At the age of thirty-five, it seemed like I had everything I could possibly want. I’d graduated at the top of my class in my undergraduate and graduate programs, earned the honor recruit award at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy and was in an incredible job assignment, working as a member of a five man career-criminal surveillance team. I had been with my wife for eighteen years and we had a great family. We just purchased our second home in a community I had admired since childhood. Nothing could have been better. This was the status and condition of my life when I walked into a Christian church for the first time.
I wasn’t looking for answers; I thought I already had all the answers. In fact, most of my friends came to me for advice. I was the guy you came to if you wanted to ask a question about how to work an investigation, how to maintain a good marriage, how to raise your kids. I was happy, content, and full of myself. I definitely wasn’t the kind of person who thought he needed help or needed fixing. My self-confidence had grown into arrogance. I was opinionated, sure of myself and difficult to reason with. I was sure I was right, and my life seemed to confirm this at every turn. I was in control and my decisions seemed to be producing the life I wanted.
That first pastor described Jesus as a wise teacher, the smartest man who ever lived. That intrigued a self-serving, arrogant guy like me. For purely selfish reasons I became interested in what Jesus might have to say about life, family, work, and all the things I thought I had already mastered. So I began my investigation of the gospels, not to find God, but simply to steal from Jesus the wisdom he allegedly possessed. Along the way I became convinced the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts. I eventually examined the Gospel itself, the message of Salvation offered through Christ alone, and became a Christian. I moved from certainty related to the accounts, to certainty related to my own desperate, fallen nature and need for a Savior.
Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been nearly seventeen years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning”. It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because it “works” for me. I had a life prior to Christianity that seemed to be working just fine, and my life as a Christian hasn’t always been easy.
I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative.