As a child, I went to an Episcopal elementary school. Every Friday, we would file into the chapel and diligently recite the Lord’s Prayer. At home, however, there was no explanation of what I was doing in the chapel. My father, while a Christian, was married to an atheist. They believed in raising a child to form their own beliefs, not having faith instilled in them. When I entered into high school, my father made a few attempts to get me involved in the church, mostly by having me attend Sunday school. Again, there was no dialogue of what the point was. I remember thinking, “He wants me to act like them? They’re doing worse stuff than I am!”
It wasn’t until a few years after college that my journey to know Christ really began. I was working in a job I didn’t like, was friends with people who didn’t actually like me, and I was feeling alone. Fortunately, I did have one friend who actually cared. One friend who knew of a better way to live life. And while I was feeling lost, my friend offered a path to find happiness. He shared a way to find, receive, and ultimately, give back love continuously and unconditionally, and that path was through Jesus Christ.
As a former agnostic, it wasn’t a quick process. I had questions to be asked, doubts to be addressed. I was introduced to a pastor who could answer those needs. And even better – a pastor who spoke in such a manner that it made sense, even to my scientific mind. To further drive home the point, as we were sitting in the park finishing lunch, a garbage truck drove by. Painted on the side of the truck were the words “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
I won’t say that fellowship was the moment of my salvation. I often feel like my salvation is a continuous and ongoing process. Many people say that in order to truly be saved, one must say the Prayer of Salvation. The only problem is that if there is no understanding, no faith, and no dedication when spoken, they are only words. The name Jesus Christ only has power if you believe it to have power. I think true salvation occurs when a person wholly and completely dedicates their life to follow Christ in mind, body, and spirit (also known as thought, word, and deed.)
Becoming a Christian is more than just a single decision to believe in Jesus. Becoming a Christian is about repeatedly making decisions throughout the day and throughout your life to emulate and be more Christ-like. That’s why I say that while I believe in Jesus Christ, and while He is my Lord and Savior, I am still becoming a Christian. Each day I am striving to become more like Christ with every heartfelt prayer, with every repentance, and with every praise.
The old me would have asked, “How do you know it’s real? How do you know that there is a God – that there’s even a Christ?” And I would have to simply state that the truths that are taught in the Bible have manifested themselves as truths in my own life. I have seen the effects of forgiveness, love, and faith in my life. While my life hasn’t been perfect – if it ever seems perfect it’s because I’m doing something wrong – it has never been better. The more I try to show the love that Jesus taught, the more the Lord has blessed me. And if the person still doubts and still questions, I would simply say, “Read the Bible. Practice the things that are taught. Pray for those truths and the love to manifest in your life. And see what happens.”
Lord, I pray that you are able to use my story about finding You to help draw someone closer to you, to help someone to find you, or to help them know you more and more. All that I have is because of You and it is Your constant love, mercy, and grace that have brought me through. Thank you for the many blessings you have given me. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen!