This message could serve as a warning of sorts to those who are almost on board with Christianity. It could serve as a wake-up call to new believers. It most certainly will serve as encouragement for some of you who are a little deeper in and possibly feeling disillusioned with your faith.
On the radio last tonight, yes, Christian radio, there was a sound bite from a well-known pastor. He said something that I don’t know that I totally agree with. I’m not trying to pick a fight with a mega-pastor by any means but something that he said kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Now, to be fair, I was driving so I couldn’t record exactly what he said and I couldn’t find it online either. So let me just give you the gist.
The implied message was this: if you are a believer, you better make sure that your life before Jesus doesn’t sound better than your life after Jesus.
To continue in the vein of fairness, this pastor certainly isn’t the only person delivering this message. Time and time again, we imply that it’s important to see the benefits of becoming a Christian. Now don’t get me wrong, my life after Jesus IS better than life was before. But also, to be honest, it isn’t really in the ways I would have thought.
I can’t speak for all Christians but I can speak for my own faith journey. I didn’t have this miraculous conversion where I no longer struggled with things after. I still struggled with body-image issues, low self-esteem, substance experimenting, lust, greed, lying, jealousy, anger, pride…. Ok, this list could get quite long so I’ll just go ahead and stop it there. Through Christ, I can say that I have, over time, been healed from some of my brokenness but not completely… and here’s the thing: I NEVER WILL BE. I will never be this happy-go-lucky-all-of-the-time-joyful-perfect-person. NEVER.
Here’s what else didn’t happen when I converted. I didn’t suddenly have everything go my way. I didn’t develop friendships with perfect people who never hurt me (because Christians would never hurt each other right??), I don’t always know which path I should take, I don’t have protection from calamity, I don’t have freedom from anxiety and depression. The Bible isn’t a self-help book and Jesus isn’t prozac. I still struggle and I still face suffering.
Look, what I’m trying to say is this:
Don’t become a Christian because you want a better life.
Become a Christian because CHRIST IS REAL.
God really did create you.
Jesus really did die for you.
The Holy Spirit really will dwell in you.
Those things are real.
Sure, there are benefits to becoming a Christian. Heaven is pretty cool (although it’s probably not one big party in the sky after you die so if that’s what you want, well, sorry). Church has cheap donuts every Sunday, that’s pretty cool too.
Ok, but seriously, the MAJOR benefit that NO other religion can offer you? HOPE.
God gives us hope. We know that one day, every tear will be wiped away. Everything that is wrong will be made right. That is a promise that He will keep. And you know what else? He gives us hope that over time, He will heal us of our brokenness. We feel joy and peace knowing that. That is an added benefit of becoming a Christian.
But still, don’t become a Christian because you want to feel something good like hope. Become a Christian
because you want to honor what is true. Your life is too short to go on ignoring the fact that you have a Creator who loves you very much. He wants to have a relationship with you. Talk to Him.
Don’t get caught-up in politics or preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian. Just look for the facts. You don’t have to dump your brain in a wastebasket to believe this. But don’t waste any more of your life going about your business as if He doesn’t exist. He does. Now go, talk to your Father who loves you. He can’t wait to celebrate your return.
“I’ve seen atheists become Christians after they decided to honestly pursue the evidence of science and history wherever it took them, regardless of whether it ended up contradicting their deeply held beliefs.
Last month, I met a former prosecutor who read my book The Case for Christ at the request of a friend and then spent five years delving into the historical evidence for Jesus before he concluded Jesus is, indeed, the unique Son of God who proved it by returning from the dead. I know an atheist engineer here in Colorado who spent two years doing the same thing. Both are now strong Christians.” – Lee Strobel
If you’re into videos check out this awesome one by Mike Erre.
I want to hear your stories! Why did you become a Christian? If you’re not one, what holds you back from believing?