God called me to follow him when I was 17. I grew up in the church, but like many high school students, I became consumed with selfish desires and the admiration to be “cool”. Becoming a disciple of Christ has radically changed my life and it is my heart’s desire to see people encounter the love of God that I and the other 2 billion Christians have encountered.
(Note to non-Christian readers: Please excuse this next paragraph as I address some in-house issues within my fellow Christians. Feel free to read it though. There are still some words I would love to share with you further in this article.)
The rise of atheism in America is nobody’s fault but ours – the Christians. The Church is called the body of Christ for a reason. We are meant to mirror the loving nature of Jesus in this world. God knows he is invisible and he wants to use us as the physical representations of Christ Jesus. As Paul says, “We are Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20). Unfortunately, if the only thing I knew about God was what I saw in some Christians, I might have trouble believing in him as well. It’s an uncomfortable truth many of us can find reality in. Christ is not found in the picket signs that say “God hates fags”. Christ is not in the child abuse. Christ is not in the jealousy and gossip. Now I don’t want this to sound like some sort of condemning bashing against my brothers, but it is a wake up call. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I have had the privilege to meet many many beautiful Christians who do an amazing job at expressing the love and joy that God has given them, so I know it is possible. Truth is, many of us are intimidated by the call to be Christ-like. Many of us see ourselves as mere sinners who cannot do anything right. However, scripture challenges you to change that way of thinking. God values you far more than you think. In fact, he believes in you so much that it might make you uncomfortable. Check out these radical verses that express your new identity in Christ:
· “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
· “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” – Romans 8:17
· “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” – Hebrews 10:14
· “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
You see fellow Christians, it is extremely important for us to recognize our worth and identity. It’s basic psychology. Our actions follow the understanding of who we are. If you constantly tell yourself you are only a sinner, then you will most likely sin more often. God’s grace does indeed cover it. However, I think we can all agree that God would prefer for his new creation to take some initiative and ask the Holy Spirit to transform us to become more like Christ. God’s grace is powerful enough to not only take away sin, but to also enable us to behave like Him (See Ephesians 2:10)! Brothers and sisters we have all been “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) so it is time for us to rise up and start being the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). I believe in each and every one of you, and more importantly God believes in you because He dwells in you!
To the non-Christians who are still reading this: I am sorry and I love you.
I’m sorry if you have ever been hurt by the church. I am sorry if you have ever been hurt by a Christian. I am especially sorry if you have ever been hurt by me which is very possible! I love you because you are a creation of God. Aristotle taught that everything created has a “telos”, or purpose. I believe each of you has a set of gifts and a purpose. Naturally, however, you need to get in touch with the Creator so you can find out what that purpose is. It will be a process and it will be a journey. But God is the God of adventure and that sounds incredibly fun to me! I urge you to give Jesus a shot. Try praying, it can’t hurt. Open a Bible and read it. Find a Christian and ask them all the questions you have. Have the audacity to ask God if he’s real. He longs to be in relationship with you. He doesn't hate you and He won't punish you. He's not afraid of your sins, he’ll take them away immediately if you accept him. You have nothing to lose, only eternity to gain.
I love you all and visit this blog whenever you want!