Let me begin by saying that I understand that not everyone who reads my posts believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died on a cross to save us from a life of rules and regulations, and a life that would end in hell. If you’ve ever studied the Old Testament, you know that before Jesus, God’s people had to go through a lot of work to gain forgiveness for the smallest infractions (small in my eyes, not in God’s). To study the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Job, Daniel, Esther, Ruth and Naomi, David, and countless others, and to come away not believing that God is our Father is hard for me to understand. How can anyone not at least give time to read the stories of these lives and their stories of faith in the one true God before they decide that God isn’t real? Everything about the Old Testament points to the New Testament and the coming of Jesus. It pains me that God’s chosen people, the wonderful Jewish people, deny Jesus His rightful place, but I know that God will open eyes in due time.
There are certainly Christians who give “Christians” a bad name, an unfair rap–but I daresay that in every religion there are those who choose to make the religion their own, creating this untrue picture of what that faith as a whole embraces. Living as a Christian should mean living as someone who reflects the typically gentle nature of Jesus, though Jesus certainly displayed His share of righteous anger. I hope that I live what I believe—that my love for Jesus comes through in my actions and the words I speak to people in conversation, not just in an “Oh, Jesus loves you!” kind of way. I think we are called to walk out our faith through our daily comings and goings, and our interaction with people. It shouldn’t be a Bible-thumping kind of thing, but an almost unassuming way about us that makes us different, that causes others to question what it is that makes our lives so full of joy.
And that brings me to the point of the post…Why Am I A Christian? It’s the joy, it’s the thing that happens in my spirit that I know is telling me I’m in tune with the Holy of Holy’s. It’s an undeniable aching in my heart at the thought of a life without God, without the saving grace of my Jesus. There is nothing like the feeling I get, even now as I type, just knowing to whom I belong. I’m a Christian because in the depths of my being, I know He is part of me. To deny Him and not live this faith would surely put out the very light within my soul. I’m a Christian because I’ve chosen to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I’m a Christian because life without my Jesus would be so much less than what God intended. I’m a Christian because I choose to be a Christian.
Now, the obvious question is “What about those who don’t believe what you believe, Susan?” Oh, don’t you worry. I am just not judgmental about it. I ache when I know someone has chosen to deny God. I feel immense sadness at the thought that I have in any way discouraged someone’s faith in God. But you know what? I feel incredible anger at people who condemn those who do not believe. Don’t you know that it is in God’s timing that those He has chosen will come to accept and love Him? Don’t you know that it could be the testimony of the most staunch unbeliever-turned-believer that bears the greatest witness? Read The Case For Christ, and you will see how someone who operated not out of emotion was changed from a non-believer after many many years. How dare you condemn those who are not where you are–don’t even look down your nose at them. Pray for them–that they will be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit when it begins. Pray for yourself–that you are not the reason that person has turned away from God.
I don’t pretend to understand the reason people subscribe to other beliefs. I don’t think I am better than they, nor are they better than I. I simply think that God has it all figured out. It’s way bigger than my little human brain, and that’s where faith comes in—I have faith that God will do what He said He would do. He will call His own unto Him, in perfect time.
Unfortunately, not every church is great about setting the example for new believers. In fact, I’ll be really bold and say that I think most churches spend too much time and energy focusing on the human interests and too little time and energy focusing on the interests of the One they gather to worship. Church can turn a person away from the faith faster than anything, and yet it is in the church that we are able to be fed and nurtured. We have to stick it out, so that we might serve God even in that place.
Most Gracious God, thank you that you have given me a heart for your people. It is my heart’s desire that those whose paths I cross will at least come away wanting to know more about you because of my example. A life with you is joy, even in the darkest hours. May those who read this be moved by the joy of the Lord that can be theirs. It just doesn’t get any better than this, not any better than you. In Jesus’ name, amen.