As a young child, I didn’t really feel like I had the option of NOT following Jesus. My parents weren’t especially religious at that time, so it’s not like they forced me into anything. It’s just that at a young age, I had a sense of the kind of person I should become. That old struggle between who we are and who we should be was pretty clear to me, and I needed help. I knew that I couldn’t be that person on my own.
I really had no viable alternative.
When I first heard someone explain about who Jesus is, and about how He died in my place, and about how I could have peace with God, it made perfect sense. Of course, I had nothing to compare it with. I’d never studied any of the world’s religions, never considered the nature of the universe, and never studied the great philosophers. I was, after all, only seven years old. Still, I knew that I had a problem, and that someone was offering me a solution. It was a big relief to know that I didn’t have to spend my life trying and failing to become the kind of man I wanted to be.
As I grew, I became fascinated by what other people believe, and why. I’m naturally curious, but there’s more to it than that. I’m also naturally skeptical. I recognized that my 7-year-old self might have been wrong about life, the universe, and everything. So, in the interest of intellectual honesty and integrity, I’ve spent years studying human nature, different religions, different belief systems, and major philosophies. While I see some value in each, only Christianity holds together. I really don’t have any other meaningful option outside of Christianity.
The good part? It seems my 7 year-old self got it right. On my own, I know I can’t be the man I should be. I’m just not that good as a person. Sure, I can be pretty good on my own…but that’s not enough. I need to be able to look in the mirror and know that I’m on the right track. I’m not perfect – clearly – but with God’s help and guidance, I’m becoming that man. No other religion or philosophy that I’ve discovered offers what Jesus offers. Sure, every religion has standards, but only Jesus offers to change us from the inside out. That’s the kind of help I needed. A big bonus is that I not only learned to separate the truth from superstitions and man-made religions, but I also received peace, joy, and contentment along the way.
In John 6, Jesus tells a big crowd of followers that He is the way to God. A lot of them walked away, saying that what He taught was too hard to believe. I get that, but there’s more. Jesus then asked his 12 closest followers whether they would walk away, too. Simon Peter said this:
“To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”
That’s pretty much the same answer I would give. I’ve been studying belief and skepticism for a long time now…if there was anything out there that made more sense than Jesus, I’d be all over it. I’m a Christian because I’ve looked at the evidence, and I’m convinced by the evidence that Jesus really is who He says He is. I don’t really have a choice. If I’m going to be honest with myself, there’s no other way I can live my life.
Fortunately, along the way, God has been changing me into the person I knew all along that I should be.