Faith I Call My Own
Whether you've grown up with Bible bedtimes stories and Sunday School each week, or you've only just heard about Jesus through a friend - it can sometimes be hard to know if being a Christian is "real", or whether you feel like it's just a habit or a lifestyle inherited from the people around you. I know lots of our readers will be be able to relate to Jessie's post below, where she takes us through her thoughts on this. She reminds us that we can be sure in our faith, and that we are able to enter into personal relationship with our Father God.
As a Christian, I know that “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us” (Ephesians 1:7-8). As Christians, we all came to know this to be true in different ways. Whether it be at a seekers’ Bible study, surveying God’s creation, at camp, at home, alone. I should be praising God for using my family to tell me this great news. However, this isn’t always my natural reaction.
I was brought up in a Christian family. My Dad became a Christian at university after his friends brought him along to some Christian Union events and my Mum became a Christian when she was even younger. Because their faith is so important to them, they wanted to tell me about Jesus and, so, for as long as I can remember, I've been taken along to church. But, when I was about 17 or 18 I began to wobble a little, at times doubting whether the faith I thought I had was really mine.
After going to some summer Christian camps, I realised that some people had different, far more ‘exciting’ conversion stories than me. They'd have a particular date when it all made sense to them. They could pinpoint an eye-opening conversation, or a mind-blowing talk or a miraculous moment when God suddenly opened their eyes to their need of Jesus and immediately put their trust in Him. Me? I didn't have a specific moment. I'd become a Christian over a longer period of time, gradually figuring out what it was all about. But, this meant that I began to worry. What if I was only a Christian because of my parents? I feared that my parents had made the decision regarding my faith for me and that I'd just got carried along by it.
On top of that, sixth form was a stage when my friends began to ask me more questions. "How can you really believe the Bible when it tells you that you’re a sinner?" "How can you live your life for something that was written 2000 and more years ago?" "Why don't you just have fun? YOLO!"
This meant I had some thinking to do. Ultimately I had to ask myself a question: "Who do you think that Jesus is?"
He made outrageous claims about himself being the Son of God. He died and He rose again. If I believed that happened, then there was no other logical explanation.
He had to be God.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, put it like this:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic…or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”
Some verses that helped me in my doubts were from Isaiah 53. These were written hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, yet perfectly depict what he came to do. How amazing and reassuring is that!?
"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
Seeing this reminded me of what I had known all along. That I was living life for myself and had turned my back on God who had given me all good things and so I needed forgiveness. Reading these verses always amazes me. Out of God’s love, Jesus took my place and took the punishment that I deserve.
Every conversion is a miracle, whether you've been a Christian for as long as you can remember, or whether you've only just put your faith in God. We are ALL part of God's family. We are all sisters in Christ.
This doesn't mean that I don't still have my doubts from time to time, but it does mean that I can have full assurance that this is my faith. I should spend more time thanking my parents for telling me the amazing news about Jesus! God used my parents to bring me into his family, so thank you Mum and Dad for sharing the gospel with me.
If you doubt the truth of the good news of Jesus then I really encourage you to read the book of Luke in the Bible. Luke writes that “since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:3-4).
My name is Jessie Purvis and I'm a recent graduate of Durham University. I am very excited to be starting Relay for UCCF in about a month and moving to Bradford!