What Brought You to Christ?
I have been pondering this question a lot lately, both for myself and those around me.
Because I want to know what the draw is so I can explain it to those who know nothing about Him. But now I’m thinking there is no one right answer. For some it’s Grace, the idea we are forgiven for all our sins. That would make sense, but I don’t think it’s what first drew me.
You see, though I’ve been a sinner all my life—I know, shocker ;o)—and I did lots of things adults told me were wrong, so did everyone else … or so I reasoned. Yes, unfortunately, I think I believed in a “works theology,” but I thought I was doing pretty well, because there were lots of people around me doing much worse.
I worked very hard to maintain some standards in my life. Some for my vague notion of a moral authority (or God), but many to ensure I was successful as the world defines success. I liked being master of my own destiny, feeling I couldn’t go wrong, because I had control over what happened to me. This gave me a sense of power, but became increasingly wearying as the awesome responsibility attached to it grew.
When I first heard—vaguely—about this thing called Grace, it didn’t resonate as having a ton of value. I didn’t realize the depth of my sins, nor did I recognize the sacrifice made for my prescribed punishment—death. I guess I thought my “good” behavior was more about escaping punishment in this life.
What did it for me? What finally attracted me to this Savior guy and His Father?
I asked my sister the same question recently and she answered with the same word—Peace.
Why peace and what does it come from? The answer for me would have to be from order and security. You see, now that I can trust a wise God who knows all and believe that His framework is a good one, I don’t have to wonder what to do next. I do what He calls me to do, whether it be abstaining from sin or acting on an answer to prayer. I didn’t used to trust God completely. You might say I didn’t have faith. But once I saw other Christians following His precepts from the Bible and watched the fruits of that faith, I decided to try it myself. That’s when I discovered something amazing—He knows what He’s talking about, and the fact there is someone out there who truly knows—amongst the contradicting talking heads—gives me peace.
Which brings me to the next characteristic—security. Oh, how I used to worry about every little thing. When relying on myself to achieve, I also relied on myself to stay safe. But this is not a safe world, so for someone desiring absolute safety, I’d be tempted to cloister myself and never take risks. Not a good way to live. Then, I learned about the Sovereignty of God and I no longer need be ruled by my own control. I could leave it in God’s hands and know that whatever happens He has a purpose in it. Yes, bad things still occur, but I’ve been able to see how He’s used even these for good.
As I listen to sermon after sermon on Grace, or read about others putting down churches for focusing on the abstention of sin—calling them hate-mongers—I wonder why it is I sometimes feel a greater comfort (yes, I said comfort) with the latter. For me, I guess, it’s partially because that is the place God met me first—showing me a better way. It’s where I learned to trust Him. It was also the first time I was able to relax.
Think about Psalm 23:4 where it says, “your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV). Why would a rod and staff bring comfort? They are big sticks! The word for rod, as translated, can be a tool for punishing, ruling (like a scepter) and walking. The word for staff means a walking stick used for support. The message here is that His authority and our trusting reliance on His wisdom gives us comfort. And it does for me. I no longer have to figure EVERYTHING out. I need only look to Him.
I like that!
So where does Grace come in? Given it is the one thing that sets Christianity apart from all other religions, it plays a huge roll. For some who’ve grown up in a works-based church it is the immediate draw. But for those whose lives were saturated in relative good and bad, it appears almost meaningless.
Finally, as I learned more about this God of the Bible and how smart this dude really was, I learned two things: 1) His ways are right; and 2) Knowing He’s right, I still don’t always follow Him. It began to dawn on me that He is really really good, and I am really really … not. He does not have to save me from my prescribed punishment and yet He sacrificed everything to do just that. The more I come to know Him and the more I seek to do His will, the more I feel the gap between who He is and what I am.
NOW, I appreciate Grace! Oh boy, do I appreciate Grace. I think this is what Paul meant when he wrote, “No one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20, NIV). We cannot truly appreciate this wonderful gift until we understand, not just the law, but the wisdom of its author. It’s humbling to say the least. And yet God reaches down to us and calls us His.
So as we preach the Gospel, let us not only teach of God’s love, but of His wise counsel. Let us help others experience the totality of their Creator’s greatness: order, tempered by His unending love.
Please tell me in the comments below, what is it that first drew YOU to Christ? And if you have a longer testimony you’d like to share with me, email me from my contacts tab. I’d love to hear from you!
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