Eighty-one years ago today a 9-year-old boy prayed to ask Jesus to be the Savior of his life. His mother wrote these words in a memory book: “Clair made a start today.”

Clair—my dad—has now walked with Christ for 8 decades. He marks the day when he made his decision to follow Christ as the beginning of his journey. Growing spiritually is a lifelong process—not a one-time event. So how does a new believer feed his faith and continue to grow? These are some things I observed in my dad’s life over the years.

He reads the Scriptures regularly to increase his understanding of God and made prayer a daily part of his life (1 Chron. 16:11; 1 Thess. 5:17). Bible reading and prayer help us grow closer to God and withstand temptation (Ps. 119:11; Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Peter 2:2). The Holy Spirit began to develop the “fruit of the Spirit” in him as he surrendered his life in faith and obedience (Gal. 5:22-23). We can display God’s love through our witness and service.

My dad’s spiritual journey continues and so does ours. What a privilege to have a relationship in which we can “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”! (2 Peter 3:18).