A fair question, and one that I believe should be asked by anyone investigating this concept called Christianity, or religion in general. Let me come right out and say that I do not like the term religion. Controversial, maybe, but I do not consider myself “religious”. The phrase “she’s religious” makes me cringe. I consider myself to be a Believer. My “religion” is based on a relationship with God, not rules. That does not mean that my beliefs are flaky, far from it. I believe wholeheartedly that God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins, and that the belief in and acceptance of this free gift is the only way to get to Heaven. But I don’t believe in Him just so that I can get to Heaven one day and avoid the fearful pictures painted of Hell. Yes, I am a Christian by definition, but I am not afraid to say that there are many people in this world wearing the Christian label who I do not want to be associated with. My Jesus is full of unconditional love, despises judgement and is the reason I strive for the same. Let me tell you a little bit about Him- not by throwing scholarly knowledge at you but by baring my own life experiences that have proven, without a doubt, the existence of this Savior.
I have a relationship with God, not a religion.
I have been in a place of doubt. A lot of doubt. I have doubted God’s existence and His goodness. I have been in a place of denial, and I have run in the opposite direction of what I thought it meant to allow Him into my life. I did not skip through life with minor struggles, nor was I by any means hanging out on the first row at church. In fact, some churches would have shut their doors in my face at one point in time. I have been in darker places than most would believe in my 25 years, some by the hands of others but also by my own doing.
I would not be able to write this article unless I had first-hand experience with what I believe.
I have. I have seen and lived every bit of what I claim as truth, and I can’t help but share it in hopes that someone might step into the same incredible love and life journey.
Society has developed an image of God that looks somewhat like a ruthless, power-hungry dictator who wants nothing more than to suck the joy out of life. This could not be further from the truth. God sent His son to die for us for the opposite of that. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest” John 10:10.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8
This world is hard. God is not.
Is life still hard? Of course it is. This world is getting more corrupt even as I type. But I don’t have to be scared of tomorrow, because I have God on my side. He has carried me through abuse, rape, suicide attempts, and the list goes on. He has defied opinions and statistics that said I could never fully recover. Not only do I walk in the confidence of knowing I will always be able to get back up after being knocked down, I know that I will get back up and stand stronger than before. This isn’t wishful thinking. It’s a solid, guaranteed fact in a life with God. There is no other way to explain how I am where I am today.
He isn’t afraid of our messes, and He loves us enough to meet us wherever we are.
We also have been given the impression that God only loves us, or wants anything to do with us, if we clean up our lives beforehand. There are certain sins that we can’t come back from, right? Wrong. Let me assure you that if this were true, this girl would NOT be writing this article. Sin is still no stranger, nor will I ever be in a place of perfection. My human nature frequently gets the best of me and I am constantly messing up. But, that’s OK.
God knew everything we would ever do, good and bad, before He created us. He knew that we would doubt Him, run from Him, and sin against Him. But guess what? He still created us. He loved us then and He loves us just as much right now.
A relationship with God takes effort, just like any relationship does, but it is not an effort to earn His love or prove ourselves worthy. For me, it was an effort to look past the fog of painful past experiences, fears and current influences in order to open my heart enough to allow God to show Himself to me.
Maybe you don’t feel a need to be saved from anything. Maybe you don’t feel the need for help in any area. I certainly did, I still do and I always will. The more I get to know Him, the more I need Him, in the best way. The need for God is a beautiful thing that brings more stability than anything else I have ever experienced. He didn’t create a need without something to fulfill it. He created a need for Him, that can only be filled by Him, so that He might give us more love and freedom than we ever imagined possible.
Do you know what has happened since I have given my life to God and started walking through life with Him? Exactly that. I have gotten more joy. I have tasted more fulfillment than I ever imagined. I have overcome obstacles that, by the world’s definition are impossible to overcome. I have bounced back from things that I wasn’t supposed to bounce back from. I have seen and felt heavy chains on my heart broken, and I now walk in more freedom than ever before. I have the promise of continuous help in times of trouble, hope no matter what happens, and strength that cannot be broken or stolen.
I have never made a decision to trust or obey God and regretted it.
Because I follow Jesus, the best is always yet to come. It’s not a sappy, feel-good thing I pretend is real so that I can escape the horrors of this life. It’s a 110% certain, proven, free gift that I can’t possibly doubt now. I have lived it. I know Him. He is real. He is my best friend. He is my protector and my healer. He has shown me more love than I could ever dream of earning. He is who He says He is, and I am His child who He loves more than life itself.
My unforgivable has been forgiven. My impossible is possible. My chains are broken. The ruin can be mended.
No one else can offer us this kind of salvation. It is all true for you too, friend. You are loved. You are treasured. You are wanted. Not because you have done anything to deserve it, but because of Who made you. If you give Him the chance, He will blow your mind. I promise.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”John 15:14-15
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” Revelation 3:20
Further Reading – Who Does God Say He Is? Read Psalm 19:7-13