cool’ male and female friends looked like they were having a great time and I looked like some freak staying at home, reading my bible and going to studies while they were out lighting up the town.
Now, with the advent of Facebook, I have had several of these persecutors who tried to get me away from God ‘friend’ request me. Some of them I let back into my life; others, eh … not so much.
What’s interesting, especially regarding the ones who gave me the most hell about how I was missing out on all of the fun by following God, is that for the last three decades, their lives have been utterly cursed. I’m talking about one horrendous tragedy after the other, and some of these folks are doing the same stupid junk we used to do on weed and Lone Star back in high school. Several of the smarmy God bashers are now dead, having died horrendous, godless, deaths.
Which brings me to this point, young Christian: never give a flying flip what some person thinks about how you should live your life. That’s between you and the word of God. Stand your ground. Walk alone if you have to. Blow off the blowhards who crap on your convictions and your desire to reach higher and deeper and follow God fully. God will bless you tremendously and will sort your enemies out, for sure.
Lastly, this warning goes out to those who ridicule and persecute those who have an unfeigned faith in Christ Jesus: I’d watch what you say and I’d think twice before mocking a sincere believer, because God has foresworn to curse those who curse his followers (Gen.12:3). What I have seen via Facebook and through the grapevine is that God keeps his word and his paybacks are … well … you know what they say about paybacks.
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