The human mind is a fickle thing. It thinks in such a volume that we have difficulty keeping all of the things we are thinking focused. It often goes back and forth attempting to make sense of our current situation. When we are younger, our parents help us to form the general way we think. You could look at this as brainwashing, but ultimately when we are younger, everything brainwashes us, so parents have a responsibility to ensure their children gravitate toward a healthy world view.
As a young boy, my parents taught me how to follow Jesus. They were both good and bad at it, as most of us are, and in the end, I had a decision to make. I remember being at a crossroads in my 23rd year of life, and realizing I could make any decision I wanted about Christianity. I locked myself in my room, and believe that I encountered Christ during those intense days.
In that cold bedroom in the spring of 1998 in Atlanta, reading Psalms 86, I surrendered my heart and life to Jesus. After that, I was not perfect and had a long way to go to being “like” him, (as I do now), but Then, my loyalty was decided.
Since that time, in what seems like another world, society evolved in ways I can barely imagine. The internet, social media, and amounts of information that previously never existed in one place, can now be accessed and poured over, allowing our brains to think. We now have good reasons to doubt everything, and so we do. Nothing is truth. Everything should be questioned. Relativity is a thing.
I’ve certainly had reason to walk away from my faith. We all do. If you’ve been a Christian any amount of time, you have reasons as well. Church scandals have erupted in every denomination. The love of sex, money, and power erode church leadership and destroy the integrity of the church. And (what I believe is) well meaning individuals write books and have podcasts that likens following Jesus to following any other good religion. “All roads to lead to heaven” has never been more popular of a mantra.
Of course, the church fights back against this type of thinking in loud, unloving, and demeaning ways, preaching against heresy and wolves who might be in sheep’s clothing.
All of this can be taxing on the Christian who has surrendered her heart to following Jesus, especially when friends are giving up on church and faith like never before.
In this world of so much information and so many thoughts, ideologies and philosophies flowing in and out of our heads, how do we know who is a Christian and who is not? Also with an abundance of deconstruction taking place, what does it mean to follow Jesus?
It’s a loaded group of questions, but necessary as we move toward the future, and like Israel, learn that there should be a difference between how we live naturally and how we live controlled by the Spirit of God. And that difference can be summed up in one phrase that separates and unites all at the same time.
Jesus is Lord.
In the end, do you and I believe that the Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible, who was born, lived, gave His life, and was risen again, is Lord of the entire universe in general and Lord of your life specifically? Would you say that in a room full of nuns, politicians, or gang members? Are you committed to following after him in such a way that everything you have, own, and hold belongs to him?
You see, your parents can help you become a Christian in your head, but as the 23 yr. old Marty learned, they cannot help you make an adult brained choice to surrender everything you have and follow. He’s not your Lord if you just wanted to play basketball on a gold court next to St Peter.
Today, figure out whether or not you are a Christian. Ask yourself, “If I was by myself, and everyone in our culture, evangelical or not, decided to walk away from their faith, would I be able to say, “Jesus is Lord over all of this”?