Starting a new study at our men’s group, we were asked to go around the room and talk about how each of us came to believe in Jesus Christ. It’s always a somewhat uncomfortable thing to do because it inevitably leads to confessions about how screwed up each of us were and are. However, we’re called to bear witness so it’s something we need to get used to doing. It also helps everyone get to know each other.
At any rate, we did the exercise and while I can’t and won’t talk about individual stories I found that the group is broken up roughly into two groups. Group 1 are the partiers. Guys who grew up resenting religion, doing drugs, having sex, and basically living life 100% for themselves. Group 2 are guys who grew up in Christian homes and never rebelled, never did anything wrong and generally had a pretty enjoyable upbringing.
Now what I found interesting as I listened to the stories was that I immediately wanted to look down on the guys who had a good upbringing and never screwed up. I mean, I could be a good Christian too if I was raised under perfect circumstances, who wouldn’t? That’s a ridiculous attitude of course, and after I got past my own jealousy and self pity and really started listening, I learned something very profound; Upbringing has little to do with personal faith in Jesus.
What I heard from every one of group 2 was that at some point in their lives there came a time when they had to make a choice. That choice was to either forget everything that their parents had taught them and go their own way, or to embrace the teaching and turn it into something REAL in their own lives. See, the point is that you can be raised “in the church”, but really all that is is schooling. It’s freaking academics. At some point you have to decide that your faith is something more than book smarts and that it’s a real thing, and you’re going to make it part of you.
And so I realized that we really are all the same. Though some of us had strong upbringing and some of us were left to run wild; Some made the choice early in their lives and some waited 30 years to do it, that choice is still the same; Are we going to put our faith in Jesus? Are we going to make him an integral part of our lives? Are we going to believe? And it really doesn’t matter how we arrive at that point in our lives where we have to decide to embrace Christ or not. The point is, we will face that decision.
How will you decide?