Monday is my birthday.
But the significance this year holds far deeper meaning. It also marks the 50th anniversary of becoming a Christian.
For the uninitiated, that represents more than a few layers.
From a very young age, I learned about spiritual things like faith in God and his son, Jesus, through messages and perhaps one of life’s best manuals, the Bible.
Becoming a believer was not forced upon me nor did it happen by chance, with my parents and relatives patiently waiting until I was old enough to choose to take on a religion — the behaviors were modeled for me.
My mom and dad, as well as my grandparents before them, did not verbally beat me into submission. Instead, they simply, quietly and consistently practiced what they preached.
They didn’t have to convince us that God loved us — we learned it by osmosis, as they demonstrated that unconditional love every day of their lives.
Nor did they have to force us to turn the other cheek, do unto others as we would have them do unto us or forgive — because we had a living testament in our house reflecting that example.
I know I’ve shared it before, and as unbelievable as it may sound, it will always be true. I never heard my parents raise their voices at one another, call each other names or say malicious and hurtful things to or about them, or any of us.
So in many ways, the decision to become a Christian was as natural as saying we wanted to be more like those we were related to.
How blessed and fortunate I was to have such role models. It definitely made it easier to understand God’s mercy and Jesus’ forgiveness, seeing as how I got a bird’s eye view of it in my home every day.
But here’s the interesting thing.
Just because I chose to walk the aisle and make a profession of faith on that Sunday morning in 1971 at Love Memorial Baptist Church, a church mission planted in Mar Mac by Madison Avenue Baptist Church, where I was baptized a few months later, did not make me a Christian.
Nor did it allow me to achieve instant perfection.
In fact, all these many years I continue to be far short of that mark. I guess you could say I’m still working on becoming a Christian.
For in its strictest sense, being a Christian actually translates to being Christ-like, so in that regard I am definitely a work-in-progress.
It’s rather like tidying up for company. As the sun filters in through the blinds, suddenly you notice you missed a spot while dusting.
Yep, every day we probably miss a spot or two. But we keep trying, and through God’s grace, hopefully get a little closer to the mark than the day before.
I’d love to say I can stop working so hard and coast til I get to heaven.
Instead, I am humbled and thankful to get to wake up each day and seek God’s help being his child.
Phyllis Moore is a speaker, author and former reporter with the News Argus. She also has a YouTube channel, Phyllisophically Speaking.