Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Faith Story, Revisited

Yesterday I posted the story of how I came to have faith in God. I began by saying, “Sometimes people know exactly when believing in God happens to them, but sometimes people just ease into it and never realize how it happened. Sometimes people are just believers all their lives.”

Kilikana of “Live Each Moment” posted a comment. She said, in part, “I don't believe you can be a believer for your entire life because I believe you have to make that decision for yourself, and are not born into a Christian family therefore making yourself a Christian.”

What I meant was that sometimes children grow up with Christian influence and can't remember ever not believing. And I agree with Kilikana that they eventually have to make the conscious decision to follow Christ as they get old enough to understand the commitment—to grasp the concept.

My daughter, for example, grew up going to a Sunday school class that my mother-in-law taught. She spent a great deal of time with "Mema" and with my parents, who were also a Christian influence on her. She tells me that she can't remember ever not believing in Jesus, even though the rest of us were decidedly lukewarm. She was baptized when she was twelve. During her teen years, her best friends were all Christians, and they read their Bibles and prayed together.

When she was in college, she collided with life in "the world," and she says that in a sense, she lived a double life for a few years--believing, yet not living the Christian life. Sometime soon after college graduation, she made a conscious decision to start living the way she believed. Now she and her husband are making every effort to raise their children in faith. I wrote about that in this entry, “Drew and Jesus.”

Nobody ever just makes himself or herself a Christian. People are sinners by nature; a “sinner” is somebody who does things that cause separation from God. We all have an inborn tendency to be sinful, to rebel against God. We all need his loving forgiveness through Jesus Christ. He seeks us and reaches out to us, but we have to make a deliberate decision to open our hearts to him and follow him.

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