So . . . why do YOU believe in Jesus Christ?
So I asked this question of my students this morning. I believe in order for them to defend their belief in Jesus Christ they have to know why they believe what they do. We were learning how to defend our faith in Sunday School, and this question came up. Try to remember back to when you were a senior in high school and your whole life was still ahead of you. Didn't you think you had it all figured out back then?
The 18-24 year old demographic has the highest church drop out rate of any age group. It is during this drop-out phase that a lot of students lose their way. I feel very strongly about being honest with the students in my class. My students are still in jr. high and high school.
The biggest problem that this age group faces, I believe, is their own abilities. Yeah, I said it. Their biggest enemy is themselves. They graduate from high school and start to focus in on a narrower and narrower field of study until they find that one thing that they want to have as a career. Maybe this is through college, or the military or maybe through vocational training or on the job training. They begin to learn just one thing, just one subject instead of dabbling in several different subjects. Once they do this, they begin to master things. Not only subjects but also their own lives. They are finally in control of their own life. No parents to tell them what to do anymore. No teachers breathing down their necks. It's themselves they finally get to listen to and I believe that "themselves" need to have a strong belief system so when they start listening to themselves they will know what they are talking about.
So I don't necessarily buy into the myth that all the religious cultures and evolutionist discussions at college are what drives students away from church. No I believe it is themselves. Not only their freedom to make their own choices but also their mastery of their own life.
So what can we do to help jr. high and high school students? I think we can have discussions about these things so they are aware of them BEFORE they happen. Instead of reminiscing about the "glory days" when you were in high school. Why don't we really prepare our students for what is coming?
I never tried to sell my daughters (or son) on the fairy tale life. Life is hard, it requires certain things from you in order for you to make it. Marriage is all about sharing . . . not a white knight on a horse who makes all your dreams come true. We don't watch a lot of mushy, lovey-dovey chick flicks in our house. I guess because I don't buy into them, I don't know. The truth is still the truth. Marriage takes work and relationships don't always turn out like the movies. I don't think there is anything wrong with spelling this out to our students. I'm not going to try to "make sure my child has such and such" or "make sure my child's experience with so and so is a fabulous one". I am not in control.
Okay, so that was totally off the subject, but that's what kind of happens to me sometimes when I get started typing late at night. . . while I am waiting for the washer to finish so I can put the clothes in the dryer before I go to bed.
If YOU don't know what YOU believe . . . you need to check it out. Be sure of what you believe, AND be sure of WHY you believe it. Defending the faith does not mean that we punch out people who disagree with us, or we try to force people into following Jesus Christ. But it does mean that we defend what we believe. That we believe with enough conviction and passion that we can explain ourselves to someone if we are asked. It's not good enough to answer, "I don't know, cause that's what my parents believed."
We also discussed that once you leave the safe, secure home life that you enjoy now and venture out into the big, bad world you will meet people who do not believe the same way as you. You are not going to be bombarded with Atheists. They make up a tiny percentage of Americans. But you will encounter many people who call themselves Atheists when really what they should be called are Agnostics. They believe in a higher power, they are just not sure about the specifics of who and what this higher power is all about. They are not sure that you have it all figured out. People seek spiritual things, as part of their human make up.
Many times people who believe differently that you, try to sway you to believe the way they do for affirmation or for validation of their own worth. Some just like to argue, while others are easily persuaded to believe the way you believe. Because their convictions were not very deep to begin with.
This reminds me of the parable of the sower and the different kinds of soils which the seeds fell on.
Okay, okay . . . so we all at church believe in the existence of God, or why would we be coming to church, right? Why do we have to know the reasons that prove God exists?
So we can tell other people about Jesus. That is why you have to study the Bible and that is why you have to answer these questions for yourself now, so that when the time comes and someone asks you why you believe the way you do, you will be able to provide an answer.
1 Peter 3:15
So what's the answer?
I don't know what YOUR answer is, but this is my answer:
I believe God exists by the evidence before me. The universe and all it's wonders. The human body and all the intricacies therein and the perfection in nature. I know that God exists because He revealed Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. I know this by reading the Bible and I believe the Bible was written through God's inspiration because men wouldn't have make it so impossible, only God would have made the standard THAT high. I feel Jesus Christ's presence in my own life, because I have surrendered my life to Him. That is why I believe in Jesus Christ.
You have to answer for yourself.