Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Why I Am A Christian!

Do you know why you are a Christian? I am certain that I became a Christian for a number of good reasons, but today, people everywhere are beginning to question their faith in God, in the church, and in Christianity. Why?

We are a very self centered bunch of humans. If life does not always go our way, we tend to throw in the towel and try something different. We often tend to reject the faith of our parents, question the faith of our peers, and go on a journey of discovery, trying to find the answers to life’s troubling questions: Why do children suffer? Why does God allow pain and war? Is the devil and hell real? Does God really care? We set our minds to thinking it all through. Usually, we end up more frustrated than when we began our quest. Today, many people tend to shelve their faith, not because they don’t believe in God, but because the God they have seen modeled before them in the lives of other believers is sometimes inconsistent, and irrelevant. The message they hear from the pulpits does not give them the answers to the questions they are asking. Meanwhile the secular world continues to point an accusing finger at those who claim to be “Christian.” Soon Christians find themselves wavering on the fence of faith and Christian values. Let me raise a flag for you today…..I am a Christian because:

1. God is real and never changing. He is the eternal existent God who transcends time, history, and our ever changing world. It is the consistent nature of God that keeps me serving Him. I change with every emotion, every experience, every pressure of life. But God never changes. He is consistently a God of love, who chose to love a sinful fluctuating mankind who continues to make awful choices. His love and consistency requires that He both reward and punish, much like any good parent will do for his own children as he brings them to maturity. So why do children suffer??—Usually innocent children suffer because of mankind and sin, not because of God and his anger. Sin always has consequences. Disobedience requires justice. All too often, we see the suffering faces around the world and our hearts go out for them. What does God want? When I look back in history at the social injustice of slavery, it often came into a culture because of greed, laziness, immorality and a culture that accepted it as the ‘norm’. It was the rise of faith in just a few men that began to turn the tide of slavery toward freedom. Men such as John Newton, author of ‘Amazing Grace’, William Willberforce, who took on the slavery issue with gusto, John Wesley who preached salvation and social justice—these men changed the moral values of nations, ending slavery within 100 years of their ministries. It is genuine Christianity that changes our world for the good where Christ is exalted and man is humbled in His presence. Of course, there are always those who are counterfeit, who pretend for selfish purposes. Some have political agendas, and others seek fame and glory through a stage and monetary gain. All will one day stand before the King of Kings and give an accounting for their motives and life. Though men may try to change Christianity, making all kinds of claims, the God of Christianity never, ever, changes! Yes, I am a Christian because:

2. God is love. To understand the real love of God, you must experience it for yourself. Love is a very intimate thing. It is a choice. We choose to love. God chose to love us, in spite of our ugliness and sin. God is pure holiness and love. Yet He chose to love us—sending His only Son to die for our sin. I have four fine sons. Yet I could not offer them up to pay for anyone’s sins. But God did! His ultimate gift of love bought freedom for all who would accept His free gift. His love is not conditional, choosing to love us only when we toe the line. Today, many couples choose to fall in love, only to walk away in a year or two because someone failed to live up to their expectations. God does not do that. He never divorces us….we are the ones who walk away. But like the Father of the prodigal son, He is always there, always looking for us to return home, always longing for us and loving us, even when we do selfish stupid things. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) He accepted us in our filthy condition, chose to love us in spite of our failures. His unconditional love sees us, not as we are, but as His ‘new creation’. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Yes, God is love—not the kind that is tarnished by sexuality or human frailty. His love is perfect! And I am a Christian because:

3. God is the source of absolute truth. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” and society today is still asking the same question. Either God is the source of all truth or He is not. If He is not the source of truth, then can it even be found? The secular world spouts the idea that there is no absolute truth. If they believe this statements is the bottom line, absolutely true, then the very statement itself (being an absolute statement) violates their stance. Making statements such as “Everything is relative”… “It’s alright to believe what you want, just as long as you do not impose it on others”… and “The material world is just an illusion” and “There is no such thing as truth”—all these statements are philosophies that are self-defeating, imposing their ideas on others, and in the real world, they just do not work. If the material world is an illusion….just don’t bother eating material food for a month. You will soon discover you have died. When Christians choose to believe the Bible, it is not some grand spiritual leap into mysticism. It is founded on the proven teachings found in the Bible, on historical evidences, on modern proofs that God still interacts today with His creation, changing lives. Scientists have proven the value and power of prayer.

Secular humanists do not like the idea that they must one day give an accounting to a God they spent their life rejecting and denying. Biblical evidence says that they will do just that. A desire to escape divine judgment through a man made idea is preposterous. We don’t make the rules. God does! This is His world! Eternity is also His. Where will you spend it? You have a choice right now. Failure to choose now will determine your destiny. Yes, I am a Christian because:

4. I am forgiven! You may think of me as a very nice person. But I know the real me. I sometimes think things that are awful. From the day I was born, my human nature was bent on sinning. My parents had to discipline me. I was sometimes angry. I used to steal things. But today, I am free from my past. I am forgiven...just as if I had never sinned. Living under a cloud of guilt is a heavy weight to bear. You may have been abusive—in your behavior or with your mouth—God forgives it all if you ask Him. You may have been a thief or a drunkard. He wants to lift your load and set you free. You may have been a very good person, trying to do nice things all of your life, but still, you know the real you...The Bible tells us that all have sinned. None can escape it—except for Jesus and His forgiveness. But we must ask for that forgiveness. It is how he wants us to come to Him, humbly, in need of Him. He wants to forgive and make us a part of His wonderful family. Are you forgiven? Are you part of the family of God? Are you ready for heaven? It’s never the good things we do that gets us there. It’s only what Jesus did and how we respond to His gift that matters. Are there many ways to God? No...just One—Jesus. He said so Himself “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Yes, I am a Christian because:

5. God Gives Me Hope! As you look around you, you can see in the eyes of many people that there is not much hope in their lives. They look at the economy and the job prospects, at the retirement outlook and the world chaos. They see a world without hope. Politicians promise hope and change, but nothing ever changes and what they hoped for never comes to pass. But because of my faith in God through Jesus Christ, I have hope. My hope is not based on earthly things, but on eternal things. That glorious hope is spoken of in the Bible. “ The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11) We also look forward with great anticipation and joy to the moment we see Him face to face…. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as He is pure.” ( 1 John 3:2,3)

Where do you stand today with God? Are you ready to stand before Him? Are you trusting in your own efforts, or in what Jesus has already done for you? Have you asked for His forgiveness? Do you have any hope for your future in eternity with God? Have you discovered that God is real and that He really loves you? The enemy of the soul would try to discourage you, fill your mind with doubts and questions. It takes faith to trust God. You can try to trust the ideas of men, question the mistakes so-called Christians have made in the past, and turn away from the One who loves you. Or you can turn to God in faith, trusting that the God who made it all, knows all the answers and that He has a plan for your eternity. Will you trust Him today? Just as a child trusts its earthly father, we must reach up to God trusting He has everything under control. He knows the past, the present and the future. He knows your deepest secrets and He still chooses to love you. Will to decide to make Him the One who is in charge of your eternity—the rest of your life? If you made this decision, write me today and let me rejoice with you!

J. Johnson

PO Box 655, Waupaca WI 54981

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