New Year's message
The following is from the January/February issue of my local church newsletter. I write a column for each issue; my column is called The Wordsmith's Forge.
In a bit of multi-tasking the other day, I was shaving while listening to an imaginary conversation that was playing in my head. In that conversation, a rather aggressive questioner was asking me, "Why are you a follower of Jesus Christ?"
In response, I suddenly looked the image in the mirror in the eye, and spoke my answer aloud: "Because I love him."
That startled me. But I realized that it was profoundly true. Now, if a real person had really leaned on me in a real conversation, my normal response would have been to either a) lay the groundwork for the argument for the existence of God and the historicity of the resurrection, or b) to tell how I came to faith in Christ. But that's not why,
that's merely how.
we know what we know, or how
you or I came to faith may be very valuable for someone else who is struggling to believe; nevertheless, it doesn't explain why
I am a Christian today. After all, said James, "Even the demons believe -- and shudder" (James 2:19b). I am long past the formative stage where I wrestled with who God is, or what Christianity is about, or what I should do about my soul. The question the guy in my head was asking was, "What about NOW? Why are you a follower of Jesus Christ today?"
And the answer is simple. Because I love him. That may seem a little understated, but it is essentially what Polycarp replied when told that he would be killed if he did not deny his faith in Christ. "Eighty and six years have I served him," Polycarp replied, "and he never did me any harm. So how can I deny my Lord who bought me?"
I love Jesus because he first loved me. Because I found peace with God through him. Because my sins are forgiven for his sake. Because I found in him a refuge when I was lost, and he did not refuse me when I felt altogether unclean and dissatisfied with myself. Because he gives me hope. Because I always feel better after talking with him. Because he IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Because, well, just because. As many reasons as I can think up, love is something that doesn't need a reason anymore. It's just a fact of my life.
I hope that it's a fact of yours, too.