As a teenager, being popular was important. Having friends was important. Standing for Truth and Jesus Christ was a sure way to face isolation and ridicule. You looked different, had a pure and wholesome sense of right and wrong, and upheld values and standards that surpassed and threatened those who would not choose to live up to your standard. It made you separate, peculiar, and ensured that so called friends would become jealous of how good you were. How many times I heard, “you are too goody, goody, to hang out with my crowd.” Rejection is difficult to swallow when you are young; however, you can’t live on your mother’s or father’s convictions or lack of convictions: you must live for God for yourself.
My older sister remembered a time when she had to stand after leaving a church service where Mama had just received the baptism of the Holy Ghost:
The only time I remember going to church with mom and Gracie was to a holiness church. Mom and I and my baby sister, Gracie, who was not walking yet, walked to church. It was white wood, wonderful church. It had a wood floor, dull paint, certainly nothing fancy, I think what impressed me the most about this wonderful place was how happy everyone was. They sang praise songs; they raised their hands, and cried and loved this same Jesus that had helped us. I still didn’t know why Jesus was great. I always felt good, happy and light when I went to this church, but who was and where was this Jesus?
One night my mom went to the altar. I went with her. My sister, Gracie, was asleep. Mom got on her knees raised her hands and she was crying and smiling at the same time. I just stared at her. I remember thinking mom looks like a Christmas light. She is shining. I now know it was the glory and anointing of Jesus on Mom. He touched her that night. I now knew that this wonderful person called Jesus, is the only begotten son of God, and it was his wonderful spirit I saw all over mama.
One day a ferocious dog tried to stop us from going to church. Gracie was sleeping in the stroller, Mama was running after a stick, and I (Jerry) faced the dog eyeball to eyeball till he left. Ha! Ha!
Sometimes you took action by “running after a big stick,” and sometimes the best thing you could do was stand and “face the dog eyeball to eyeball till he left.”
It all depends on the situation. As a Christian, we face situations that are totally beyond our control. There is no reason to hide in fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of peace and a sound mind. We all know that living in the 21st century requires having a determination to stand for Truth. Not everyone will understand your fierce passion to do the will of God in your life; but if you have walked with the Lord through treacherous waters, and are still able to stand, then, it doesn’t matter if people approve of your choices to dedicate your life to serving, Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us from utter destruction. You know that he is the right choice for your life.
I am thankful that we live in a free nation; and I pray that we don’t take our freedoms for granted. The time is short to do the will of the Father.
I remember growing up in a home where going to church meant risking being shot before walking the short distance to a church van.
The Lord always intervened on my behalf, because as I was walking, I was also praying for my daddy to turn his life over to God. My childhood dream was his salvation, and a family that arrived to church on a Sunday, together to worship; but even though God didn’t fix my situation, at the time, he always managed to cause my daddy to pass out on the porch with the loaded gun across his chest, before I came back home from Sunday School.
By the time he woke up, he had forgotten why he was even on the porch in the first place. Was I afraid? Sometimes, but my love for a relationship with Jesus Christ was so much stronger than possibly facing death, so I was compelled to live for God. I knew that the only way to survive this life was to keep on standing on what I believed.
Why wouldn’t I desire to choose someone who is loyal to me? How could I deny my only hope?
People make lame excuses for not acknowledging that God even exists, and I wonder how much it grieves the Lord to see how his ultimate sacrifice of himself is being trampled by those who deny him; yet, he still loves them, unconditionally, enough to lay down his life for them. We have a free will to choose how we will live our life; nevertheless, one day, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.”