To know of God and to know Him are two very different things. Looking back at the past 27 years of my life, everything that happened were meant to do one thing- to help me transition from knowing of Him to knowing Him. This is our story.

I was born into a Christian household. By the time I was seven, our dad asked me if I was okay with him accepting the pastoral post in our church. I eagerly said, “Yes!”

That sense of euphoria gradually faded when the reality of life as a pastor’s kid dawned on me. We were expected to dress a certain way, behave a certain way, and think a certain way.

I knew God only as a strict enforcer of laws. After all, that’s what I heard about Him. I felt like He was always watching — ready to scold me and punish me when I do something wrong. My Christian life became more about looking like the perfect Christian rather than having an intimate relationship with God.

When I graduated from our Christian grade school, we transferred to a state-supported high school. The first few months were hard. It was the first time that I was surrounded by people who didn’t share my faith. But when the initial shock faded, it was quickly replaced by a strong need to fit in.

Fitting in was easier than standing out.

All I had to do was talk like them, laugh at their jokes, and act like I didn’t care about anything. I pushed my Christian identity aside. I traded kindness for coolness and holiness for friends.

One day, my friends asked if I shared the same beliefs as the members of the Christian student organization in school. I didn’t know what to say. The members of the Christian organization were the good kids in school. They didn’t talk back to teachers, worked hard, and got good grades. I quietly shook my head and, with that small gesture, denied my faith.

My friends shrugged and went on their way, but my heart sank to my feet. Matthew 10:32-33 haunted me. The Scripture says,

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

That situation moved me to find out why it was easier to deny my faith than to share it with others. I realized that there were two reasons why I didn’t say, “Yes.” First, I was ashamed about my lifestyle. I knew that I didn’t behave as a Christian should. The second reason was because I didn’t really know what I believed in. I felt like a Christian by default. I inherited the faith of my family without having to make the decision for myself. I knew of God, but I didn’t know Him.

The next years of my life was spent getting to know God on a personal level.

I discovered that He was as gracious and loving as the Bible said He was. I asked Him to help me know Him better and He used the Scripture, people, and situations to bring me closer to Him. Knowing God on a deeper level also changed my lifestyle. It was easier to make the right choices because I was doing it for God and not for men.

Just a week ago, I had the chance to talk to one of my high school friends. In my heart, I was hoping that the conversation would lead to an opportunity to talk to her about my faith. We were just about to say our goodbyes when she asked, “So, are you a Christian?”

This time, I was ready with a reply. I said, “Yes!” a bit too loud. She smiled in surprise. I smiled and quickly followed that up with, “Do you want me to tell you more about that?”

It’s easy to tell people about Christ if and when we’ve experienced His love. Now, it’s easier for me to tell my friends about what I believe in because I don’t just know of God. I know Him. And, even more important than that, He knows me.

 

Writer’s Bio:
Lyqa Maravilla tries to live her life following these simple instructions, “Learn. Live. Teach. Repeat.” She documents her journey and shares her two cents on her blog at www.mytwocentson.wordpress.com.