Why Become a Christian?
I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. John 10:9
The short answer to the question "Why become a Christian?" is that it's so much better. Better now and better in the future.
Jesus Becomes the Centre of Your Life
As a Christian, Jesus Christ becomes the centre of your life. He becomes your Lord and master. Most people today aren't used to this idea. We're used to thinking of this type of relationship as exploitation. That's because people have abused this type of relationship so much that it's become synonymous with exploitation. But Jesus came to save us, not to exploit us. He gave up his life on the cross for us. His life was sacrificial:
"For the Son of Man [that is, Jesus Christ] also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Serving Jesus as our Lord and master is something that benefits us. That's really the key to this whole "thing" of Christianity.
When you really believe that following Jesus is in your best interest, because you gain so much from it, then it all works out. It's when you start to think other things are worth more that you can run into problems. It's good to be aware of this from the start, so you know what to look out for. And what to look towards fixing if you do run into problems.
To repeat that, if you run into problems, take deliberate action to remind yourself of how much Jesus is worth — and bring him back to the centre, the focus of your life. Where he belongs. (I'll put up some more specific suggestions for this in the future...)
God Knows More than You
There are a few other points that tie in here. Together these make the core of what really changes your life.
I've deliberately tried to avoid using too much religious-specific language on this page. Because the page is written for readers who aren't already Christians — and you may not have had much (or any) Christianity in your background. For example, I could say that the core of what really changes your life is propitiation given by grace. Without understanding what the religious language means, nor the context it fits into, it's hard to get much out of it.
Which means that when you read most Christian material as a non-Christian, you aren't able to see the meaning of it. It would be like walking past a huge pot of gold lying outside on the ground, that's been covered over with an old tarp, so that you don't even notice anything valuable is there. Understanding the "religion-speak" comes later, as you grow and mature in faith and in your Christian experience.
These other points are closely tied in with the point above (that Jesus becomes the centre of your life). There are three of them:
- Realising and accepting that God knows more than you know.
- God is all powerful, he is in charge of what happens in the world and in your life; in the sense that the things in your life happen according to his will.
- God loves you. Through your faith in following Christ, who shows you the way, and opens the door, God totally accepts you. (Also, if you stay with this mindset, this means that anything you've done, no matter how bad, God will forgive you.)
When you put these together, what you get is quite amazing — amazing enough to change almost everything about the way you view life. Things happen because of what God decides should happen. He loves you, and knows more than you.
What this really means — and this is the part where it starts to really make a difference to your thoughts and feelings — is that it's not up to you anymore. As you live your life, and as events happen (whether they seem good or bad), things happen according to God's will. Even if you don't like them, they are still happening for your good. (And for the greater good of God's creation). Even if you think they are awful, God knows more than you. He is acting in love towards you. And he is the one who holds the power to make these events happen. This means that you learn to view things, and accept things, and appreciate things, and do things in a completely and totally different way to before.
It's also completely and totally different to the many popular methods of "self improvement". With these, the idea is to imagine what you think are the best things you could have in your life, and then you follow various methods which promise to get you those things. Although this seems completely logical, there are some big problems: The first problem — a very large problem — is that it doesn't work. Usually you don't get the improvements you had so hoped for. And even when you do get them, they somehow never bring the satisfaction and happiness you thought they would. Another problem is that it's all about you. Not only is God left out, but usually other people are left out too (apart from how they can help you get what you want). So you end up lonely and empty inside.
So doing what you think is best doesn't work. And even if it did work (in the sense of getting what you want), it still wouldn't work (in the sense of making you happy). After you realise this, you can begin to understand the third problem: You don't even know what's actually good for you and what's not.
When you get to this point, it's time to look towards God for answers.
Sometimes God's love can feel like (and actually be) "tough love". Like the love of a parent that doesn't want their child to snort cocaine. Even if the child "knows" perfectly well that cocaine is good for them, because it makes them feel so good. The parent knows more than the child does. And God, your Father in heaven, knows more than you do.
The bottom line is that from now on, things are okay. Even if sometimes they don't seem okay. They are okay because God is in charge of them, he loves you, and he knows more than you do about what's good for you. This also means that it's okay for you to submit to God — in fact doing so will make things much better for you.
Jesus came to Earth to explain these things (and many other things too), and to show us how God works. And how by believing in him, and following him, we can be saved from our own wrong ideas about what's good for us. And learn to live in a way that's actually good for us — how God wants us to live — rather than the way that our very limited human minds and emotions tell us is the best way to live.
When you have enough faith in this, it's easy to allow Jesus Christ to be your Lord and master.
Next page: Who is Jesus Christ?
See also: What is Christianity About?
Cover image by sajo95.