Looking back through my past entries, I realized that I’ve made vague references to my faith in God, but I’ve never been clear about what I believe to be true. And it’s so important to be clear. It’s the one greatest gift I have to share, and I can’t count myself a friend to anyone I haven’t told.
I guess I can’t share my faith without first telling you that I believe the Bible to be the absolute truth—the unimpeachable, inspired words of God to humanity. It’s a love story—THE love story—and we are the beloved.
I was born into a believing family—a non-denominational group—and grew up going to services every Sunday and Wednesday. Being raised by Christians was a mixed blessing. I memorized a lot of scriptures and knew a lot of Bible stories. I know that even then the seed of truth was being planted by my parents’ prayerful efforts, but growing up in the church made it easy to let the language of faith flow over me without ever really sinking in and penetrating my heart. I knew all the “answers”, but a relationship with God eluded me—not that I was searching very hard.
I did all the typical flirting with disaster when I was a teenager, and then, suddenly, I was on my own, in college, free to find my own way. The background noise of “faith by default” receded, and I had to open my eyes and discover whether what I’d been taught had any value, any truth. And that’s the thing about the truth. It is unchanging, absolute, but every person is responsible for finding it for herself—no matter who her family is or what the name on the sign outside her church building says. (II Corinthians 13:5, I Timothy 2:3-4, I Thessalonians 5:21)
Do you ever have the feeling that there’s got to be more to this life than what we see and have and do and buy? That there’s a whole layer of reality that we’re just missing because we’re limited to what we can take in with our five senses? Well, there is. There’s a much bigger story here, and our place in it is not small—but many of us are asleep to it, wrapped up as we are in the busy daily details of our existence.
I’m happy to say that after years of listening to the gospel message expounded, elaborated upon, and dissected, the simple truth of the good news of Jesus Christ finally touched me and became real to me. Here it is:
God created us for a relationship with Him. He loves us, and nothing can change that. Ever. (Romans 8:37-39)
Our sin separates us from God. All of us. Every single one. The sin of the liar, the prideful, or the gossip is no less than the sin of the murderer. And the punishment for sin is death. (Romans 3:22-24, Romans 6:23)
God came down and walked among us, lived a blameless life, died a painful death willingly in our place, and was raised on the third day, all to reconcile us to Himself. Because of His love, He broke the power sin and death had over us. If we accept his gift, He washes our guilt away, no matter what we’ve done. (Romans 5:8-11, I Corinthians 15:3-5)
We can know (know!!!) that we have the gift of eternal life—no second guessing, no hoping that things will somehow manage to turn out all right in the end, no wondering if we’ve made the right choices. We can have complete confidence in the future and even face death with peace and joy if we are in Christ. (I John 5:11-13)
Here is how to accept the free gift of God:
*Hear the truth. (Romans 10:17 –If you’ve actually read this all the way through, you’ve done it already.)
*Believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to earth as a man and was raised from the dead. (Romans 3:22, Romans 10:9)
*Repent and turn away from your old sins. (Romans 6:6-7, II Corinthians 7:10)
*Be baptized, by immersion, into Christ, receiving forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-4, Acts 22:16)
*Live for Him. (Colossians 1:9-14)
Without having the back and forth of dialogue, I’m trying to imagine what you might be thinking as you read this. Maybe “I’ve heard all this before,” or “Katrina’s a nice girl, but she obviously doesn’t live in the real world!” Or any one of a hundred other things…I don’t know. I don’t know what makes some people meet the truth with hostility or defensiveness, while others recognize it and hold fast to it. All I can do is give you what I have, and send it out with a prayer that it will find you with your heart open to searching out the truth for yourself. A lot of people have closed the door on what God wants to say to them, with one excuse or another as their shield against what might be uncomfortable to them in the message of Christ. The Bible even says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” Many won’t respond to Christ’s invitation, but I still need to—want to—share it! “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
Because of Christ, we have hope, we have a family, and we can experience joy even in our trials—while all around us despair—because we realize that this life, with all its ups and downs, will seem like just a dream when we get home. (II Corinthians 4:16-18, Romans 8:28 ) Christ is the answer to life’s biggest question marks. What is my purpose? Where am I going? Does anyone truly know me, or love me? When Jesus enters your life, that nagging sense of emptiness leaves it. Following Him is not the easy road, but it’s the right one, the true one, filled with adventure and meaning and a place in the biggest story of all.
There’s a lot more I’d love to talk to you about—what God has done in my life and Paul’s, the struggles and victories I’ve had in my walk with the Lord, amazing things I’ve realized, stuff I don’t understand yet about God’s plan—but I feel like I’ve talked enough for now, and I’d like to hear more of your thoughts. Besides, I’ve already told you the most important parts.
By the way, I’m sure you noticed I used a lot of scripture references—I hope you look them up. Sometimes people wonder how we know that the Bible is really God’s word, and why we should trust it. After all, it’s useless to point out scripture to teach the truth if the person you’re talking to doesn’t believe the Bible is real! If that is where you are, tell me! When I finally decided to start from the beginning and figure out what I believed, I wondered the same thing. I searched and found so much evidence supporting the Bible’s claims that it blew me away…there is no book in the world like it! I’d be glad to point out the resources I found.
Anyway, I’m signing off for now—thank you so much for letting me share what really matters to me. You’re all in my prayers.