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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Doubt & Testimony

Why am I a Christian? A follower of Jesus? A believer? Someone who identifies herself with the church?

Rebecca at work asked me if I was taught religion, if my parents were super devout and if I had grown up with it my whole life. And those things are true of me. Nothing is more precious to my parents than their faith, and our home revolves around it. Would I be a Christian without them? I don’t know.

I wonder if I was predisposed to Christianity. INFPs tend to be religious, finding a higher meaning and purpose in the idealism of the gospel. Sanctification as a coping mechanism. Compounded with my innate tendency to want to please my parents, did I take the leap because I knew it would make them happy? (If they parented my faith, is it really my own?)

Does Christianity work? (Would I even dare to lean on pragmatism?)

Why am I a Christian? I've never bothered to ask that before. So now I'm asking. Is it because of the opportunities to serve the community and pursue social justice? Because of the friends and social outlet and encouragement? Because it sets me apart and makes me different? Because it gives me hope for self-improvement? (What are truly my motives?)

Sometimes when I struggle to find insight in my devotions, or when I sing the praise songs so hollowly, or when the sermon’s words sound trite, it becomes easy to wonder, why am I doing this? I see my sin and my faithlessness and wonder, where is the victory?

What if somewhere along the way I deceived myself?

I tell myself my feelings of dryness and confusion don’t matter, because I’m not going to throw away the Truth for something transient like emotion. But that doesn’t change the fact that doubt makes it difficult to “run the race with endurance.”

And yet, the one thing I could never throw away, is the knowledge that my distinction as a Christian is not a religious affiliation, but a commitment to a real person, a God-man who has changed and is changing my life. On this label of “believer” I could never turn my back, because I love Jesus. Because He first loved me.

I know it’s all real because I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I know the peace, the conviction, the love. You cannot see the power of Jesus and just walk away from it. I’ve seen the power of Jesus. And it has changed my life. Jesus saved me from myself, I am a living, breathing, moving testimony. (“In HIM we live and move and have our being.”) I have tasted and seen, and I can never go back. To God be the glory! Amen.

4 comments:

Art said...

"On this label of “believer” I could never turn my back, because I love Jesus. Because He first loved me."

Yes, yes, yes.

Michael said...

"INFPs tend to be religious, finding a higher meaning and purpose in the idealism of the gospel." Or maybe you're religious family and a fostering of looking for higher purpose and meaning made you into an INFP. Give and take.

"the one thing I could never throw away, is the knowledge that my distinction as a Christian is not a religious affiliation, but a commitment to a real person, a God-man who has changed and is changing my life."

By virtue of the absurd, we believe. (What could be more absurd than God being a man?!) I think that someone who grew up a Christian but walks away from Christianity is closer to salvation than the "Christian" who has no inwardness in their relationship with God. The one who leaves is more honest with himself. It is a more religious act to ask "Is Christianity real?" Than to "believe" in a purely ethical and institutional way.

Forget all that. I'm not saying at all what I want to say: That I am encouraged by you, and joyful in your relationship with God.

Micah E. said...

hummm. I've had a lot of the same thoughts, I guess.
It seems like I'm a christian not because I find anything terribly wonderful about christianity, but because everything else seems so bleak to believe.

Col said...

"I know it’s all real because I’ve seen it with my own eyes." I so agree.

I like reading your blog. :)