What pulled me into Christianity?

A friend asked me "what pulled you into chritianity? im not religious or anything.. just curious" on Formspring, I don't know if Formspring allows so many characters to properly answer that question. So I'll answer here.

 

If I explain it Biblically and simply, I would say that it was God that pulled me into Christianity. It was God that tugged at my heart and mind into a curiosity about him.

 

But I will explain the mechanisms he used to pull me towards Christianity.

 

I did grow up in the Christian church, so it's easy to assume that I'm a Christian because of my upbringing. But this might have been God's way of drawing me towards himself. Anyone that knows me well knows that I like to know all the wrong ways to do something so I can correctly understand the right way. God is aware of this in me, it's how he made me. When I started skateboarding, it took me 3 months to learn how to ollie (that is when you jump over things with the skateboard). I've seen it take a few weeks for a lot of my friends to learn an ollie. So every night I would go outside to try to jump over things with my skateboard. At this point of my life, though I haven't skated regularly, I can ollie almost as good as I ever have. I never lost it. Also I can pretty much teach anyone how to ollie, because I know nearly every way to ollie wrong. Just like when Thomas Edison finally made the light bulb he said, "I didn't fail 10,000 times, I just learned 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb". If he made the light bulb the first few tries, he might not be able to make it again, cause it could have been a fluke, but since he knows every wrong way of doing it, I'm sure he made lots more after the first one. My mind likes to know the wrong way, so I can embrace and teach the right way. Like in skateboarding, I can teach it, but I also can probably ollie many years from now, because I remember all the wrong ways to do it. When a lot of my friends that learned it in a few weeks, now can barely get the skateboard off the ground.

 

So like I said, I grew up in the Christian church, but in one sense I believe I got to see a lot of the wrong teachings and the false gospels that the church sometimes is quick to preach. For example, every friend of mine that went to the same church patterns as me is not a Christian anymore. That challenged my faith a lot to see my friends fade away from the faith because of what I think to be a result of a false gospel being taught to us. It's not like I was taught Christianity at a young age and never questioned it since. There were milestones of questioning and doubt that made it slowly become my own.

 

So when I was about eighteen, my best friend and brother told me he doesn't believe in Jesus being the son of God. This rocked my world for a few years. It made me ask that question to myself, do I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God? My brother didn't stop believing just for convenience or status, but genuinely couldn't muster up a belief. He had some very legit questions that I had to ask myself also. The only way I could describe what I was going through to my friends was that I had been given an orange every year by my parents, friends and my church and every now and then I'd pick up a clementine. And my brother had a bunch of clementines in his hands and we both collided enough to knock all of our fruits onto the ground. So I had to slowly pick back up what was mine and I had to really think about and question each fruit before picking it back up and claiming it as my own. The only thing keeping me sane was that I had one orange that I firmly grasped that I didn't lose in the collision. So I had to compare every fruit to the orange in my hand before calling it an orange, even though they all might have looked like oranges. It made me question my faith, question every thing I was taught, question everything I once held so dear.

 

So why me? I ask this all the time, why am I still a Christian and all my friends are not?

 

One church that my friends and I went to occasionally took the Bible to make it say things that weren't Biblical. For example, after we got a new church building with new carpets they put the verse "...take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” above the door so people would take off their boots and shoes before walking on the new carpet. Instead of just saying "Hey, we got new carpet, so take off your shoes" they used that verse to try to make it Biblical. So this very church started to tell me that I shouldn't wear ripped jeans or army pants to church. This is when rips in jeans weren't store-bought and the rips came from climbing trees and being a kid. Once, when I had a cold, they told me I couldn't go to the bathroom during worship service to blow my nose. One time, during worship a mentally handicapped regular member of the church brought musical spoons to play during worship. He played them off rhythm but through that I was drawn more to worship because it showed how God accepts us in our failures, so while that inspired me to worship, an usher came to him and asked him to stop. In that, something screamed at me saying "that's not God!". I felt God really calling me to read the Bible and see who he really is instead of depending on getting it spoon fed to me. I started reading things like, "For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) and I started learning that scattered all over the Bible God looks at the heart of man and not the outward actions. That's why Jesus had so many problems with the religious leaders in the Bible, because they would pray long prayers, give to the church, fast, know their Bible and follow all the rules but their hearts were far from God, "... [they] honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me..." (Isaiah 29:13).

 

The church I went to tried to change our actions, not our hearts. Which is the problem you see in a lot of churches nowadays, but it's completely un-Biblical. Unfortunately when people think of Christianity, they think of "rules". I'm sure any non-Christian that is reading this has had a Christian come up to them and tell them to stop doing something or do something differently. I'm sorry, that is unbiblical. You not having an abortion won't save you, you not getting drunk ever again won't save you, you not having an affair won't save you. Your only hope is the Love of God revealed in Jesus Christ and your repentance towards him that will save you. God has never intended on just making you stop gossiping or hating your fellow man, he doesn't want your actions to change, he wants to change your heart, which will eventually change your actions.

 

Sometimes when people learn that God looks at the hearts and not our actions we are relieved, because we think our hearts are more pure than our actions: "Well I didn't mean to do that" or "If I could do it again I wouldn't". But the Bible says that God looks at the hearts of men but unfortunately for us, all of our hearts are evil and our actions just prove it. "For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23).

 

My friends walked away from the faith because they were taught a false gospel of morality. Which is exhausting, thinking that our salvation is dependent on whether or not we stop looking at porn, gossiping, lusting, hating, or being selfish. But like I said, the way God wired me is to learn all the ways that are false first then I can embrace and teach the true way. Morality and works will never save you or anyone. We can never change our own hearts and our actions won't earn us God's love. It seems depressing that we can't earn God's love, but it's quite opposite, Jesus died for us when we were still sinners, not when we got our lives figured out or when we stopped watching porn. He died for us when we were in our worst.

 

When an army was approaching a King, he would send the poor out to fight the army to weaken the army before the arrived to the King's castle in hopes that the army would be tired and fewer enough for his knights to finish them off. There is something beautiful about a king, for the first time in history, goes first so the peasants don't have to die.

 

The difference between religion and the true gospel is that religion is man's attempt to get to God and the gospel is that God came to man to offer reconciliation.

 

To me, there is something beautiful and attractive about Christianity. That Jesus Christ "...who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

 

So when that church was telling me to take off my shoes and telling a mentally handicap person not to worship God with spoons, there is so much about that that is very unattractive, but that makes the true gospel so much more attractive.

 

So to answer the question "what draws me to Christianity" I would have to answer, the true gospel of Jesus Christ is what draws me to God. The very fact that God loves me, in spite of me, in spite of all that I've done and all the mistakes I've made and will continue to make, that he still loves me because of what Jesus Christ did in my place. That is what draws me to him.

 

your friend,

 

-Isaac