Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why did you become a Christian?

Over the past several months of conversations and observing spiritual dialogues, one of the things I've become aware of (in part thanks to my wife's observations) is that the reasons people became Christians makes a big difference on their current faith and how they approach faith challenges. This may not be a big surprise, but I've never heard anyone talk about the relationship.

I became a Christian on Palm Sunday my freshman year of high school. It was a quiet decision during youth group. I was a bit embarrassed. I know I didn't realize the full weight of the decision until I built my relationship with Christ. I don't remember all the details, but I know I finally believed God was real in Christ. His story made life make sense, and I wanted a relationship with him.

My decision didn't have to do with eternity. I don't recall Heaven and Hell being on my mind at all. Nor was doctrine or the Bible. It was simply wanting to know this God who structured the world and gave meaning to life.

I think that's why I'm so able to hold a lot of my beliefs relatively loosely. I don't need to have a clear definition of who is going to Heaven and who to Hell to feel secure in my faith because that's not a motivator for me. I also don't need to defend the Bible or particular doctrinal issues because they really don't affect my relationship with Christ.

Of course, we could argue that if you don't believe in the Trinity, the Christ with whom you think you have a relationship is not real. There is some truth to that. Yet, God still pursues us. And our God image develops over time and through relationship. I didn't have a fully accurate picture of my wife when I married her. I still don't. But it develops over time and that doesn't diminish the reality and power of our relationship.

What's your story? Do you see that affecting how you deal with questions, doubt, and controversy?


  1. Interesting observation. I sorta grew up knowing God. I was raised in a Christian household where I was tought to love and obey Him. I accepted his love for me much as though I accepted that my Grandparents loved me & wanted what was best for me. I was familiar with God, but I didn't really pursue a relationship with him until my sophmore year of high school. I began questioning my faith and seeking answers. I've always been a bit of a skeptic, so that's something that I've carried with me into my faith. I would have to say that as an adult my faith is built partly upon the truth that I find in the Bible, but mostly how I've seen God work out that truth in my life. He's proven himself to me (even though He didn't have to) over and over again. I've found that living by the principles of Christ makes life better and more fulfilling. Like you (Josh) eternity/heaven/hell hasn't been the motivator because I believe that God's kingdom starts here & now.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Jake! I would whole-heartedly agree with your points. I also think your story is very similar to many people's, yet that motivation is not often seen as valid enough in many churches. Maybe that's the reason I got along with you and your family. Faith wasn't just something that was theoretical or other-worldly, but very much here-and-now.

  3. I became a Christian because I loved the simplicity of the relationship between me and Jesus. Growing up Mormon, I always felt pressured to do, do, do. And with Christianity, I know who God is, I know that he loves me and wants me to follow him, but I don't feel doomed if I screw up. I'm motivated by love and not by fear and guilt.



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