10 Reflections after 42 Years of Following Christ

It was 42 years ago today that God saved me. It was, in fact, the first time I attended church. I went because a seventh-grade classmate had hounded me about Christ, and I thought going once would get him off my back. Little did I know, though, that God was up to something in my life. He saved me and so clearly called me to preach that day that my entire life changed. Since that time, here are some things I’ve learned:

  1. God is always faithful to me even when I’m not always faithful to Him. I am so grateful that He holds my hand and not the other way around. He has never let me go, even when I’ve tried to run.
  2. Without discipleship, we can flounder for a long time. I did. Actually, I struggled the first decade of my spiritual walk when I had no one to walk beside me. We almost always flounder when we battle alone.
  3. Some temptations never fully go away. At least, they haven’t fully gone away for me. God has graciously granted me grace for victory, but that doesn’t mean the temptations have left. I daily, moment-by-moment need Him.
  4. Victory – over even the most tenacious sins – is possible. It really is. Trust me. Temptations still come, but God gives sweet victory. He wants us to live so victoriously that the world sees His power. 
  5. Prayer is really hard. I love prayer, and I’ve written about it. To be honest, however, I, too, have to fight hard to be a prayer warrior. I’m still growing in this area.
  6. His Word can become sweeter to us. That’s what has happened to me. My desire and love for reading the Word have grown exponentially, but that growth has occurred primarily in the last several years. I’ve written daily devotions available on this site for only the last two years.  
  7. We need a church family. I’ve always attended church since my conversion. It’s been more recent, though, that I’ve realized just how much I need brothers and sisters in Christ to help me walk faithfully.
  8. Marriage is part of God’s discipleship plan. I got married at age 30, and I was sure I knew what marriage was about. I was wrong. This thought is not original  with me, but God uses marriage to make us holy; happiness is only a by-product of that process.
  9. The gospel really does speak to life and death. I’m 55 years old, and I’ve found God to be faithful every day of my walk with Him. I hope He gives me a long life, but I’m also not worried at all about death. There’s transforming freedom in life when death is not a threat.
  10. God doesn’t need me. In my early days as an arrogant believer and then young church leader, I was sure I was God’s gift to His church. I’ve since learned otherwise. This wonderful journey is not about me.

God is good. So very good.


  • John W Carlton says:

    Dr. Lawless I loved your sharing your perspective and experiences. May I add mine. I was saved at the age of 5 1/2. It was a natural thing as I tell people that I went to church 9 months before I was born because Mama was playing the piano and Dad was either leading the music or singing in the choir. It was a natural process for me.

    The biggest reflection that I have is when I went to college and fell in “love,” or at least I thought it was. I graduated from high school at age 16 and began college on my 17th birthday. My main interest was not in studies but meeting all of the co-eds at a large state university.

    About my sophomore year I met this young lady and had my first real puppy love. We dated for 2 years, and while we were dating she asked me to go with her to the 6 classed in the LDS church. She was a token Baptist, but didn’t attend regularly. I did go with her, and it was wonderful to see how God would put His Word in my memory every time those young LDS missionaries would present a heresy. I tried to compromise my beliefs but they were ingrained by the Holy Spirit and I could not turn my back on them and accept this Cult’s teachings.

    Because of inferior grades I had to drop out of college because of my academics. I didn’t realize at the time, but God was leading me to go into the USAF. This was in 1966, and I went to basic training in Texas in May. After basic I went to Denver, CO, for tech school. There the 1st SBC Church of Denver loved my back into the Kingdom. In October of ’66 I came home with all intentions of asking this girl to marry me. Every time I thought that the time was right, something torpedoed it, and I didn’t.

    I went back to CO and went to talk with a Baptist chaplain. I have forgotten his name, but along with the 1stFBC congregation and him I rededicated my life to Christ. This really has more meaning to me than my salvation experience because at age 20 I understood more of what I was doing. Also I was on my own, and I wasn’t trying to please Mom and Dad–this was my decision.

    I’ll fill in more later. Sorry for the long post.

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