Friday, July 29, 2005

Why Do I Believe?

In his sermon last week, Scott Owings challenged us to be able to articulate why we believe in/follow Jesus. I thought I’d use this space this week to work on that.

If I’m being totally, brutally honest, I’d have to say that I probably believe in Jesus because I was brought up in the church. Not believing simply wasn’t an option. I did Sunday school, Sunday night church, Wednesday nights.

Even through high school and college, my primary associations and social circle were with Christians. In fact, going to church became a form of rebellion for me from my parents, particularly the church I went to.

But now. I’m 33 years old and I have to have my own reasons. My faith has to stand on its own, not propped up by my social circle.

So why do I follow Jesus? Because in what I read of him, I can see no better way. The Jesus of Scripture calls for me to lay down my life and all of its burdens and live in him. He says that if I follow him, I’ll have life and life more abundantly or to its fullest. Now I know that doesn’t mean life will be easy. That doesn’t mean that I’ll have riches and wealth. It means that in very brief moments I’ll understand the joy that comes from being a follower of Jesus and a servant of others.

I follow Jesus because I believe in his atoning power. I believe that Jesus ransomed the world and conquered death in the cross and the resurrection. I believe that in doing that, Jesus gave a promise for eternity, that those who follow him will be with him for eternity. And I believe that that means now (here on earth) and in eternity.

I also follow Jesus because of the community around me. I’m surrounded by people that I know believe in and love Jesus. Their faith encourages me. Their lives give me example of how to live as Christ in a fallen world. They push me to explore greater depths of this life that I have, to swim deeper in the ocean of faith.

So that’s it, I guess. That’s what I have. Anyone else?

Oh, btw, if anyone is interested, there’s a discussion of Lee Camp’s book Mere Discipleship, going on at Mere Discipleship has been a book that has greatly encouraged and challenged me on this journey over the last 18 months. I highly recommend it and invite any of you to participate as well.


Tony Arnold said...

I love the "I believes" Phil. Thanks for the personal proclamations.


jettybetty said...

This is great! What a wonderful thing to really think through--I suppose we all need to do this occasionally. I may do it on my blog soon. What a beautiful way to proclaim faith!


DB Carden said...

One migh sum this up with, "why not?" ;-)

jettybetty said...

I am now officially a copy cat!

Malia said...

This was inspiring and encouraging. My faith walk started the same way yours did, by being raised with going to church. But I know my faith has grown and become it's own over the years. I'd like to think had I not been raised in church that I would eventually have to come to Lord on my own, but since I can't know that, I remain forever grateful to my parents for giving me that foundation.


These are my answers based on my personal experience:

1- I follow Jesus because when I cried out to him in time of depression, He listened to my cry for help (He sent His followers who knocked at my door and gave me courage and hope).

2- I follow Jesus because He called me to follow Him (He put in my heart a great desire to follow Him).

3- I follow Jesus because He looked into my eyes and loved me (My desire to be with Him).

4- I follow Jesus because He purified me (through the darkness, the spiritual desert, and when he hid Himself away from me = absence of His Presence).

5- I follow Jesus because He forgave my sins (when I confessed to a priest).

6- I follow Jesus because He opened my eyes to the Scriptures (After I confessed).

7- I follow Jesus because He taught me how to deny myself, take up the cross, and follow Him (through my failures, weakness, and sufferings).

8- I follow Jesus because He asked me: "Angel Anthony, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." "Feed my sheep."

9- I follow Jesus because He sent me to strengthen all Christians (Catholics and non-Catholics) on their journey to heaven.

10- I follow Jesus because one day, He will give the crown of glory in His Kingdom.

Ray LeGrand said...

Phil -

I love your honesty in this post and the fact that you took the time to wrestle with the reason.

I'm sure you know how many people DON'T have a real answer to the question, but merely spout off some "christianeese" crappy answer that they themselves don't even understand!

Excellent - Excellent - Excellent!



Phil said...

Thanks, Ray. I'm trying to avoid those kind of answers in my life.

tjmccloud said...

I feel the same way- really struggling with what I really do believe, as evidenced by my own actions. I find that I believe more in God making me better than others than I do in God making me a servant. I find that my heart wants the trappings of God without the reality of his sacrifice playing out in my life. In lots of real ways, I really feel like if I really believed the things I say I do- my life would look so much different, but how do I get there?
Anxious to read MD- hearing you guys talk about it has got me pumped up.
Thanks for your blog- TJ

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