I’m Not a Christian Because It ‘Works’ for Me
At the age of thirty-five, it seemed like I had everything I could possibly want. I’d graduated at the top of my class in my undergraduate and graduate programs. I’d earned the honor recruit award at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy. And I was in an incredible job assignment, working as a member of a five man career-criminal surveillance team. I had been with my wife for eighteen years and we had a great family. We’d just purchased our second home in a community I had admired since childhood. Nothing could have been better. This was the status and condition of my life when I walked into a Christian church for the first time.
I wasn’t looking for answers; I thought I already had all the answers. In fact, most of my friends came to me for advice. I was the guy you came to if you wanted to ask a question about how to work an investigation, how to maintain a good marriage, how to raise your kids. I was happy, content and full of myself.
I definitely wasn’t the kind of person who thought he needed help or needed fixing. My self-confidence had grown into arrogance. I was opinionated, sure of myself and difficult to reason with. I was sure I was right, and my life seemed to confirm this at every turn. I was in control and my decisions seemed to be producing the life I wanted.
That first pastor described Jesus as a wise teacher, the smartest man who ever lived. That intrigued a self-serving, arrogant guy like me. For purely selfish reasons, I became interested in what Jesus might have to say about life, family, work and all the things I thought I had already mastered. So I began my investigation of the gospels, not to find God, but simply to steal from Jesus the wisdom he allegedly possessed.
Along the way, though, I became convinced the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts. I eventually examined the Gospel itself, the message of salvation offered through Christ alone, and became a Christian. I moved from certainty related to the accounts, to certainty related to my own desperate, fallen nature and need for a Savior.
Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been twenty-two years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning.”
It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because it “works” for me. I had a life prior to Christianity that seemed to be working just fine, and my life as a Christian hasn’t always been easy.
I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative.
Originally published at ColdCaseChristianity.com. Reprinted with permission.