At the point of writing this post, you need to know that I am a 76 year old man and have lived through most of the journey of life with all its ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs.
This week has seen another ‘bloody’ tragedy, as news filters through of the horrific terrorist attack in a Kenya University.
Somalia’s Islamist Al-Shabaab, which seeks to impose its own harsh variant of sharia law, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had released Muslims while killing Christians and taking many others hostage.
“We sorted people out and released the Muslims,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman, said.
The Muslims were reportedly let go, while those who said they were Christian were either killed on the spot or taken hostage.
Similar to what happened in the Al Shabaab attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall 18 months ago.
As an old man I can understand the fear that some may feel at pending trouble brewing even in the so called “Christian Western World”.
Perhaps it is time for the pagan and secularists of our western culture to take notice of what is happening in the world and decide who’s side they are on.
Unashamedly my view of life is through the filter of the Word of God, that has proven itself through the test of time.
What I am about to write has been lived out, questioned and considered over a life time of experience.
I sincerely hope I do not appear to be religious, hubristic, pretentious, arrogant or as one having all the answers!
So, without any desire to offend others who may disagree with me, this is how I came to be a person of faith and a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
I suppose being brought up in a Christian family, one would presume that I would naturally be a Christian from birth.
But that is not so, although it certainly set me on the path to becoming a Christian.
You see my parents were Christian missionaries to India and so from my birth I was instructed in the Christian way of life. In fact I was dedicated to Christ as an infant, similar to what some Christians call “Christening”.
But that didn’t make me a Christian.. Not until I was a teenager however, did I come to understand what it meant to be a Christian.
One ancient King wrote in Psalm 51:5 that we were conceived in Sin. That means we are all sinners at birth or born into Sin.
Paradoxically it is true to say that children born to Christian parents do have what I call a spiritual covering over their lives until they reach the age of accountability. 1 Corinthians 7:14
It is true to say that my upbringing taught me Christian values such as honesty, kindness, love, respect for others and doing good to your neighbour.
These values shaped my life and gave me the moral compass for the journey of life.
I am grateful to my parents for teaching me. However they didn’t make me a Christian.
When I started to grow up and ask questions, I naturally looked around and observed that not all people agreed with my parent’s point of view, let alone their faith.
I soon discovered that in Australia at least, Christianity was a marginal religion that was not talked about in public.
At high school I soon discovered that most of the boys in my class were not Christians as I knew it. In fact most had no religious belief, yet held the view that somehow historically Christianity was the nominal religion of Australia (take it or leave it).
Indeed Australians were largely a secular society founded on the Judeo/Christian ethic.
I also soon found out that even amongst nominal Christians I was an oddity, as I was brought up in a “Pentecostal” home with “strange beliefs”!
All these observations started to worry me. I began to question my values and my parents beliefs or “religion” as it was called. What is truth? – became a significant question in my heart.
I was worried, really worried! I found myself questioning my parents faith and even wondered who is telling the truth! Naturally I wanted to believe that what I had been taught was the truth, and nothing but the truth.
As time went by I asked many questions of myself and read much concerning contemporary world religions and their teachings. ‘Surely they can’t all be wrong or right for that matter’ was my mode of thinking.
Some religions seem to propagate good philosophy but ultimately left people to their own interpretation.
Eventually I thought to myself ‘there has to be something more than interpreting religious thought.’ Which led me to examine the actual claims of the founders of these religions.
Clearly the founder of Christianity Jesus Christ stood out as the one who made the most outrageous claims about Himself.
What’s more, Christianity seemed to be the only world religion that claimed a resurrected Saviour as its founder. He rose from the dead!
It was this issue of Christ’s resurrection that really was the catalyst or turning point in my search for truth. But first let me quote to you some of the amazing claims that Christ made of Himself:
5. He claimed to be the only way to God : John 14:6
6. He claimed to be the first and the last : Revelation 22:13.
Astounding as these claims seem, it was the fact of the resurrection that was the tipping point in my walk of faith.
You see, I reasoned that if these claims of Jesus Christ were true, then He deserved my total allegiance.
But if they were false, then He was the biggest fraudster (confidence trickster) that ever walked the face of this planet, and I like millions of other believers were the victims of his deception.
You see when it comes to faith, it is difficult to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that history actually happened. That is why it is called faith. However, the weight of evidence in my opinion was sufficient to sway my life.
As I looked at the historic account of the life of Jesus and the utterances of his life and preaching (read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-48 ) I became convinced that He was who He claimed to be.
When I read of the evidence of the Resurrection of Christ 1 Corinthians 15:1-22 I became even more convinced that He was the Christ the Son of the Living God.
After examining the character and person of Jesus Christ as outlined in history and the Word of God, I came to a point of decision and accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour. This decision has two converging factors.
1. God reaching out in Divine Revelation to me.
2. My acceptance by faith.
From that day to this I know that my name is written in the book of life Revelation 21:27 and I have eternal salvation.
Am I presumptuous in saying that? No because I cannot save myself it is the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ that saves me.
If I am wrong then I have lost nothing, but if am right I have peace and eternal salvation.
Think about it! The decision is yours.
That is why I am a fully Devoted Follower of Jesus Christ.
As you consider these thoughts I invite you to watch this video and contemplate your journey of faith in this life.
Thanks to my sons David who sings this classic ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’, and for Philip who provided the graphic painting of the head of Christ near the end.
The lyrics are a poignant message of this haunting celtic melody.
I invite you to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour and open the door of your heart to a life of Faith in Christ!