I am a Christian. Let me describe my faith journey.
I’ve been a Christian for so long that I almost don’t remember how it happened and what it was like beforehand or sometimes even what it means to me. Becoming a Christian has changed everything. It absolutely changed the direction of my life.
To remind myself and to bring my own personal story to those who might be interested, I will try to bring these things back from my memory.
I grew up Christian, or so I thought. I went to Sunday School and church every Sunday with my Mom. My Dad didn’t see the sense of going to church. I thought it was a virtue to follow the Ten Commandments, but I was advised by my preacher to not read the Bible. He said reading the Bible would drive me crazy. I remember looking at a picture in my Sunday School room. It was a picture of Jesus on the cross. I always told myself that I wanted to live a life worthy of having my sins forgiven.
Then I went to college, Central Michigan University. While I was there, I met a fun, pretty girl in my chemistry class. I asked her out. She said no, but invited me to a Christian meeting. It was a group that in that day was called Campus Crusade for Christ, famous for their Four Spiritual Laws.
Over the next few days and weeks I stayed with the group, didn’t really pursue the girl, and it became clear to me that I was not where I should be spiritually. Its important to me that I explain that I now am absolutely convinced that a person cannot DESERVE Jesus. We can never do enough to be worthy of living forever in the presence of God. To say that we deserve Jesus is to not understand just how holy God is, just how high his standards are. Jesus died on the cross because we could not make it to heaven on our own. He paid the price for my sins, and for the sins of everyone. If we accept Jesus, we connect to God.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
~ John 14:6
That makes Christianity either the ultimate arrogance, or the only solution. The solution to what? The solution to how our sins have separated us from God.
To be honest, before I went to CMU, I was a “Lady Clairol” Christian. “Lady Clairol”, which I think is now just called “Clairol”, is a type of hair dye. They had run a popular commercial at that time with the punch line being “Nobody knows for sure” whether you’re using their hair dye or not. That’s what I was as a Christian when I went to college. I didn’t know, nobody knew, whether I was a Christian or not. Then there was that day when I met with the two CCC staff members.
Am I One, or Aren’t I?
The Campus Crusade for Christ staff Norm and Pat took me aside, and brought me through the Four Spiritual Laws, and at the end there was a prayer for receiving Christ. I didn’t know whether I was a Christian or not, but I decided that I would pray the prayer and make sure. Unlike many of the “testimonies” I have heard, I remember little emotion at my decision. My mind vacillated a lot. I remember having a funny conversation with myself. Again, this was a conversation I was having with myself.
“You know, this is embarrassing. Who is this other student ten feet from us that is trying so hard to study? I just know he is listening to us. Now these guys want me to pray in public and I don’t pray in private very often. And besides, I’m probably a Christian right now, although I can’t think of when I made that decision. Hey, I’m not that bad a guy. Who are these guys who are calling me a sinner? Yeah, but you know what? I haven’t always been good to my girlfriends…I better make sure. Jesus committed to love me and forgive me. I need to decide. Remember the song – I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. Yeah, I haven’t. Yeah, I should…you know…I should…Yeah, it’s time to decide.”
That decision, that I kind of took lightly, changed EVERYTHING. I want to make one more point. I have a little pet peeve with my wife. She has never understood me on this issue. I don’t like the “Happily Ever After” type of romance.
Why? Because that is only the beginning of love. The engagement or the wedding is great, but it’s only the beginning. Let me say something unromantic. Eventually that romantic glow goes away. Then it’s lawn work and house chores and budgets and dirty diapers and rebellious teenagers and tiredness that just won’t give up. The “Happily Ever After” is just the beginning. One day a few months or years into the marriage both people in a marriage will wake up next to each other and have this feeling – I married the wrong person. But you know what? That is just another beginning. That is a great second beginning.
Salvation is like that. The salvation experience is usually a great story, much better than mine. But really it is just a beginning. Then it’s time to build an eternal life with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
With these thoughts I leave you for now. Read my blogs for more. Some of them will be my experience and my understanding as I actively build an eternal life with my God. Thank you for listening.