So that's it then?
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
Is that it then? So after discovering Jesus, is that it? Now just live happily ever after? give up a few hours on Sunday, to meet with people who are like myself? talk to god (pray) when you need something? watch songs of praise? Try to live by the rules? Be good? Tick a new box on applications?
No, absolutely not! How dull the Christian life would life be, if that was all there was to having faith in Jesus. That sounds awful, so tiresome, depressing and boring. I couldn’t live like that and that is not what my faith is about. It’s not an amazing re-birth story and then goodbye Sundays – what an anti-climax - it is an ongoing relationship with Jesus.
Happily ever after?
Being a Christian, I have experienced many highs and lows, plot twists and miracles as well as the mundane, ordinary, injustices, sadness and joy. During these times I have had a constant companion guiding me, helping, comforting, blessing, encouraging, providing and teaching me. I have felt alone as well as loved, I have been stubborn as well as accepting. I feel that my faith has helped me grow and heal me as a person. I am a continual work in progress. I am still learning about Jesus Christ and He still amazes me. I want this blog to capture the ‘and then?’ stories, the ongoing testimonies.
So back to paragraph 1, Yes, I go to church. We attend a local Anglican church, as this is where we feel God has called us to be. I love to praise and worship God. I am hungry to know him better, to listen to the sermons, understand the scriptures and how I can apply this to my life. It is my choice and I do enjoy it. I have to be honest though, occasionally I’ve been to church and I’ve felt bored, tired, not really into it. I’ve gone with a complaining heart/not in the mood or just fed up with life. I am human and I have emotions. Emotions are indicators for us, they are not sinful - it's what we do with them that counts. It’s not always a reflection on the church (don’t forget they're human too) but more of my own heart. When I feel like that I have a choice, I can dwell in the feeling or investigate where it is coming from. It is good to be with fellow believers as they can encourage, advise you in your faith. Having friends in church help lift you up. I serve in my church, using the gifts God has given me. Being part of team helps you get to know others and it feels good to belong, to be a part of it.
God is not a slot machine, it’s not a case of say a prayer = get what you want. Praying is a lot more than requests. It is a two-way relationship where we both speak and listen to each other. It is an important part of my faith. I am honest with God. It’s not about saying fancy words but being myself (let’s face it God will see through anything I put on). God created me, He knows me inside out so He knows if I'm being fake or sincere. Prayer is an important part of our relationship.
Songs of praise?
I do not watch Songs of Praise but I do listen to Christian music – it’s not just hymns or old school songs from assemblies. There are lots of different types of Christian music to suit your preferred genre/taste. I have favourite albums and some I’m not so keen on. I now listen to more praise/worship music than not.
Living by ‘the rules’ and being ‘good’– my relationship with Jesus is not a check list of right and wrongs, I cannot earn my faith – good works do not equal salvation. This only comes from accepting Jesus. I cannot justify myself or think of myself as better than anyone else, it is only because of my faith in Jesus Christ that I am saved. I want to become more like Him and that’s not achieved through good works or good living alone. It is a gift of grace and I have accepted it.
Christians will be at different parts of their journey and we each have our own race to run. We are people with different views, cultures, experiences and perhaps differing theology but we have accepted Jesus Christ as our saviour. I serve because I want to use the gifts God has given me to help others, I serve because of all I have received from him - it is a choice. Not everyone in our church serves and they are still loved by God. Serving does not equal salvation.
Being a christian means I want to not sin, sometimes I do and for that I can repent. There are some things I will find easy to stay away from but then there are some sins I will find harder to abstain. As I grow in my journey with God, He will make me aware of sin and as always, I have the choice to submit to the will of God or the sin. Each christian will have different struggles, therefor the rules may appear different. They are not different, we each work on our assignments from God.
Some Christians will follow the bible literally, others will look at the context/culture of the time and decide if its relevant for today and some will do a bit of both. I believe this is why the 'rules' may look different when comparing Christians. For example, at some churches the culture will be to wear your best clothes and at others it will be come as you are. This is a cultural difference. Some christian women will wear head coverings, where as others will see this as the culture for the time that was written and that women do not need to cover their heads today. Jesus Christ being the Son of God, is a truth all Christians will believe. Whilst Christians may live out their faith differently, depending on how far they are in their walk, church denomination or culture they are from - we will all agree on salvation, who God and Jesus is. Therefore just merely following rules in order to be a christian, actually takes away the personal relationship which we each have with God. We are all individuals, created by God, each with our own gifts and challenges.
Ticking the box?
Yes, I tick the Christian box on applications – I am proud to! I have been baptised and publicly declare my faith. I don’t wear a badge or a t-shirt but my faith is in my heart. It’s not always easy and sometimes you have to accept people are going to think you’re a nutter or assume what your views are, before asking but I would rather that, than deny God.
I am human, I make mistakes but I try hard to learn and move forward. If I don’t learn then God will find another way to teach the lesson. He is guiding me to be the person He created. My relationship is ongoing - sometimes it’s harder than others, sometimes there are doubts and sometimes I’m on fire!
So that’s not the end – the stories and testimonies of what God does in our lives continues on from conversion/salvation. Thank you God!