The title of this post is drawn from a question I am asked often, “Why did you become a Christian?” I’m not going to get into all the details (Mainly because, as usual, I am pressed for time.), but I’d like to answer this in hopes of giving God all the glory.
I was not brought up in a Christian home. My experience with church and Christianity was sporadic at best. I mostly went to church for the food and for social purposes. Also, I had more than a few bad experiences with people who called themselves Christians. From a young age, my mind could not fathom how these folks were going to get the pie in the end and all I’d get is egg on my face. Also, Christianity just didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t very reasonable. Besides, it was confusing. One one hand I knew all these Christians who were sinnin’ much more than I was, but who didn’t care because they were going to heaven. On the other hand I found Christians to be the saddest people I knew. They couldn’t do anything because everything was a sin!
I was confused.
So, in my mind I came up with the following reasons to NOT be a Christian.
1. If all my science books were telling me that I, along with everyone and everything, came from nothing, then how did God get here? This was a stumbling block to me and I used to lay in bed late at night thinking about it.
2. If God was this great Being, why were bad things happening to me and to others? Couldn’t he just make eveything okay, give my family money, make my parents love each other, stop abuse, and create a utopia on Earth?
3. If being a Christian was such a good thing, then why did the Christians I know seem to hate it? By that I mean they did most everything against the Book. Also, I couldn’t count the times I was told I was going to hell because I didn’t attend a particular church, but I was living a more moral life than the Christians were.
4. I saw Christianity, as it was presented to me, as a crutch and a blindfold to truth and reality and reason. I saw the Bible as the Jewish version of other ancient manuscripts, each telling the same basic story but changing the names. I saw the validity in all religions as well as no religion.
5. Believing in no God seemed as reasonable to me as believing in a God. What authority could tell me what to believe and what not to? Who was to say God and truth could even be known?
So then, I spent the first 20-something years of my life thinking along those lines. I was a nice guy. I worked hard. I enjoyed my life. I had absolutely no intentions of ever knowing more about the church, about God, about Jesus , and about Christianity than what I knew at that point. To me, God, if he existed, was unknowable at best and mythology at worst. I had also decided that if I ever decided to give religion a go, I’d avoid Christianity. I was more of the Buddhist/spiritualist type anyway.
Keep in mind, I can’t stress this enough: the LAST thing I ever wanted to be was a Christian…
During my mid-20’s I thought I had it all: A good job. My own place. Beautiful girlfriend. Money to burn. I could do whatever I wanted. The subject of God didn’t cross my mind often. When it did, I was usually arguing some Christian out of his or her faith, telling them what a weenie they were for believing that Christian mumbo-jumbo.
But, a series of tragic events happened that affected me. One involved a death, the other an adultery. For the first time in my life I couldn’t be comforted and I didn’t have any answers. Out of sheer desperation I turned to the Bible because a Christian co-worker (Who was the Real Deal, I might add.) told me I could find answers there. Nothing in the Book made sense until I came to this:
“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Sitting there, I cried out in mercy to Jesus, believing what the verse said. I realized that I didn’t muster up the initiative to believe, repent or any of that — it ALL came from God. The concept of grace became a reality to me: that God forgave me and account of Jesus. In that moment, though I couldn’t grasp it all, I knew that God had redeemed me and that everything he said about me and about him was truth. The years of my rebellion and fighting and excuses were thrown out the window. If I could describe it as a feeling, it was like having a wave a cold water came rushing over me and for the first time ever I felt clean and refreshed in my soul. I felt peaceful. The reality of Jesus became….reality.
Why did I become a Christian?
You’ll have to ask God.
I suspect it has something to do with him making the wise foolish and the foolish wise. I reckon that he felt so inclined to mark me out as a recipient of his grace long before I knew about it. He did this “in love” (Eph. 1:4).
That’s why I became a Christian.