I grew up in a Christian household and I can remember exactly where I was saved. For as long as I can remember, I was going to Sunday school and talking about Jesus wherever I went. My mom says I was her "little evangelist" because I was constantly telling people and being a light in my kindergarten and early elementary school years about Jesus. There came a point where we could start going to youth group. My brother and I didn't know anybody there so we decided to invite some of our friends. By the end, we had a total of about twenty of us going and it was incredible! Looking back, this was one of the greatest acts of love we could have done. They would learn about all these great things like how they are sons and daughters of the king, being bold in their faith, having faith in the hard times, how Gods love never fails, and overall how we just need Jesus. To invite our friends to get a chance to know Jesus is an incredible blessing and something us as believers should never take advantage of.
As our middle school youth group days were coming to an end and we could graduate to high school youth group, some of our friends started leaving. They didn't want to keep learning about Jesus, our King of kings, Lord of lords. That was the start of our road. This road of living a life for Christ, little did we know, was going to be a challenging one. Middle school is when I really knew I needed Jesus. I wasn't necessarily being powered by Christ but I knew that I would need to be because middle school was rough to say the least. I was awkward, full of self doubt, insecure, and overall didn't know who I was. It was hard to know who I was because I still hadn't grasped onto who's I was. I always had a bracelet on that said "I Am Not Ashamed" based off of the movie with the same name. It really helped me to share my faith but I wasn't as good as I used to be in my kindergarten/early elementary school years.
Middle school had ended and we were no longer the top dogs of school. We were back at the bottom of the food chain and we were terrified. I had become shy and no longer verbalized my faith. I had a hard time knowing my worth. It wasn't until I received a shirt from Joshua1.com that said "Ya'll need Jesus" that I had been more outspoken about my faith. I would wear that shirt to become more courageous as much as I could and it was crazy how much attention it got. Some people said they loved the shirt! After a while, I felt like a warrior for Christ because of how much I was able to talk about it. I was a true Jesus Man! But then there were some that didn't enjoy it so much. I had some teachers that would make fun of it almost every time I wore it. I was criticized for my faith. I was called homophobic, hateful, racist, hypocritical and more just because of what I believed in. But I know that I would be alright because the Bible says we're going to be hated because the world hated him so I knew I was doing something right. It didn't make it any easier though. I knew that I had to continue to be patient and do everything in love. I knew that I had to trust in Gods unfailing love because He had and still has a plan for my life. He knew exactly all that would happen.
As I gave high school a final farewell, the journey for college began. Summer was gone in a flash and before we knew it, we were off. It was very comforting to know that we would be going to a Christian University but that doesn't mean that there haven't been challenges. So far I have been able to love God and love people to the best of my ability but there have been times where it has gotten very difficult. In these times, it's important to remember that you need to remain walking in love and glorifying Yahweh in everything that you do. No matter the circumstance, God is in control. Have faith that these storms will pass because they will.
I share this because I want you to know that life won't be easy as a Christian but everything you experience during this walk will strengthen you and build you up into the man or woman that God wants you to be. Through Jesus you can experience genuine joy in times where it seems just out of reach. So, if you're feeling discouraged or you're in a pit, let's do this together, because we can't do this alone!
By: Tyler Dixon