We all come to Christ from different places and for different reasons. Some of us grew up in Christian families and strayed off the path for a while, then later came back to the faith. Others are from completely different backgrounds such as atheism and other religions. Our reasons are also just as varied – from reading a book that ‘speaks to us’, hearing someone’s testimony, being in a low point in life and ‘stumbling’ on Christianity, a missionary preaching to us, or even after a divine encounter.
In whichever way or for whatever reason we come to Christ, one thing remains constant; that it’s not by accident but by divine intention. In John 15:16, Jesus says that, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit…” And in John 6:44, He says that, “No one can come to me (Christ) unless the Father who sent me draws him…”. Beloved, our coming to Christ is something that only God can enable. So, there’s no such thing as accidentally coming to the faith, or certain circumstances pushing us to believe.
The apostle Paul further tells us in Ephesians 1:4 that “For He (God) chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” You see, God knows everything, and nothing can surprise Him. He already knew – long before we were born, those who are His and those who are not. What more, it is He Himself who chooses His own. It’s not about how good we are or how smart we are or how lucky we are, it’s about God’s desire and decision– “In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5).”
There are several people who experience a lot of emotion and excitement when they become Christians – especially those who are from other religions, or those who get a life-shaking revelation. For others of us, and especially those who grew up in Christian families, dedicating or rededicating our lives to Christ may not necessarily come with drama. Its like the difference between falling in love the first time with a stranger and falling back in love again with someone you’ve dated for years.
It’s easy to think that we’ll always be on that ‘high’. But sooner or later, things settle down and life goes back to the ordinary, and we start to wonder if the whole experience was real or if we imagined it all. At other times, we expect that our decision to follow Christ will bring a significant change or transformation to our physical life – like we’ll wake up the next morning and all our troubles have vanished, or that disappointments and rejections will fade into thin air, or that we’ll be healed of our ailments and so forth.
And so, when the excitement subsides, or when we realize that not much has changed in our lives, we become disappointed. It’s not uncommon to hear of people who strayed back to their ways and turned their back on their momentarily-found faith because it stopped feeling real. But there’s a reason why it’s called ‘faith’, and not ‘feeling’ – because it’s about conviction, not sensation.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t automatically take away our heartaches and troubles. We go through ups and downs like every other human who’s walked the earth. Disappointments, death, disasters, diseases, fears, loss, heartbreaks – name it, continue to be part of our life’s experiences. Yet because we have faith, not just in a higher power, but in the ultimate power of the only true God, the Creator of all things, the only Sovereign God, then our hope, with or without challenges, rests on a solid, unshakable ground. Of course, it doesn’t always feel that way, because, as one might say, shit does happen. And there’re many times when it’ll seem that God is far or that He is not concerned.
It’s worth to note that as you start out this journey of faith that there’ll be several hurdles to overcome. No, Christianity is not a bed of roses – how I wish that it were. I’m sure every Christ’s follower can testify of many rough patches they’ve endured. This is not to discourage you but to make you aware that difficult times are not signs of God’s absence or failed faith. As long as we live in a fallen world, we are not exempt from life’s darker side. But there are also many, many times that God comes through for us in our struggles – sometimes not as soon as we want it, and sometimes not in the way that we want it – but He gives us grace that’s sufficient enough to carry us through the darkness. And the hope that we have in Him – and the peace that comes with faith sustains us is the madness.
Where do we go from here?
The proceeding posts share some of the habits a new believer should get into in order to get grounded in their faith.