Up until a few weeks ago, I was a lukewarm Christian at best. I loved the Lord, but I wasn't living like a Christian should. I wasn't reading my Bible regularly, I wasn't studying it, I prayed once every few days at best, and usually only when I needed something. But, through a combination of events, Christ has grabbed me by the lapels and told me, in no uncertain terms, that my days of passive belief are over.
Perhaps some backstory is in order.
I came to know the Lord when I was in the third grade. That was the year I started attending a private Christian school in San Juan Capistrano. I spent the next four years driving my jaded, cynical father crazy. We argued about creation, the divinity of Christ, and who knows what else. At one point, when I was in the fourth grade, he even called my school to complain about what they were teaching me. It was a Christian school. What did he expect?
The day he called, I remember coming back in from recess and seeing the principal waiting for me. Now, I was a Christian, and I was a good kid, but trouble tended to follow me, so this wasn't the first time the principal had been waiting for me to return from recess. It usually wasn't anything good.
But this time, he walked up to me, with a look of respect and admiration on his face, and he reached out and shook my hand. He told me he'd had a conversation with my father. He congratulated me for fighting the good fight, for keeping the faith, for being a soldier of the Lord.
It's a moment I'll never forget.
Sadly, by the time I entered the eighth grade, my parents could no longer afford the private school, and I started attending public schools. Surrounded by drugs, alcohol, and with no church to go to (I was the only believer in my family, after all), I started to backslide. By the time I was in high school, I was a self declared agnostic, and I was a punk. I was lost.
It was in high school that I met my future wife (now my ex). She had had a strict religious upbringing, and was rebelling against it. That was one of the things on which we bonded. We laughed at the stupid Christians, believing in their magic sky pixie.
I continued living like that until I was about twenty, when, through a close friend (thank you, Mitchell, wherever you are), I again found my faith.
Though I had rediscovered my faith, I remained lukewarm, paying lip service to the Lord. I talked the talk, but I didn't walk the walk. Things got better when I found a church in Michigan that welcomed me in whole-heartedly, with open arms and with open hearts (Delta Community Christian Church, I'll love you guys forever). But I still wasn't the Christian I should have been.
I've since moved away from that church, and some of my friends were concerned I might begin to slide again. They were right to be concerned. But it was when I moved back to California that something amazing happened. It was like a switch got flipped. I felt the Lord calling me. I felt Him at work inside me. Don't you leave me, Sergio Di Martino, he said. I felt a fire inside. I felt, and still feel, the Holy Spirit burning inside me. The Lord directed me to a new church. They have welcomed me with open arms, and with open hearts. I feel the Spirit at work there, like I did at DCCC. And He moves me. I wish to commune with Him daily. I wish to know Him more. I wish to be with Him at every moment. I wish to walk with Him always.
The way is hard. The devil works against me at every turn. He tries to keep me from getting out of bed in the morning when it's time for the morning watch. He keeps me so busy that it's hard to find time to study the Bible. He tries to fill my heart with anger and with evil, that he may push me away from the Lord.
The way is hard, but that just makes me more committed. I will walk with the Lord always, and nothing, not even the devil himself, will ever seperate me from Him again.
Until the next post,