His reply:

OK…I think I get where you’re coming from now. I also think I finally, not truly, but at least more than I ever have before, understand Christianity…I’ve been surrounding myself with skeptics and Atheists all my life, probably because they had similar beliefs to me, and it was easier for me to grasp. I’ve also viewed it as more fun. But yeah, I always thought Jesus just died after being a good person, spreading the word, and doing miracles and other crap. That’s way I was confused by the “Jesus died for your sins” stuff. It all makes a lot more sense now, and I can see why so many people believe in it. But doesn’t the whole Jesus thing just make it easier to be a Christian? If he just makes it easier for you to live by helping out with…But that’s the point isn’t it? Jesus died to make the rest of our lives easier? That’s why you become a Christian…

I know I just contradicted myself mid-sentence/paragraph, but I tend to write like that…

Mine:

(I think I’m getting the flu so this may be a little rambling)

I’ve been surrounding myself with skeptics and Atheists all my life, probably because they had similar beliefs to me, and it was easier for me to grasp.

As did I for a long time and, apparently, even now. Though it’s more that they come to me. 🙂

But doesn’t the whole Jesus thing just make it easier to be a Christian? If he just makes it easier for you to live by helping out with…But that’s the point isn’t it? Jesus died to make the rest of our lives easier? That’s why you become a Christian…

In a word, no. Think about it this way – you lived in your sins all your life, not totally understanding what it was that kept tugging at your heart to tell you not to do things (your conscience where God has written His law) but you ignore it from prior conditioning or any number of other reasons. I know this because this what happened in my life and I know if from the other countless people to whom I’ve talked to who have given me the exact same story. Then once you have the veil removed (the dirt scraped from your eyes) you see yourself as you really are. You no longer WANT to sin but you are still addicted to the same actions. Now, when you give your life to Christ (not meant in some figurative sense but in a real “I no longer want to live for myself or my own desires” sense) then you are radically changed.

Here’s a bit more on my story which I’ve seen reflected in other Christians who have told me about their lives:

When I repented and trusted Christ as my savior, my life got harder, not easier. As someone who exist outside the range of what is called “spiritual warfare” I don’t expect you to totally understand this but I was immediately attacked for my change. I had overwhelming feelings of guilt, the feelings that it was fake, that I would never be changed and that my life would continue on as it had been. There were things that I suddenly didn’t want to do anymore. For some reason I couldn’t watch movies with adultery in them. I would physically feel ill and have to leave. When I would hear about abortions in the news or from friends it would break my heart and, in some cases, nearly bring me to tears. Those were the immediate things. Then jI didn’t like that I was smoking and I wanted to change that. Not that I wanted to change it in anyone else but I knew that for me it was a bad reflection of who I was – if I was really changed, why didn’t I show it? Then again, I had tried to quit for the 6 years prior with no actual change. It took me almost 3 months to actually do it. 2 weeks later I was fired from my job and as much as I wanted to have a cigarette I knew that it was another attack and I refused to have one.

Now, the reason I quit smoking wasn’t because of the health reasons or because I didn’t like it anymore. It’s because I saw how much control it had over my life. I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to, I was planning my day around when I could go outside and smoke and if my family got in the way or if I was kept from smoking when I wanted to I’d get REALLY pissed off. That’s when I saw that it was my “god” in that it had more control over my life than anything else and that I knew that God needed that space more than my habit. Again, not that all smokers have this problem and not that a smoker is incapable of being a Christian. This was something that I went through and I understand that other people have their own things. It became my “cross” that I picked up daily. Over time it got easier and now it’s something that I don’t feel a need to do anymore. I mean, occasionally I get the desire but it seems silly to me now, some 2.5 years later. 🙂

After that, it was something else that was a problem. Mine was lust – pornography, etc. I was in a committed marriage with a woman who loved me more than I deserved and I had two great kids yet I’d still fantasize about other women and find myself watching porn. That’s one that I’m still working on and occasionally I slip but I know that it’s going to go away eventually. I pick that one up daily and keep walking with it.

Knowing that and being “eternally minded” instead of focused on myself and my time here, I now live with a completely different mindset. I don’t care as much about doing things here as I’m just a sojourner who is on his way through. That’s why Biblical Christians act so different from everyone else. I know that there are hypocrites everywhere but it’s our intention to help them to see their hypocrisy so that they can work on it. Ultimately we will all stand in judgment for all we’ve done. Good, bad, or indifferent – we’re all accountable for our words and deeds. God, in His great love for us has provided a way out of the punishment we deserve and all we have to do is to realize that we’re not the gods of our own life and of our own world and instead turn to the God who created us, repent – which means to turn away from our sins, to ask for forgiveness, and to dedicate our lives to serving the God who paid our fine – the debt we have against our own account with His own blood. When Jesus was torn apart by leather straps with bits of bone and glass in it and spit upon, punched, mocked, had his beard ripped out, beaten, and eventually suffocated to death at the hands of His own people – nailed to a cross that He made – held up by the power of His own will when He could have called down an army of angels to defend Him and to save Him – He stayed up there and died in MY place. He did it in YOUR place. All so we wouldn’t have to go to Hell for eternity. The whole Bible is full of this imagery – from the sacrifice in garden of eden to the mosaic covenant and the ceremonial temple sacrifices for the covering of sins to Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. All of it pointed to that one spot in history.

Did I believe in all of this when I became a Christian? No. But I knew that my forgiveness was real and that’s all I cared about. Selfish? Yes, but in that selfish act I was forever changed. Jesus Christ didn’t die to make my life easier – He died to save me from myself, from my sins, and from my just punishment. My life is harder now because I know what is required of me and I try to act it out in my life daily – only to keep failing but I know that I am growing and changing daily.

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