My college professor would tell you that I’m predisposed to Christianity, which means I’m more likely to accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of my life. I gave him that because it’s true. I was born into a Catholic family in a traditionally Catholic country. At the time, I felt like my faith wasn’t as transformative because the leap from Catholicism to Protestant Christianity wasn’t that big. Same God. Same Jesus. Almost the same Bible. There are major differences, but for the most part, the transition was easy, especially since I was a child at my conversion.
There’s nothing like college to make you a realist. Later I’ll tell you how they debunked the idea of “The One” in one class discussion, and how I sat there with pouting on the inside.
Are you predisposed to Christianity too? Just because we are, doesn’t mean our faith is any less special. Just because the conversion leap wasn’t big, doesn’t mean our spiritual transformation is any less significant.
One of the top lessons I’ve learned about faith is the need to own it. I need to own my faith. You need to own your faith. Our faith cannot be dependent on anyone or anything. It cannot be dependent on our church, our families, or the circumstances of our lives.
I imagine this scenario:
There is only one church in the entire world that practices your faith. Every Christian goes to this church, and there’s a magical rule that prevents the different faiths to have multiple places of worship. The magical rule also states that if you leave your church, you leave your faith. It’s black and white scenario. If you’re in, you’re in. If you’re out, you’re out. You’re either cold or hot. No gray areas.
If you were a Christian, this was your church. This is the only church you can ever attend. Then one day, the church turns against you. They accuse you of things you didn’t do. They stab your back. They isolate you. They turn your friends against you.
What do you do?
Your options are limited. You can stay and continue to live in persecution. You can leave the church and the Christian faith in order to join another church and faith (magical rule, remember?). You can leave and be part of no church and no faith.
To own your faith means taking the first option. You stay. You stay in the church that persecutes you because your faith is not about that church. It is not about the people in that church. It is about the God of your faith. Maybe you can’t stand the preacher, but you listen to the Word of God anyway. Maybe the worship team is mean to you, but you participate in worship anyway. You give your tithes and offering even though the church board ignore you.
That’s what I imagine anyway, because at the end of it all, you and I will face God by ourselves. Your faith is ultimately between God and you. So is my faith. I will stand in front of God and give an account of my faith and my life. It’s a pathetic excuse to say, “Well God, I stopped going to church because the people were mean. I stopped reading the Bible because my work load tripled. I stopped giving my money because I didn’t want to support the ministries since the leaders gossiped about me.”
I imagine God saying that none of those mattered. We go to the house of worship to worship Him. We read our Bibles to learn His Word. We give our tithes and offerings to obey His commands. We practice our faith in the face of persecution because we love God.
It’s extreme to think of the scenario I described above, but there are many Christians around the world living in extreme faith scenarios. They are being hunted for their faith, and many have already been killed. They are owning their faith. In the face of extreme situations, they continue to believe. They refuse to leave their faith in God.
When we own our faith, nothing shakes us. The Bible says that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:31-39), as in there’s nothing in the world that can make God stop loving us.
This should be true the other way around. There should be nothing in the world that can make us stop loving God. Nothing should tear us away from our faith.
When this finally clicked in my head, heart, and spirit, I found a freedom that allowed my soul to breathe. I can finally say that I’m a Christian and know that it’s my faith. I may have bee predisposed. I may have been influenced by friends and family. But my faith is my own. It is my relationship with God. He is my God.